Hearing protection for hunting?

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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby blue04 » Thu Dec 22, 2016 1:00 pm

For the guys who are getting these, be sure to open the battery tray at the end of each day and store your plugs with the trays open. This gives your plugs a chance to dry inside from any condensation that may have formed while wearing, and also protects the electronics from a battery that might start leaking acid (yes this happened to me).
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby seank » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:53 pm

I picked up my sound gear plugs today and have a few observations. I'm going to hunt with them on Sunday, so these are prehunting/jacking around observations.

After I picked them up, I took the dogs out to road them a bit before we have to do a 12 hour road trip to AZ tomorrow at 4 am. So with the windows down at 25 mph and the air blowing in, I could hear the dogs running and the news on the radio. You can get some wind noise, but it's really not bad.

I also put a few rounds through my loud 357 revolver into a dirt berm and had no issues with the noise or tinnitus. After my last hunt, I am really happy about being ably to shoot while still being a le to hear without smoking my left ear again. Afterwards, my wife decided to scream in my ear... just for kicks unlike the normal stuff :D ... and the result was actually kinda cool. I could still hear her, but it did a really good job of suppressing the top end.

The issue appears to be just putting in the time to get used to how they deal with everyday noise. You do have a tight fitting plug in your ear, so some of the same things happen as when you are wearing normal plugs or muffs. Your voice is louder and you can really hear the thump of your own foot falls like wearing muffs, but you can hear everything else too. And you can hear a lot of it. I had them in while grilling in the back yard, and I could hear traffic on the main drag three blocks away. The sound of the meat sizzling was really loud and distinct even from 20 yards off, as was the sound of my dog chewing on a cedar branch and a distant train horn. Volume control is important, but the settings also help.

The standard setting amplifies everything across the spectrum.. It should be good with the volume turned up a bit, especially for stand hunting or sitting in a blind. Turned down, it should work for for most other things. The second program increases the higher frequency sounds. I haven't figured out how I might use this yet. It's actually kinda freaky because you are getting some suppression on the low frequency sounds, so everything sounds a bit like a cartoon character. The third setting has some promise to it. It's call the cell phone setting and I originally thought that meant you could hook your cell to it, but no. It works like a cell and carves off the high and low frequencies in the spectrum. It seems to work well for conversation and reduces the crunch of walking in vegetation. The only problem is that I am getting some feedback on that program from my truck and fluorescent lights. Need to talk to someone to see if I can fix that. Probably not an issue while hunting though.

Anyway, I'll be trying them out on a scaled quail hunt on Sunday. I'll post more feed back after that.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby cjm » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:09 pm

when you started this thread it encouraged me to bite the bullet on this too. i have been reading a lot of reviews for a while and making notes. i eventually decided to go with the etymotic gun sport pro. they are a little cheaper than some of the other options mentioned on here (and i'm sure there is a difference in quality) but they still got good reviews. i have now used them once grouse hunting and once shooting. there does not seem to be any delay in the sound coming through (which was a complaint i read about some cheaper ones), the blast protection seemed good, and the normal sound coming through seemed pretty normal sounding. the wind noise wasn't bad but i had a winter hat over my ears most of the time.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby seank » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:55 pm

So I got out to do some quail hunting yesterday with the SoundGear plugs that I bought, and I got a chance to really evaluate them. I'm really happy with them and I'm going to give y'all some of my observations on them.

We did about 7 miles in the desert yesterday with about 30-35 mph winds. The friend I was with has wised up a bit from my ear issues and was wearing a pair of Sure Fire EP3 baffle type plugs ($12.96 on Amazon). Both the Sure Fire and the SoundGear offer the same level of sound reduction (24dB), but the latter have the electronic amplification of sound below 90dB and shuts off anything above 90 dB. We were both able to hear each other in the field, but I would say I was able to hear him quite a bit better. He said the wind noise was really strong with his plugs. I didn't have any problem with the wind noise and I think a lot of it comes from where the sound enters the plugs. The EP3 plugs have a plug on the outer end of the plug facing out the side. On my electronic SoundGear plugs, the mic is inside the outer ear facing forward. I don't have a picture to post, but I think this provides a couple of benefits. It reduces the wind noise, which just makes the whole experience wear on you less. All that noise just makes my brain tired. But the forward facing mic also means you retain directionality in your hearing. I was not only able to hear birds get up, but I was also able to tell where the one that got up behind me in the trees was... even though I couldn't hit it.

I cycled through the programs a bit while I was out there and mostly used the one that increases all frequencies and the cell phone program that increases the middle portion of the frequency range. The latter program does cut some of the higher frequency sounds like you get from walking through grass, but honestly you get used to those sounds. I do throttle down the volume on the units because the increased amount of sound can be kind of hard to process. Running with it higher just makes my brain tired. I did not experience any sort of noticeable sound delay like CJM mentioned.

In terms of battery life, I can't say much yet. I'm up to 7 days on the first battery and its still going strong. I've used it quite a bit during that time. I think the batteries are a fairly minor issue. They don't cost much and the benefits of being able to hear, sound directionality and reducing the cumulative hearing damage over the log run are worth it.

So, here are my overall thoughts. Being able to hear and maintain some level of protection is really nice. My hearing in my left ear has settled down quite a bit in the last few weeks, but I still have quite a bit of ringing. It is worth the money to me to be able to get out and hunt without making that worse. Frankly I wish I had done something earlier. Did I need to spend $600 on it? Not necessarily. If my hearing was better, I might be able to make do with a set of the $12-20 Sure Fire plugs, but the SoundGear plugs are a lot more comfortable to use, allow you to hear better, maintain directionality, and probably help people who have significant high frequency hearing loss. If wearing a single disposable foam plug in your offside (forward) ear is all you can do, then its better than nothing. The $12-20 baffle plugs work, but can be difficult to use in windy country. If you can afford the electronic in-the-ear-canal plugs, I think you will be happy with them. For me, they are an investment in being able to hear the grand kids that I don't have yet. I'm sure many of you have more hearing loss and tinnitus than I do, but I think you will all agree that we don't realize it's happening until it starts to get bad. And once you notice it, it doesn't come back to what it was before. Every little bit of damage is cumulative in the long haul.

For me, the SoundGear plugs were well worth the money. I really appreciated all the feedback I received here on the VeeDog board and wanted to give back to the group. If you find another brand that are similar or better in capability or any other solution for this, let us all know your opinions on it so we can all make good decisions about our hearing.

Thanks,

Sean
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby AverageGuy » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:51 pm

Sean,

Since your post I have been going old school with a foam plug in left ear. The pain is gone which is nice. Of course I lose a lot of hearing with the foam ear plug in and it makes me slower to react when a bird flushes so it is a temporary solution that I could implement immediately and did.

I still have good hearing and it has been an asset to a lot of my hunting. I can tell a deer from a squirrel from a turkey walking in the leaves and I get a lot of information on the distance and direction from my ears. I have always wondered how the amplified sound would mess with what is currently a good ability to judge distances based on sound. When I hear a turkey gobble or drum, I get pretty accurate information on how far away it is with my unassisted hearing.

I wondered if you had any feel for: does the amplified sound make you think things are closer than they really are?
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby seank » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:36 pm

Yes, it does make things sound closer. Or rather it can depending on how you set the volume. The first time I tried these things I thought it was going to be tough to get used to. However, after a couple of days in the field with them, I find it sorta interesting how fast your brain acclimates to them. You'll play with them a bit to get them set for you, then you may not mess with the settings again. Or you may find yourself occasionally turning them up a bit to try to get some more auditory info. I know its probably a new toy syndrome, but I find myself doing the latter at least for now.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby mtlhdr » Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:45 am

I went to visit the audiologist at my healthcare provider (Kaiser). They don't offer any amplified hearing protection but they do offer custom fit passive plugs that allow near-normal hearing and provide decent hearing protection. Here's the plug:

https://www.westone.com/defendear/index ... Itemid=128

The pair cost me $150 and I thought they'd be worth a shot before investing a whole lot more. The audiologist thought they'd work since my hearing is still good. Three weeks ago at my initial visit the audiologist took molds of both ears. I tried them out yesterday for the first time. The fit was good and the plugs were comfortable to wear over 5 hours. They take a little time to get in and out but it's not difficult. I could hear normal sounds that were close, like the crunching of leaves and close flushing birds. Can't really know what farther away sounds that I'm missing :/ I don't think I missed any flushes that my buddy heard. I did notice it was a little hard to hear my buddy talking if he was 20+ yards away behind brush, so I imagine there is some loss of functional hearing. I've got a couple more months of hunting left between the wild bird and club seasons, so I'll be able to give a more thorough review later.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby woodboro » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:57 am

seank wrote: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


Sean - your shooting slump sounds interesting.
Have you ever determined if you are shooting with the wrong eye ??
(I did not read all of the posts )
many times eye sight is the biggest issue.
And many that started shooting as a kid , shoot like a rifle man instead of a shotgun stance.
Lessons to shoot at a skeet range work wonders.

I never use hearing plus because I need to hear my dogs bell.
As a duck hunter I need to hear the ducks as well.

So my hearing has suffered, I get by with it , but no one else does :lol:
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby blue04 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:33 pm

woodboro wrote:I never use hearing plus because I need to hear my dogs bell.
As a duck hunter I need to hear the ducks as well.


This issue goes away with the electronic plugs we've been discussing. I find I can actually hear beepers and bells better with my plugs in, and ducks, deer, turkey, etc. rarely sneak up on me any more.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby JASmith » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:43 pm

blue04 wrote:
woodboro wrote:I never use hearing plus because I need to hear my dogs bell.
As a duck hunter I need to hear the ducks as well.


This issue goes away with the electronic plugs we've been discussing. I find I can actually hear beepers and bells better with my plugs in, and ducks, deer, turkey, etc. rarely sneak up on me any more.


Yep, that is the point of it all. It's really nice!
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby seank » Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:06 pm

woodboro wrote:
seank wrote: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


Sean - your shooting slump sounds interesting.
Have you ever determined if you are shooting with the wrong eye ??
(I did not read all of the posts )
many times eye sight is the biggest issue.
And many that started shooting as a kid , shoot like a rifle man instead of a shotgun stance.
Lessons to shoot at a skeet range work wonders.

I never use hearing plus because I need to hear my dogs bell.
As a duck hunter I need to hear the ducks as well.

So my hearing has suffered, I get by with it , but no one else does :lol:


Woodboro,

No, not a problem with my eyes. Sometimes you miss a few and it makes you start over thinking things. I just needed to focus on getting my hand in the right spot on the straight stock and getting my face down on the comb. I've had the 20 out since and have done alright with it.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby dan buchman » Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:19 pm

Thanks seank for bring this subject up. I have thought about getting ear protection for hunting for a while and just haven't pulled the trigger on a set.

cjm have you had a chance to use the Etymotic Gun sport PRO earplugs since your last post? I am interested in the Etymotic Gun sport PRO or the Sound Gear Instant Fit earplugs and would be interest and any reviews.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby cjm » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:14 pm

dan buchman wrote: cjm have you had a chance to use the Etymotic Gun sport PRO earplugs since your last post? I am interested in the Etymotic Gun sport PRO or the Sound Gear Instant Fit earplugs and would be interest and any reviews.


I don't have much to add yet. I really like them and my only outstanding question is whether or not I can hear a grouse flush - I only wore them one day hunting (our season ended Jan 1) and I didn't hear any wings taking off but I've noticed that can be the case anyways with wind, a lot of snow, and conifer cover. I absolutely plan to use them for training and hunting all year.
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Re: Hearing protection for hunting?

Postby dan buchman » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:55 am

Thanks cjm
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