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Monday, March 31, 2014

The Importance of Ear Plugs

Original Article

by Guest Author
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It’s no secret that continued exposure to gunfire noises isn’t great for your hearing; yet studies still show that only half of shooters wear ear protection all the time during practises.
The level of noise deemed safe by sound experts is exponentially reduced over the time exposed to it. Starting at 85dB – the threshold for safe and dangerous noise –  the maximum time limit of exposure should be no more than 25 and a half hours; this is contrasted to less than a minute of exposure for up to and beyond 140dB.
The variety of guns available means that there is no single level of protection needed from the noise created by gunfire. The size of the gun is a major factor as to how loud a gun is and ear protection should be based on this. The majority of smaller firearms, like a small .22-caliber rifle, can have a sound rating of around 140dB. Meanwhile larger rifles and pistols produce sounds of up to 175dB.
Over hat ear muffs, whilst widely used and effective, can pose a risk of connecting with the rifle or shotgun stock when firing. This can be avoided by using high quality ear plugs that don’t require a combination of plugs and ear muffs, such as custom-fitted models.
There are a range of custom-fitted Silicon earplugs available that offer a high-value, expert solution. These fit snugly in the ear canal, providing sophisticated sound reduction features. Shooting-specific earplugs are rated on their efficiency like generic earplugs, however, being designed with muting gunfire in mind, they have a higher Noise Reduction Rating (NRR).
Ideally, sound exposure needs to be reduced to somewhere between 85dB-120dB, depending on the length of exposure time. Custom-fitted Silicon options that can provide this protection include ProGuard Custom Shooter and Marksmans Earplugs. As well as sufficient protection, these models offer an expertly moulded fit to your ears by an audiologist. Subsequently, the fear of missing ambient external noises simply won’t be a factor in your shoot.
Non-custom fitted Silicon options are also good alternatives to custom fit products, and models such as ProGuard Noizezz Universal Earplugs offer an NNR of 33 dB. In cases where louder or larger guns are being used, it is necessary with these kinds of Noise Reduction Rating (NNR) to accompany earplugs with ear muffs.
If you’re not looking for something quite so advanced, then foam earplugs could be better suited for you. These can prove to be more economical and are effective in blocking high-level impulse noise as they can have high NRRs of around 32-34dB. They also come in higher quantity packs which make them ideal for sharing out on a shoot.
Mack’s Hi-Viz Shooters Foam Ear Plugs are a good example of foam earplugs that will give you enough protection against gunfire, providing they are accompanied by earmuffs.
Rob Doole is managing director at Allearplugs.com, check out his latest updates on google here.
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