Electronic hearing protection allows hunters, shooters, construction workers, and any other individuals dealing with loud noises to block the dangerous loud impulses and at the same time be able to hear what other people are saying at ordinary volumes or low tones.
How it works
The ear protection devices have ear cups with acoustic foam that provide hearing protection just like in passive hearing. When the pieces block most of the noise and the sound levels in your surrounding are low, the sound is picked up by a microphone outside the ear cups, amplify, and deliver it to the inside of the ear cups using electronic impulses.
This results in the sound reaching the ears at a safe and comfortable volume.
When the hearing protection devices detect sound approaching unsafe levels, they immediately switch off the amplification circuitry. As a result, you are left with passive protection. When the high dangerous sounds go away, the amplifier resumes amplifying environmental sounds.
Most of the modern expensive and advanced models feature the latest amplifier technology known as “sound compression.” The technology allows you to hear all the sounds in the environment, but the lower stream sound is continuous—it doesn’t go up or down.
Due to the technology, you are able to hear more than you can without the earmuffs but at a safe volume level.
The old models of electronic earmuffs have two or more microphones. While the earmuffs allow you to hear low-level sounds since they are amplified, you can’t tell the direction they are coming from.
Modern and expensive electronic earmuffs have two microphones on the outside and two speakers inside the ear cup that let you know where the sound is coming from.
Due to directional sensitivity, modern electronic earmuffs are perfect for hunting and undertaking military/police tactical expeditions.
Are electronic ear protectors safe?
Most people are used to passive ear protectors that they have the impression that the electronic pieces are not safe.
You should know that the pieces are 100% safe. In fact, they can be better than the passive ones especially if you are engaging in an activity that requires you to protect your hearing and at the same time you want to listen to instructions or your environment.
For example, when you are hunting or working in a factory where you need to listen to your supervisor’s instructions.
For you to get the most from the electronic hearing protectors you need to wear them properly. You also need to ensure that they have the right batteries. This is to make it possible for them to amplify the important message when the need arises.
What should you consider when buying electronic hearing protection?
If you feel that you should get yourself electronic ear protection, you should go for the very best. This calls for you to pay attention to the important features when making the purchase. Some of the features to consider include:
The noise reduction rating (NRR) is the first thing you should look out for when making the purchase. The higher the rating, the better the protection. If you are looking for ear protectors for shooting, go for pieces with an NRR rating of at least 20 when you are using small-caliber weapons.
If using larger bore hand and long guns, go for pieces with an NRR of 25 or more.
When practicing, it’s recommended that you go for dual-ear protection. This is where you wear earplugs under electronic ear muffs.
Number of microphones
For you to easily tell the direction the sound is coming from, each ear cup should have at least one microphone on it and separate speakers on each ear cup. The hearing protection device will even be better if it has two microphones and two speakers in each ear cup.
As mentioned above, it’s crucial that you know the direction the sound is coming from when you are hunting or undertaking police/military missions.
The microphones are the ones that guide you on the direction of the sound. As a hunter, you are able to easily get your target and at the same time avoid being caught unaware by an animal.
If you are in the military, telling the direction of the sound ensures you are prepared all the time and you go in the wrong direction—the direction of the enemy.
Depending on the brand and quality, electronic ear protectors vary in the level of amplification they provide. The best earmuffs in the market at the moment provide up to 50-decibel maximum amplification that gives you “bionic” hearing.
When making the purchase, go for pieces providing the highest levels of amplification as they will allow you to hear what other people are saying better.
Almost all electronic ear muffs have a feature that allows you to adjust the volume from off to maximum and anywhere in between. When using the hearing protectors, avoid setting to the maximum as you will end up damaging your hearing you are trying to protect.
Remember, hearing damage comes about as a result of the time-volume level combination. By listening to loud sounds for a long time you end up damaging your ears.
Most of the electronic ear protection devices in the market have a single ear cup control. This means that you have the same amplification in both ears. You will be better off with pieces that have independent volume controls on each ear cup.
The controls allow you to adjust the volume in each ear to your desired level. The controls also aid in preventing hearing loss in one ear. A condition that is common with shooters.
This is the time the amplifier turns on and off when exposed to extremely loud noises. When making the purchase, take your time to read the details on the packaging and take note of the attack time.
The higher the attack time the better the earmuffs as the less you will be cut off from the surrounding sounds. Sound compression has also been found to benefit from the fast attack time, leading to fewer losses and greater sound fidelity.
Audio input jack
Do you love listening to music when working? Go for earmuffs with an input jack. If you love listening to speeches, go for protectors with a mono jack, but if you love music, go for a stereo jack.
Automatic switch-off feature
To conserve your batteries so that they can last for a long time, go for pieces with an automatic switch-off feature.
If you have been researching about the electric earmuffs, you must be aware that they come in different ear cup designs. To minimize interference when shooting or working, go for hearing protectors with slim or beveled ear cups.
While you are at, pay attention to the style of the earmuffs. To have an easy time wearing and storing the pieces, go for those with a folding style.
Regular hearing protectors have regular headbands but there are few with neckbands. Earmuffs with a behind-the-head neckband look stylish and modern than the regular ones but there are no studies that show they are more effective at protecting your ears.
The choice you go with solely depends on your preferences and the look you want to create.
If you are using the electronic hearing protectors for lawn mowing or any other form of work, the color isn’t of much importance unless you are working in a dangerous environment where you need to be visible.
In such a situation, choose a color that can be seen from a distance or in complete darkness.
But if you are a hunter, you want pieces that blend with the environment so that your victim can’t see you. Choose earmuffs that match where you will be hunting or executing your military/police mission.
Which are the best electronic hearing protectors in the market?
Whether you are a factory worker, hunter, or musician, you deserve the best hearing protection devices. Some of the best ones that have been proven to work over and over again are:
Featuring in-built directional microphones, they expertly amplify a wide range of commands and other sounds to a safe 82 dB. When the ambient sound reaches 82dB, the earmuffs shut off automatically protecting your hearing.
With an NRR of 22, these hearing protectors keep you safe from most of the noise. The low profile ear cups leave enough clearance for you to be comfortable while the adjustable headband ensures that you have a secure fit.
If you are a music lover, the headphones have an AUX input that provides a connection to your MP3, phone, tablet, and computer.
The automatic shut-off feature protects your batteries so that they can last for a long time.
With an NRR of 34 dB, these ANSI rated earmuffs provide you with optimum noise protection. The padded headband ensures that you are comfortable even when you go shooting for hours. The ultra-light nature of the ear protectors eliminates fatigue that comes from wearing the pieces for a long time.
Once you are done with shooting or work, the compact folding design of the earmuffs ensures you have an easy time storing them in your bag. You can also easily carry the pieces in your hands.
Made in the USA, these 34 dB hearing protectors will silence your noisy world in a snap. The industry-grade plastic they are made from ensures that they can handle the tough nature of hunting, woodworking, and lawn mowing environments.
The ear protectors address the main issues that earmuff users complain about: make and weight. The headphones have a solid construction; therefore, you can have peace of mind that they will last for a long time. They are also lightweight making it easy to travel with them. You can also wear them for long without suffering from fatigue.