Precision Ear Interview – Shooting hearing protection
Shooting hearing protection
First, let me vent a few of my biases just to give you a baseline of where I am coming from. Currently I use the Howard Leight electronic earmuffs that probably 75% of your friends use. I’m not a fan. They seem to let a ton of sound in and the earmuffs get profoundly uncomfortable after being on the range for 8+ hours which happens pretty regularly in my life. Maybe it’s the ginormous Dumbo ears I’m packing, maybe not. I do like the electronic factor that allows me to hear people talking crap about me from several yards away and my favorite, the ever present flatulence of my fellow shooters. Seriously guys, you know a large amount of people on the range have amplified hearing protection, you’re not fooling anybody. Yes Rick, I’m looking right at you. My biggest concern is when shooting shotgun and rifle, they get knocked off quite often leaving me with some ringing after I crack a shot off with only one ear protected. Granted it’s the side my wife sleeps on, so it’s ok, but seriously I don’t want to be deaf.
So when I met Jeff Weaver from Precision Ear, an Indianapolis based company that specializes in custom fit hearing protection you can bet that I was immediately stalking him and looking for some product to test & evaluate.
They make custom fit / custom molded hearing protection. Everyone’s ears are different which results in many problems when trying one size fits all products. This writer can attest to that. Most in ear hearing protection doesn’t work well for me.
Jeff’s custom plugs have a channel that different filters can be molded in to meet different requirements. My set has a heavy duty filter which works really well. They were used at an indoor USPSA match this week and for the first time I didn’t have to use both in ear plugs and earmuff style protection.
They also make versions with communication devices built in. Additionally they can add electronics to plug in to your phone, mp3 player, etc. A big bonus is that you can tailor the colors to just about anything your heart desires. We went with We Like Shooting red and black.
Initial use cancelled out between 27-29 decibels based on the level of filters I have which worked great for gunfire but keep in mind that normal voice levels are difficult to hear as well. Once I got used to them I had no problem having conversations with fellow shooters, RO’s and the like.
To be fitted you have several options. You can visit an ear doctor/audiologist, have your impressions done by Precision Ear at their location or gun shows and events or even a do-it-yourself kit where you take the impressions, send them to Precision Ear and they will have them manufactured. The impressions were simple and painless even with about 20 people watching, but I’m used to that.
They are made from a medical grade silicone with a tough antimicrobial coating and Jeff says they will likely last for the rest of my life.
My initial impression (ha! see what I did there?!) was extremely positive. They fit well, were comfortable and definitely worked great indoors. Mostly I’m just excited that I can’t hear the farting anymore. Keep an eye out over the next couple of months for our detailed review.