Types of Custom Hearing Protection

May is Better Hearing Month and to celebrate we’re giving away a different prize each week!
Week 4 is a custom earpiece for hunting, swimming, or sleeping. Call us today for your chance to win!*

It’s been a while since I’ve written about hearing protection for hunters, and it recently occurred to me that I haven’t written at all about hearing protection for musicians, sports enthusiasts, industrial workers, or anyone else who finds themselves in loud environments. For a quick primer on the broad categories of hearing protection, visit our Hearing Protection page.

One of the most frustrating aspects of hearing protection (besides remembering to use it) is understanding which type of hearing protection is best for which situation. The needs of a musician are profoundly different from those of a motor-sports enthusiast. Another reason people fail to protect their hearing is that most styles of hearing protection are either big/hot/uncomfortable, or they prevent communication.

Whatever your needs or concerns, there is a hearing protection system that should work perfectly well for your situation. We work with several excellent companies that offer custom earpieces that are vented, filtered, or have electronic components that will keep your hearing protected and allow you to hear virtually anything your heart desires.

There are four basic categories of custom earpieces: passive, filtered, electronic, and solid/specialty.

    • Passive Custom Earpieces
      Passive custom earpieces are usually intended for anyone who is exposed to intermittent moments of very loud noise — people such as hunters, gun enthusiasts, sheet-metal workers, etc. This type of earpiece uses a passive, noise-activated “break” that will allow the earpiece to remain open and allow essentially normal hearing unless a loud noise occurs. These earpieces typically have an NRR rating of between 20 and 24. That rating is just fine for impulse noise.
    • Filtered Earpieces
      Filtered earpieces are generally intended for musicians and music enthusiasts. They have specially designed acoustic filters that provide a “flat” reduction of volume across the frequency range. This type of filtering allows music enjoyment without distortion.
    • Electronic Earpieces
      Electronic earpieces are significantly more expensive but, depending on your needs, are well worth the investment. This type contains a circuit that is designed to amplify and overcome the hearing loss that is caused by the earpiece itself. It should allow you to hear as clearly as you did before you put them in. The circuit is then programmed to reduce certain frequencies or sound levels, depending on your needs. One of the most important features of this type of system is how quickly it responds to certain sounds. Gunfire happens awfully fast, and you certainly don’t want to wait for these systems to make a decision!
  • Specialty or Solid Earpieces
    Finally, there are specialty or solid earpieces. Though these are usually the least expensive, they are the most versatile. Depending on the size, shape, ear canal depth, and material used, they can be used for swimming, sleeping, general hearing protection, or for special applications such as stethoscopes, earbuds and earphones, radio communication, or just a little protection when you are mowing the lawn.

Contact us today if you’re curious or need some help determining the type that is right for you.

We want to help preserve your hearing and improve your enjoyment of your favorite activities. Stay Vibrant!

*Entries accepted between May 22-26, 2017. Open to Montana residents only.

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