Ear Pro – What Do You Use In Different Situations And Why?

Share what you have learned works and doesn’t work, in which situations.

Thanks in advance.

47 responses to “Ear Pro – What Do You Use In Different Situations And Why?

  1. at the range, rubber ear plugs plus headphones. Even w this, it’s awfully loud there.

  2. If I’m going for unobtrusive, but ear-safe, these:
    NRR 32 dB, flesh-tone. Simple, cheap, nearly invisible, expendable.

    If I want quiet, and it’s loud outside (indoor firing range where I don’t need to hear details), I’ll throw a pair of these over top of the above:
    $12, another 28 db. And remember, sound in decibels is logarithmic to the powers of 10. So muffs get 140 dB to 112, and the plugs get it to 80. Which takes the sound from 100,000,000,000,000 to 100,000,000.
    80 decibels is tolerable (garbage disposal), and a million times less powerful than 140 dB (carrier flight deck).

    When I need to hear, but don’t want to be deafened by gunfire (mine, or someone else’s) these:
    19 dB NRR, and not ridiculous price.
    They work, well, and keep you able to listen, even amplify ambient sound, while cutting off the loud sounds, like opening up with a bangstick.
    The set linked also fits behind your head, allowing headgear to be worn simply.


  3. singlestack

    I’m 61 and I’ve had tinnitus and hearing loss since I was in my teens. I have no idea what silence is like. I still feel physical effects of loud sound without ear protection, which I can only describe as having my head in a bucket, which lasts for several hours.
    I use foam ear plugs for shooting clay birds. I’ve found earplugs to be adequate for shotgun shooting, as well as most tasks for which hearing protection is needed. I keep a pair of muffs in my truck for those times when plugs aren’t enough.
    For rifle and pistol shooting I have a pair of Howard Leight Thunder 29 earmuffs. When shooting a rifle I put a foam ear plug in my right ear because the right muff doesn’t seal properly when I have a good cheek weld and I feel the effects of the sound if I don’t use an earplug.

    • It may be useful for any and all with ear issues like tinnitus to go get a referral to an ENT guy (while you still can). Get those ears looked at. Some baby oil in the ears helps at night softens wax. Hot shower in the AM helps get the wax out. It may help.

      • singlestack

        I’ve seen a lot of doctors about the tinnitus. There is no treatment for it.
        As for ear wax, it has no effect on tinnitus or neurological hearing loss.
        Ear wax serves a purpose but an excess of it can cause problems. I’m a public safety diver and I often dive in ponds, lakes, and rivers, so ear infections are a constant risk for me. After every day of diving I use a small bulb syringe to inject peroxide into my ears to “boil out” any algae or tiny critters that may have gotten in. I follow that with 91% isopropyl alcohol to dry them out.
        This also removes wax from the ears.

  4. MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X = Best I’ve had yet. Excellent amplification and sharp sound suppression. 3 Triple A batteries last 60 hours. Pricey, at $275, but I’m protecting what’s left of my hearing. They beat everything I’ve had to date, except my back up, “SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus Filtered Earplugs.” Opposite end of the price spectrum: About $15, but after a few hours, they annoy, so I use them as back up.

    Here’s the Amazon links:

    MSA Sordin: https://www.amazon.com/MSA-Sordin-Supreme-black-cups/dp/B0117ITZ5E/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1492824762&sr=8-5&keywords=msa+pro+sordin

    SureFire: https://www.amazon.com/SureFire-Defenders-filtered-Earplugs-reusable/dp/B004DH65OG/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1492824916&sr=1-1&keywords=tactical+ear+plugs

  5. Howard Leights usually. They are passive and work great.

    Ear plugs
    Otherwise. Even with a can.

  6. Centurion_Cornelius

    Ya–been using the “old two step,” with the ear plugs on the inside and muffs (of varied db suppression) on the outside when at the range:

    The few instances when things went “bump in the night,” I grabbed the 12 bore, SIG and lite–went out with no hearing protection whatsoever.

    I’ve had poor luck with the insert-able “foamies,” but then again–it could be my big ears. they don’t call me “Dumbo” for nuthin’. big “Erie Canal.”

  7. Peltor electronic muffs. Fast cutoff time and good NRR for reasonable price. I wore them for 2 deployments before .mil finally started issuing ear pro that worked with radios. Great for mowing the lawn or running chainsaw too. Add foam earplugs for indoor range.

    I will be changing to ProEars Gold when the peltors need replacement. ProEars are a little better on NRR, though at He cost of a larger form factor. ProEars won’t fit under a helmet; Peltors do fit.

    Indoors – plugs and muffs. Always plug Radio into ear pro for comms. Vox mike need not run through ear pro.

  8. SureFire sonic plugs .. for work & even shooting suppressed at the range. If hunting suppressed no ear pro.

    Otherwise for most shooting I use the Howard Leight (sp) E-Muffs (I think that’s right .. pretty cheap & slim profile) .. great invention .. I use those in a class or tac environment.

  9. 35 years on the ramp, working near large running turbojets and turbofans…
    “Isolate” aluminum earplugs, or Howard Leight ear band. If I don’t want or need to hear anything, the earplugs are used in conjunction with a David Clark 9A-N/2 hearing protector. If I still need to hear the ops radio, I’ll put the radio bud in one ear to replace one of the Isolate plugs, under the DC “mickey mouse” headset.
    I’ve been shooting, working airplanes, and such; for a long time, and my ears are checked by my employer twice a year. I’m in my 60s, and hear better than most kids.
    Not necessarily a “handsome” set up, but it works. Hope it helps.

  10. Little orange squishy ones, buy them at drugstore +
    Favorite pair of old plastic go-overs, round, less awkward and bulky than the squarish shaped ones. Red.

    I have some ones with mics in them for special circumstances, but rarely use them.

  11. At the range or at home I just use some cheap rubber plugs and a headset over them. Headset came from Academy, probably about $30.

    In the Army they issued us some reactive earplugs, and when I deployed I used those plus my commo headset. Didn’t take any hearing damage either time I was close to an IED detonation.

  12. here you go

    These are the most handy and simple, minus paper towel. With or without cord, if they have the cord cut them off. You can put them in your pants watch pocket a keep them there, ie every pair of pants has earplugs. They seem most comfortable, work the best ( don’t have to squish to make ready, not wait to swell), and are most handy. Sometimes they fall out of pants depending on pants type watch pocket while in the dryer or hung, but you will be surprised if you are a shooter. They are just “there”.


  13. Three dollar ear muffs I get from Harbor Freight work very well in most cases. I also use foam plugs when needed.

  14. If I need to hear then these:
    Cheap, won’t get knocked off your head, and can be carried in your pocket.

    • You can put these inside a typical grip storage area on a rifle no problem.

      These work well but lost my first set hella quick.

  15. I like the banded ear plugs. When I go shooting I spend hours at the location and want a set of ear plugs that are easy to pull on and off. With the band you can allow them to hang on your neck between firing sessions and hold regular conversations.

  16. hummus abedin

    Suck it, you worthless keyboard mutts.

    Pence Says U.S. Will Honor Australia Refugee Deal Trump Called ‘Dumb’
    by REUTERS

  17. If caught out, cigarette filters.

  18. If you’ve got money and Comms: Comtac IIIs

    If you’re don’t have a pit to piss in: Peltor Sport Tac 100s.

  19. Custom molded in-ear plug for outdoor ranges, and I’ll add an over the ear muff for indoor ranges.

  20. 8th Dwarf Surly

    +1 For the MSA Sordin. True all day comfort with the gel pads. Superior in every way in terms of fit, finish and functions. Parts available for refreshing muffs so they’ll run long term. The audio is super clear and goes up load enough to supplement my preexisting hearing loss.
    Buy once, cry once.

    +1 For the Surefire as well. They’re a nice quick and dirty plug that I used in conjunction with:

    The Howard Leight Impact Sport:
    Great little amplified muffs and a budget price. Sound is good and does what it advertises. Nice slim profile so it works well for rifles and folds down small. Works good for pistol calibers, but doubled up with the surefires or foam plugs for rifles. These are my nightstand muffs

  21. Westone TRU plugs (-18dB) for rimfire (or front row of a surf music show with Fender Showmans turned up to 7+). Hi-power stuff or buddy’s 50 adds Peltor headset. The TRU plugs do a good job of not blocking hi-peak ambient noise and are tested good in the woods as well where sometimes hearing is the most important sense.

    For those with tinnitus, who know that once the ringing starts (if it ever goes away) it’s too late to plug – with tinnitus it’s not about noise level; you can fire up the ringing in a dead-quiet room introducing a simple noise-peak, like the flick of a Zippo. But the ear-pro is still critical to prevent further damage; so don’t write it off. (Also, dropping that noise peak on the range leads to more accurate shooting.) Ear-wax is often simply a defensive reaction of your ears trying to send you a message. Here are the ingredients of the “magical formula” my Doc’s nurse mixes up to irrigate ears with; this can be done at home with a large syringe & is cheap:

    OTC ear-wax drops containing Carbamide Peroxide (don’t use Hydrogen Peroxide even though it “crackles” real good in your ear, that shit is harsh, save it for cleaning, mold hates H2O2).
    OTC powdered stool-softener (yes, really); get the generic/house-brand.
    Dissolve a couple capfuls of the powder in canteen cup of hot-water, thorougly. Add in 2-3 drops of the Carbamide Peroxide; let cool till safely warm.

    Flush with pushes on big syringe (the kind with the holes in the plastic tip that end up spraying is fine) to get it in there, rather than poking too deeply with the syringe but you can work the nozzle around in different directions. You can use a little plastic left-over container held on the shoulder below the ear to catch the solution & not-fragrant chunks that eventually come out with it. Use full amount per ear.

    Sorry for the hijack CA, thought some could use it. It’s that upper-midrange loss that usually gets us saying “huh?” as well as the harmonic above that. And your plugs will not do their best work with funky ears.

  22. -Cheap, Winchester-branded, over-the-ear muffs from Walmart. I wear these at every range outing.

    -Cheap, squishy 3M plugs. Buy ’em by bucket-load and hand them out to unprepared invited guests at range outings.

    Works for me.

  23. William Munny

    NRR 33db Hearos and Harbor Freight ear muffs at the range, until I get some decent noise cancelling phones, so reading other’s comments here with great interest.

    Funny, I was just watching this a few days ago.

  24. Everyone has different ears and needs.
    Foam ear plugs and a set of earmuffs will do for most bullet unloading procedures.

  25. Mark Matis

    Oh come on now, this is settled science! The Communist Academia solution is all that anyone needs: Stick a finger in each ear and scream “La, la, la, la, la – I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!” as loud as you can. That is clearlysufficient to protect ANYONE’S ears from unpleasant sounds…

  26. never use it. been exposed to extreme decibels my entire life, and I mean EXTREME.

    probably same reason i have the body of a fit 18 year old at 54.

    good genes i guess.

    I do have all sorts of earpro, most still in the package they came in. I have a virtual warehouse of brand new stuff that’s been never used. better to have and not need… $ is a tool, use it or lose it.

    i did just a pair of these for range guests with my latest purchase of another rifle. says it has walkie talkie capability.

  27. Foam plugs (disposable) with a 33db reduction rating, those we’ve used in construction forever, seem to work well outside. Indoors, I would add a second layer with the headmuffs.

  28. At the range:
    3M brand soft plugs, 25db rating. They’re excellent.
    37 db muffs over that or Howard Leight emuffs which I think are 32 db. Excellent combo either way.

    I use the 3M plugs when I mow and use the line trimmer or chain saw to help preserve what hearing I have left.

    I’m 61 and have fired many, many thousands of rounds over the years with no hearing protection resulting in high frequency hearing loss in both ears and usually a persistent high pitched ringing in both ears.

  29. I used to drive a Sprinter cargo van now and then between Cody Wyoming and the Portland area. I used to have no tinnitus at all. One day, by the end of one of those trips, I had tinnitus, and have had it from that date forward. Apparently that one trip was just enough extra of an assault on my ears (adding up all the previous assaults) to put them over into ringing. That was a sad day for me, I can tell you.

    I carry foam plugs in the watch pockets of my jeans and use them for everything – lawn mowing, long trips in vehicles, using a vacuum cleaner, or hammering on steel. I want to save what hearing I have left. When shooting I usually add earmuffs. BTW I have found that when inserting foam plugs, it is better to not squeeze them down all the way, but just enough to let them slide into the ear canal. Apparently that gives them a bit more rigidity and they go in farther.

  30. We use cans, on our rifles. Generally don’t need hearing protection. We have it, just don’t use it. I’ve often picked up spent .45 casings- dumped the crap out, and inserted them into my ears. Creates dead air space, actually pretty effective.

    We’re older and pretty set in our ways. A non-can rifle shooter generally goes first. most are retired and have a decent funding source, which allows the purchase of cans.

    We also add a non can tax to the shoot. The non can rifle shooter is badgered into purchasing the first pitcher of micro brew, at the pub down the road from our range.

    If we’re slick the first two pitchers.


  31. intheaspens

    I am a musician. I have had custom earplugs from an audiologist for many years. The advantages are that they are fitted to your ear canal and you can use different attenuations based upon the circumstances. For outdoor ranges and matches I use those with a 9dB attenuation along with electronic muffs. That gives me the best protection against the gunshot but still allows me to hear the SO and others. If I’m shooting indoors I use 30dB attenuation along with the electronic muffs which blocks out pretty much everything. Gunshots sound like a racquetball strike on a wall.

    I highly recommend the custom route if you can manage the $200 or so it costs. I wish I had gotten them much sooner in my life in the orchestra as I have hearing loss as a result of sitting next to brass and percussion for many years without plugs.

  32. wealthy farmer

    Another tip: at the gym, out running or wherever-get those damn EAR BUDS out! We do NOT need to hear music every waking moment. Ear buds are decimating the hearing of millions. Leave the damn smart phone at home. Out in the woods you cannot tune in to your environment if you can’t hear the subtle sounds: wind, water, leaves, birds, twigs snapping as you are being stalked……

  33. Walter Sobchak

    Cheap foam earplugs and I’m gtg

  34. To All,

    Just don’t use earplugs alone, no matter the variety. Sound is also conducted by bone surrounding your ears. Plugs do not attenuate that, adding muffs will. Think about when you go for an exam by the ENT docs. At some point they use a tuning fork and place it on the bone adjacent to your ear. Impact from the concussion of the blast is substantial and requires some reduction.

  35. I need some to protect me from the stream of bullshit roaring in my ears:

    “This undated image provided on Friday, April 21, 2017, by FLAG, an association of LGBT police officers, shows French police officer Xavier Jugele” CREDIT: FLAG VIA AP

    -who was also deployed in the bataclan blah blah

    This shit stinks. Trump turned out to be a NY Libtard. Le Pen’s pops has walked away from her. 3 card monty. It’s what’s for dinner.

    Look at the photo. Being played, again?

    I love God and I love my country.

  36. Indoor and outdoor ranges, and machine shops: squishy sponge plugs, ribbed rubbery plugs, or over-the-ear muffs. Lawnmowing with an old two-stroke mower that’s louder than a B-29 on it’s takeoff roll: the muffs.

    All work just fine.

    I just wish people would stop mumbling!

    (Kidding, Doc says I have really good hearing for my age.)

  37. Jewflix just released a barrage of movies about Waco, Ruby Ridge, Timothy McVeigh.

    (((Their))) thesis is guns and gun shows are secret code words for “radical” right evil Christians.

    Interesting timing. Just after (((they))) defeated Trump.

  38. https://www.amazon.com/3M-Peltor-Combat-Arms-Earplugs/dp/B000W2CPCC

    I’ve used those since they were fielded and, hands down, the best I’ve found.

    Or a good, low profile set of electronic muffs. We tried Game Ears years ago, but I never liked them. YMMV.

  39. Edit: You can find them cheaper elsewhere.

  40. Was just looking around and two other qualities popped up.
    First where ear plugs which one can permanently mold to ears shape,
    and the second one was electronic, and in certain circumstances
    one could increase the volume when in vigilant positions.
    Saw a video where they where being used in the military.
    Could be dangerous though, if a sudden bang occurs.
    Maybe have a “hearer” with parabolic mic capabilities.
    Once had a parabolic microphone, and it did its job. Better
    than lip reading 🙂

    Good comments by the way.