This Bud’s for You
The Latest in In-ear Hearing Protection
Hear this now! The latest on in-ear hearing protection.
Anyone who shoots a gun without at least some form of hearing protection risks permanent hearing loss.
Yes, permanent—as in, irreversible. Once-you-lose-it, it’s-not-coming-back kind of damage. We owe our ability to hear to our hair cells. Hair cells are sensory cells that convert sound vibrations into electrical signals that travel to the brain via the auditory nerve, enabling us to experience the sweet ding of a steel gong at 700 yards.
Loud noises such as those from gunshots can actually kill hair cells in the inner ear. The more hair cells you lose, the less you’ll be able to hear. Though prolonged exposure to loud sounds can kill these precious cells, a single exposure to a loud sound can kill hair cells too. You know that ringing you hear (if you have no ear protection on) after a gun goes bang? That’s your ear letting you know that a hair cell just died and that you’re not getting it back.
The more you lose, the less you’re able to hear. This is why we can’t stress enough the importance of quality ear protection. Though indispensable to protection of one’s hearing, traditional earmuffs (electronic or otherwise) present their share of disadvantages. More often than not, they draw discomfort, never more so than in hot climates where a sweaty few hours at the range only compounds the problem. There is, of course, also the fact that even the most streamlined versions can still interfere with your cheekweld and proper rifle aim.
Recent releases of in-ear hearing protection products have presented far more options in combating the downsides of their traditional counterparts, albeit at a more substantial monetary investment. But they also offer other advantages such as small size and storage space.
Whatever the case, the potential upside of in-ear alternatives led us to expedite a list of some of the latest auditory innovations that have earned our seal of approval. So plug ’em up and save your ears so you can make out the important sounds in life—like the ringing of steel at 700 yards.
“the ringing you hear after a gun goes bang is your ear letting you know a hair cell just died and you’re not getting it back.”