A key component of responsible gun ownership is safety; Peripherally, this includes protecting yourself while shooting with ear protection. Protecting your ears while shooting is seriously important, as the ear is a powerhouse of the human body.
Not only does it control your ability to hear, the ear also collects information to send to your brainstem and spinal cord. The way you sense changes in movement around you, control your equilibrium, and your ability to balance are all controlled by factors within the ears. How can you go through 1000 rounds of bulk 9mm ammo if you can’t balance your stance correctly?
If you are under the impression that shooting without ear protection doesn’t really harm you, look at the decibel levels (the unit all sound is measured in). It is important to understand that the decibel scale is logarithmic, all that means is that 70 decibels is actually TWICE as loud as 60 decibels and 80 decibels is four times as loud as 60 decibels. A normal conversation takes place at about 60 decibels (dB), a motorcycle comes in at 95 dB (about 20 times as loud!), and an ambulance siren is around 120 decibels. Noise-induced hearing loss begins to occur at 85 decibels, and the louder the sound, the less time it takes to develop hearing loss.
Firing your 9mm ammo round will induce 160 dB, and that is a pretty consistent decibel count for firearms as they tend to range from 140 to 175 db. Even with a silencer attached, the dB level is only reduced to 130, meaning firearms will always be in the range to produce hearing loss.
So, since you have to wear ear protection anytime you shoot, what are your options?
Earplugs or foamies
Cheap, easy to stow in bug out and range bags, earplugs are a great option to have on hand whenever you shoot.
Passive earmuffs are the larger, more traditional option for protection while shooting. While their costs vary, they stay within the range of reasonable. The downside is they can be bulky, and they block all noise, including the shooting buddies trying to speak to you.
Electronic noise canceling
By far the best option and worth the money if you are a regular shooter. These are modeled after the muff style, but they tend to be thinner than the passive version. Cutting edge technology means these earmuffs will protect you from the high decibel sounds going on around you, while still allowing you to maintain a conversation and listen to instruction. These will only block sounds that exceed safe decibel levels.
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