Hearing protection for hunting?

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Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby seank » Sat Dec 17, 2016 1:06 pm

Do you folks use any hearing protection while hunting and if so, what?

I've been having a shooting slump this year, so I set my 20 ga SXS down, and picked up my old battered 12 ga pump gun. I've killed stuff with that gun for 21 years. The issue is that it has a 24" barrel and it just rings the crap out of my left ear. I am not getting any younger and want to hold on to as much hearing range as I can. I'm looking for options that will allow me to hear birds getting up, bird calls, hunting partners, etc., but will keep me from becoming the old guy who says "what?" and "huh?" all the time. I'd appreciate info from people who have experience with those options if possible, but any advice will be helpful.

Thanks,

Sean
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby hicntry » Sat Dec 17, 2016 2:16 pm

Huh?
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby seank » Sat Dec 17, 2016 2:48 pm

Nothing personal against old guys who say huh. I myself am 47 and use it as a communication strategy with my wife. It's the knights who say "Nee!" that you really have to watch out for. :D
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby AverageGuy » Sat Dec 17, 2016 3:20 pm

I have done a poor job in that area. I do use the cheap foam ear plugs when waterfowl hunting. Bigger guns, bigger loads, more gunners/shooting in close quarters. Upland I have done nothing but the shooting volume is usually far less and only my own gun is near enough to me to have any impact.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby seank » Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:37 pm

That 24" pump has earned the nickname eargasplittenloudenboomer over the years. I use plugs on waterfowl too, but not for upland stuff. I shot 5 rounds of low brass #6 steel yesterday on quail and my left ear is not so good today. The first round kicks off the tinitus and it stays for a few days. The muff options look really impractical for hiking and shooting. Besides, they wont fit under or over my big, stupid palm sombrero. There are behind the ear and in the ear options. They are pricey, but being able to hear my daughter and potential future granddaughters sing seems to be worth it. I'd just like to hear some feedback on 'em. You can't exactly walk into a store and stick one of these in your waxy ear canal.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby mtlhdr » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:22 pm

I've been chewing on the idea of expensive noise cancelling plugs as well but I haven't pulled the trigger yet. I put disposable plugs in for duck hunting/jump shooting. For upland birds I try to put a plug in my right ear (lead ear) when the dog is on point before I approach. I generally don't notice anything in my left ear (though I am sure it's being damaged to some extent). This still leaves me unprotected on a few random flushes etc but it's better than nothing. I should take hunting ear protection more seriously, my dad is losing some of his hearing (he's not a hunter) and it's freaking annoying.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby orhunter » Sat Dec 17, 2016 8:20 pm

Being away from the wife is all the hearing protection I need.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby blue04 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:07 am

I have a set that are very similar to these: http://espamerica.com/product-category/ ... rotection/

But NOT the ESP brand. I bought them from a local audiologist (ear doctor). He has his own tech and makes hearing aids in-house, and he charged me $400 including the fitting. That was about 10 years ago. I've been using them ever since, and they are the best money I've ever spent on hunting gear.

I wear them for waterfowl, upland, dove hunting... I even use them for deer and turkey hunting. I can actually hear deer coming and turkeys gobbling better with them than without.

Even at $900 for the ESP brand, these are well worth the cost IMO. I would suggest you call around and see if you can find a local hearing doctor that will make you a set for cheaper than the ESP people charge.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby seank » Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:00 pm

Blue,

I was afraid someone would say that. I can't blow $900 on something like that, but there are some more reasonable options. I'm going to temporarily start using a foam plug in my forward ear until I get it figured out. I will check with the ear doc after the holidays. Who knows? Maybe my insurance will cover part of it. If not, there are some options that are $200-400.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby Densa44 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:54 pm

If you moved to Canada you could say "eh" or you could try a smaller gauge. I shoot a .410 and it doesn't hurt my hearing, I reload so it is cheap and I have 4 very good dogs so I don't miss the 20 yard shots.

There are things that we have to loss to old age and a 12 gauge goose gun may be one of them.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby seank » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:05 pm

I can't blame the dogs, I'm just not a good enough shot to use a 410. 8)
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby blue04 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:41 pm

seank wrote:I was afraid someone would say that.


seank: When you think about all the money we spend on the various hunting gear and supplies we buy, this is a drop in the bucket for the long run. I've gotten over 10 years of use out of mine (which averages out to about $40 per year), and I think that's a small price to pay for my hearing.

I'll also say that I do enjoy the hunting even more with my hearing protectors than without.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby seank » Sun Dec 18, 2016 9:27 pm

blue04 wrote:
seank wrote:I was afraid someone would say that.


seank: When you think about all the money we spend on the various hunting gear and supplies we buy, this is a drop in the bucket for the long run. I've gotten over 10 years of use out of mine (which averages out to about $40 per year), and I think that's a small price to pay for my hearing.

I'll also say that I do enjoy the hunting even more with my hearing protectors than without.


I probably should have said that I was afraid someone one would say what I was thinking. Two weeks of having my left ear not working right has me convinced that I need to do something. I just want to make sure I do the right thing and need some time to figure out what that is.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby aaronk » Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:30 pm

blue04 wrote:I have a set that are very similar to these: http://espamerica.com/product-category/ ... rotection/

But NOT the ESP brand. I bought them from a local audiologist (ear doctor). He has his own tech and makes hearing aids in-house, and he charged me $400 including the fitting. That was about 10 years ago. I've been using them ever since, and they are the best money I've ever spent on hunting gear.

I wear them for waterfowl, upland, dove hunting... I even use them for deer and turkey hunting. I can actually hear deer coming and turkeys gobbling better with them than without.

Even at $900 for the ESP brand, these are well worth the cost IMO. I would suggest you call around and see if you can find a local hearing doctor that will make you a set for cheaper than the ESP people charge.


I've got a friend that swears by his ESP's and says the same about the sound enhancement features. I think I'm going to bite the bullet and buy a pair this off season as I can't stand not being able to hear the wing beats of ducks at first light, the rooster cackle in a field, or geese off in the distance.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby blue04 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:16 pm

seank wrote: I just want to make sure I do the right thing and need some time to figure out what that is.


I totally get it. Even at $400 dollars, they're not cheap. But I shoot with too many old timers that either can't hear or have to wear hearing aids full time, and I don't want that to be me.

aaronk wrote: I think I'm going to bite the bullet and buy a pair this off season


I would still recommend calling your local hearing docs and asking about this. Obviously the price was better, but it's been nice to be able to work with a local person. They guy I deal with offered to adjust the "program" of mine to tweak the sound, adjust where the compression kicks in (the sound level where it cuts off the outside sound, etc.). And I know that if I have problems in the future, I can drop them off and get them fixed.
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