Etymotic Research's GunSport Pro electronic earplugs are the greatest thing you've never used.
People who use throw away foam earplugs are cheap. There, I said it.
Oh, and I'm one of them.
Well, I was one of them, but that was before I was lucky enough to try out the GunSport Pro electronic earplugs from Etymotic Research. Now I can't go back to my cheap ways. Ever.
I have a theory on why most of us go with the inexpensive version, and it's all related to a fear of cost commitment. Electronic earplugs or earmuffs that suppress the loudness of gunshots, but amplify the quietest whisper at the same time have to cost an arm and a leg, right? There's no way they can get enough use and make that big of a difference. I'll just grab 10 more foam pairs at $0.99 a piece...
While some certainly do qualify, not all of the electronic earplugs and muffs on the market are as astronomically priced as we've been led to think. Perhaps the best of the bunch, the GunSport Pro rings in at $299 retail. Keep that in mind when you watch the video above and read through some of these specs.
First, a little tech talk (just enough to keep your interest). The GunSport Pro is an active hearing protection/enhancement device (HPED) which uses electronic circuitry to bring back the situational awareness that is generally lost by the ear obstruction of foam plugs or muffs.
What that means for shooters, hunters, and even folks who work around heavy, loud machinery is the ability to hear soft rustles, low voices, and amplified sounds five times better than their natural hearing. They're also actively being protected from the loud blasts and bangs.
GunSport Pro users can toggle between full enhancement and natural hearing, meaning they can use them as electronic hearing protection with or without the amplification of lower decibels.
What if it's the fit and feel of cheap foam plugs that you're after? It's just something you're used to, and you don't want to try something new. GunSport Pros come with five different shapes, sizes, and styles of eartips, each one fully interchangeable. That way you can customize your pair, and have extras for when your friends inevitably talk you in to letting them try the GunSport Pros out. If you're anything like I was when I tried them out the first time, you'll be the one urging others to "Listen to this!" and try them out themselves. It really is a revolutionary difference in relation to hearing protection.
Battery life, like with anything ran on a #10 hearing aid battery, doesn't last very long. This isn't exactly the earplugs' fault, and Etymotic Research has gone the extra mile to include a pack of eight to get you started. A battery really only lasts about 10 days, and can even self-discharge after about four weeks of no use. But hey, if the batteries do run out and you've used your last spare, they'll still serve as passive hearing protection, like your old foam throwaways.
Bottom line, these things are mini marvels of science, and when you stick them in your ear, you won't really think of all the high-definition transducers, balanced-armature drivers, and high-sensitivity microphones that have been fitted inside the tiny device. You will be too busy wondering why you simply didn't try these out sooner. The bandwidth (40 Hz - 16 kHz) of the GunSport Pro is unheard of, and the sound quality even surpasses that of all known electronic earplugs and modern digital hearing aid devices.
So I'll ask again, how much should these things cost? If we're talking about the very serious issue of hearing damage among shooting enthusiasts, then there really isn't a price you can put on this kind of protection. But if we're willing to get past the initial apprehension, it's pretty obvious that a pair of GunSport Pro Electronic Earplugs would be the best choice.
As a final piece of persuasion, the folks at Etymotic were kind enough to include an exclusive deal when you decide to try them out: 10% off using code EHP10TP at Etymotic.com.
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