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It has become very important to those in law enforcement and the military to protect their hearing with the use of shooters ear protection devices. In days gone by no one even thought about the dangers of loud noises and the resulting hearing loss that we were sustaining without protection. If it was going to be loud someone just hollered hold your ears and open your mouth and that was that for safety. Even the use of cotton balls, cloths or towels as shooters ear protection only reduces the noise intensity by about 7dB.
When should the enforcer wear ear protection devices: if you need to shout over the noise to be heard, if there is a ringing in your ears, if the noise causes pain, if the noise is over 90 dB (gun fire) or if you experience hearing loss for several hours after extreme intensity of noise. Be advised that there is no cure for hearing loss from intense noise without shooters ear protection once it has happened. Many different instances can arise in the field of tactical and law enforcement that would require you to have on hand ear protection. A noise does not have to be repetitive to do damage if you choose not to wear shooters protection, a sound of enough intensity can cause hearing loss.
There are two different types of ear protection available that reduce the intensity of sounds. The first one is the earplug. Shooters ear protection earplugs are made usually of a soft conforming material that will plug the outer ear canal completely with an air seal to block the noise. If you find that the earplugs slip out too easily, try using a headband or bandana (tying style Do Rag)over the shooters ear protection. It has been reported that low intensity sounds are blocked with greater performance with the earplug.
The second form of shooters protection is found in the use of earmuffs. The earmuffs need to completely cover the outer ear resulting in an air seal for noise reduction. The attached headbands are usually adjustable and are worn quite comfortably. The adjusting band allows you to fit the shooters ear protection earmuffs to your size so that the earmuffs are secure over the ears. It has been determined that high intensity sounds are better diminished with the use of shooters protection earmuffs.
In some instances enforcers have found that wearing both earplugs and earmuffs types of shooters protection can reduce damaging sound levels by another 10 dB to 15 dB. Even by doing this it is still possible to hear sounds though at a deeper level.
If your ear protection does not fit properly then you are leaving yourself open to hearing loss. Properly fitting earplugs or earmuffs will still allow for hearing. The plugged ear sounds of a deeper bass (louder and deeper) lets the wearer know that the fit is correct. If your protection does not fit properly you are cutting your protection rate by half.