Ear protection; what do you wear when hunting waterfowl?

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Ear protection; what do you wear when hunting waterfowl?

Postby mastercaster » Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:35 pm

What kind of ear protection do you wear when you're in the blind. Up until now I was just wearing some wax ear plugs which I figure is much better than nothing but I bought some of the Walker electronic ear muff type with amplified hearing capabilities. Hopefully the colour (camo vs. black) doesn't matter because I got a sweet deal on the black ones off ebay.

What type do you wear?
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Re: Ear protection; what do you wear when hunting waterfowl?

Postby carramrod » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:06 pm

The wrong kind...none.

I need to be better at it for waterfowl and dove hunting. There's really no excuse for not wearing them other than I'm lazy.
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Re: Ear protection; what do you wear when hunting waterfowl?

Postby flitecontrol » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:07 pm

I wear either foam plugs or electronic muffs.
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Re: Ear protection; what do you wear when hunting waterfowl?

Postby AverageGuy » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:11 pm

I have been using these for any and all shooting sports for the last 3 years. Excellent product.

https://www.soundgearhearing.com/collec ... s-shooters
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Re: Ear protection; what do you wear when hunting waterfowl?

Postby mastercaster » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:30 pm

AverageGuy wrote:I have been using these for any and all shooting sports for the last 3 years. Excellent product.

https://www.soundgearhearing.com/collec ... s-shooters


I know you should consider your hearing to be priceless but somehow I can't get myself to pay $400 USD (that would be $520 Cdn for me) for them,,,,,but I sure like how light and uncumbersome they are. Maybe one day. For now, I'll just use the electronic muff type that are on order for use in the blind and my wax ones in the upland field. My 20 ga. doesn't make much of a noise with them in.
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Re: Ear protection; what do you wear when hunting waterfowl?

Postby mtlhdr » Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:24 pm

I wear these: https://www.westone.com/store/defendear ... er-passive

I like the custom-fit and the fact that I hear normal sounds pretty well and they do a good job of protecting against the shotgun blast. Honestly, sometimes I worry I might miss the sound of a single flushing quail behind me but other than that they are great. Don't duck hunt much but they are good in the blind. Can talk to my blind partner(s) with no problems.

I got mine through my heathcare provider (Kaiser) but paid full price (but it was less than the suggested retail of $200 - just can't remember the exact price). The audiologist did the ear molds for me and sent them off to Westone to be made. So much better than regular ear plugs because I can hear 90-95% of normal sounds and with the custom fit they are super comfortable and won't fall out, even after hours of use.

Some day I'll save up for the amplified version, but they are quite expensive and pretty low on the priority list.
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Re: Ear protection; what do you wear when hunting waterfowl?

Postby flitecontrol » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:41 pm

mtlhdr wrote:I wear these: https://www.westone.com/store/defendear ... er-passive

I like the custom-fit and the fact that I hear normal sounds pretty well and they do a good job of protecting against the shotgun blast. Honestly, sometimes I worry I might miss the sound of a single flushing quail behind me but other than that they are great. Don't duck hunt much but they are good in the blind. Can talk to my blind partner(s) with no problems.

I got mine through my heathcare provider (Kaiser) but paid full price (but it was less than the suggested retail of $200 - just can't remember the exact price). The audiologist did the ear molds for me and sent them off to Westone to be made. So much better than regular ear plugs because I can hear 90-95% of normal sounds and with the custom fit they are super comfortable and won't fall out, even after hours of use.

Some day I'll save up for the amplified version, but they are quite expensive and pretty low on the priority list.


With a NRR (noise reduction rating) of just 4dB, they don't provide much protection. IIRC, my current pair of electronic muffs from Sportsman Guide cost less than $20 several years back. Before them I had a much more expensive pair made by Peltor. Performance was about the same for both.
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Re: Ear protection; what do you wear when hunting waterfowl?

Postby mtlhdr » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:49 pm

flitecontrol wrote:
mtlhdr wrote:I wear these: https://www.westone.com/store/defendear ... er-passive

I like the custom-fit and the fact that I hear normal sounds pretty well and they do a good job of protecting against the shotgun blast. Honestly, sometimes I worry I might miss the sound of a single flushing quail behind me but other than that they are great. Don't duck hunt much but they are good in the blind. Can talk to my blind partner(s) with no problems.

I got mine through my heathcare provider (Kaiser) but paid full price (but it was less than the suggested retail of $200 - just can't remember the exact price). The audiologist did the ear molds for me and sent them off to Westone to be made. So much better than regular ear plugs because I can hear 90-95% of normal sounds and with the custom fit they are super comfortable and won't fall out, even after hours of use.

Some day I'll save up for the amplified version, but they are quite expensive and pretty low on the priority list.


With a NRR (noise reduction rating) of just 4dB, they don't provide much protection. IIRC, my current pair of electronic muffs from Sportsman Guide cost less than $20 several years back. Before them I had a much more expensive pair made by Peltor. Performance was about the same for both.


That's for normal sounds (e.g., talking). The impulse sound (e.g., shotgun blast) reduction is higher. Here's the spec according to manufacturer:
Attenuation @ 132 dB = 15.1 dB
Attenuation @ 150 dB = 22.8 dB
Attenuation @ 168 dB = 26.7 dB
Last edited by mtlhdr on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ear protection; what do you wear when hunting waterfowl?

Postby blue04 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:57 pm

I have a pair similar to these: https://www.espamerica.com/elite-digital/

I DID NOT pay anything close to the $1600 USD that ESP advertises on their site. I think my set cost roughly $550 USD. It is by far the best money I've ever spent on hunting gear. They are custom molded for my ears, so they are comfortable enough to wear all day. The hearing protection is very good. I can adjust the volume so that I can carry on conversations at a whisper, hear distant waterfowl or turkey sounds, etc. It has changed my hunting experience for the better. I thought the price was steep myself before I got mine. A friend of mine talked me into the purchase, and I have never regretted spending the money.
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Re: Ear protection; what do you wear when hunting waterfowl?

Postby Deuce » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:44 am

I have custom fit Soundgear Silver's from an audiologist. I used my HSA to cover the cost. Love them.

If you don't want to go that route, several of my buddies use the Walker Razor's and swear by them: https://amzn.to/2VXkT19
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Re: Ear protection; what do you wear when hunting waterfowl?

Postby mtlhdr » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:23 pm

Deuce wrote:I used my HSA to cover the cost.

That's a good idea. I just checked our flex spending provider and "hearing devices and batteries" are covered. Might have to bump mine up next year to cover the cost.
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Re: Ear protection; what do you wear when hunting waterfowl?

Postby mastercaster » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:57 pm

Deuce wrote:I have custom fit Soundgear Silver's from an audiologist. I used my HSA to cover the cost. Love them.

If you don't want to go that route, several of my buddies use the Walker Razor's and swear by them: https://amzn.to/2VXkT19


These are the one I decided to go with,,,,,for now, except I got the camo coloured ones. I have one guy I hunt ducks with who likes his and finds they don't interfere with his ability to knock birds down. Two exceptional old timer shooters that I know won't wear any ear protection. They think the muff type would definitely affect their swing and getting on birds quickly. They're definitely cracker jack shots but guess what? They both can't hear worth $#*!.

I tried throwing my shot gun up wearing a normal pair of hearing muffs that I use at the range to see what would happen and I definitely get a click with the stock of the gun. I'm hoping the razor thins won't do that, although I'm thinking if I get the click at least I'll know that I've got a good cheek weld with the stock and know I'm looking right down the barrel.
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Re: Ear protection; what do you wear when hunting waterfowl?

Postby AverageGuy » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:23 pm

Interferring with my gun mount is the biggest reason why I don't wear muffs.

The digital Soundgear product I use and posted has over 90% of the same performance for 1/3 of the cost of the custom fit products. I wear the orange plugs all day, day after day with no discomfort and it is impossible to dislodge them accidently. They have a low level of sound amplification which allows me to hear doves and ducks winging in from behind me and detect flushing birds from cover immediately. The sensation when shooting is frankly odd as it deadens the sound so much I see the bird falling and never notice the gun going off.

For several months this fall they were on sale for $275.
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Re: Ear protection; what do you wear when hunting waterfowl?

Postby mastercaster » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:36 pm

AverageGuy wrote:Interferring with my gun mount is the biggest reason why I don't wear muffs.

The digital Soundgear product I use and posted has over 90% of the same performance for 1/3 of the cost of the custom fit products. I wear the orange plugs all day, day after day with no discomfort and it is impossible to dislodge them accidently. They have a low level of sound amplification which allows me to hear doves and ducks winging in from behind me and detect flushing birds from cover immediately. The sensation when shooting is frankly odd as it deadens the sound so much I see the bird falling and never notice the gun going off.

For several months this fall they were on sale for $275.


Are these the ones? $299 And you can easily hear birds and whispered conversation?

https://www.soundgearhearing.com/
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Re: Ear protection; what do you wear when hunting waterfowl?

Postby AverageGuy » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:47 pm

MC, see the link I posted above for the specific product I am using. Instafit Shooter model. Its current price is shown as $399, but it was on sale for several months through the end of December 2018 for $275. Worth a call to see if they would still sell you a pair at that price if you are interested.

And yes they have a slight amount of amplification of normal level sounds so I can hear everything better except for the report of my shotgun. You will get some amplified swishing noise while walking through heavy grass but that is the nature of the beast with any of these products which have some amplification as well as noise cancelling.
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