There I two things I never forget when I head to the shooting range and no it’s not a gun or ammo. It is eye and ear protection. I would rather show up to the range sans firearm than risk my hearing or vision.
Normally, I keep a few sets of foamy earplugs strewn about my cleaning kit and in my truck. I also keep a pair or two in a small pill bottle attached to my key chain. With all of this, you’d think I was a fan of the foamy-type earplugs, but I am not. It’s a great backup and will do the job when nothing else is available.
I also like to keep a set handy as a secondary form of protection when shooting larger calibers and certain smaller calibers without a muzzle brake—don’t ever shoot a an AR without the muzzle brake/flash suppressor; it’s vicious. However, given my druthers, I’ll take a quality set of electronic muffs anytime.
Even when shooting alone at the range, someone inevitably wants to bend your ear about this or that and it is easy to get lulled into a false sense of security. Before you know it, there is a big boom from a few benches away and you just got your bell rung.
Safety is another reason I’d prefer to have electronic muffs—with or without foamy plugs—on the shooting line, you need to hear what is going on around you. Line stoppages, emergencies and the occasional safety hazard of someone just not paying attention are all concerns. Great hearing protection that makes you temporarily deaf does not.
When hunting birds, be it upland or waterfowl, the action is furious and fast paced. You need to hear the guide or party leader from several feet away yelling, “Take em!” or “Hen, hen—no shot!”
There are several quality electronic muffs on the market and prices these days are so low it does not make sense not to have a pair or two handy. Last week I tested one of my favorite brands and am still impressed with Pro Ears.
Pro Ears are one the world’s most advanced electronic ear and hearing protection for shooting and hunting. Its superior technology allows the competitive shooter, hunter and law enforcement agent to hear every sound, including conversation, even during high volume noise spikes. Pro Ears electronic earmuffs achieve a perfect balance between comfort, noise attenuation and purity of sound. No compromises.
The human brain functions optimally when it is interpreting clear, consistent, natural sounds. Whether you are a competitive shooter listening for range signals, a tactical officer on a forced entry, or working in a dangerous industrial environment listening to a warning, the quality of the sound signals sent to your brain for interpretation can mean the difference between success and failure, life or death.
Dynamic Level Sound Compression
Pro Ears models of electronic hearing protection/amplification muffs feature ‘DLSC’ —Dynamic Level Sound Compression Technology. This technology allows you to hear every sound—even during high volume noise spikes. Pro Ears contends that when other brands say it has ‘compression’ technology, it does not. According to Pro Ears, what it does have is outdated technology, either Peak Clipping or Automatic Level Control.
Peak Clipping turns the amplification system off when noise levels reach a preset decibel leaving the wearer with passive muffs. Automatic Level Control simply reacts to high noise levels by lowering the unit’s volume so the louder sounds still drown out softer sounds.
In both technologies loud noise levels compromise the ability to hear quieter sounds. Only Ridgeline’s DLSC technology protects hearing while at the same time allowing the wearer to hear lower volume sounds such as normal conversation. DLSC works by instantly compressing all noises over the 70 dB threshold by 50 percent to a safe level while amplifying all sounds below that to 70 dB. The result is the wearer will hear everything—including conversation—while simultaneously being protected from dangerous, high volume sounds.
Pro Ears Feature Five Levels of Simultaneous Control
- Block 1 – Gain and Volume Control
This block amplifies the microphone. The gain can be adjusted from 0 dB to 40 dB.
- Block 2 – High Pass Filters
Cuts the low frequencies below 300Hz, eliminating most of the wind noise and other low frequencies.
- Block 3 – Dynamic Level Sound Compression (DLSC)
This circuit automatically adjusts or compresses the input signal by as much as 45 dB. The DLSC will automatically adjust the internal gain in order to maintain the safe output level of 85 dB.
- Block 4 – Low Pass Filters
Limits the high frequencies that are allowed to pass. The 3 dB point is at 5Khz.
- Block 5 – Speaker Amp
This stage provides the high output current required to drive the speaker with no distortion.
The Dual Layer, Printed Circuit Boards with extensive ground planes make it immune to interferences caused by radios, TV, Ham stations and other sources. The All-Surface Mount Design uses the highest quality parts available and based on five, low power Integrated Circuits allowing the unit to consume less than 4 Ma with a battery life of more than 300 hours.
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