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Brian Enos's Forums... Maku mozo!

Ear Pro / NRR


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I don't want to turn this thread into another "which ear PRO to buy" because there are already a million and they are all very informative.
Long story short, I'd like to invest in a really good set of ear pro. I've spent thousands of dollars between guns, mag pouches, holsters, belts, and everything else, but yet I have a $60 dollar pair of HL's on my head. I like them, they work well, but I want to make a better investment for my hearing.
Based on existing threads, it seems like the "best" and most popular higher end muffs are:
MSA Sordins
3M Tactical PRO / Variations
Various PRO Ears
Everyone has their opinions and most of the other threads focus on "I have these and I like them", but looking to take a more scientific view from people who are smarter than me about what NRR really means.
Why, for example, are my cheap HL's rated at 30 NRR, and the 3M Tac Pros 26? Obviously the test results can be reported in different ways for the purposes of marketing and i'd love to get past that BS to make some informed decisions.
Or is the alternative that all of this doesn't really matter and if you double up, the difference between a $200 dollar and a $60 set of muffs is pointless?
Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk

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Your last sentence. Don't fall into the trap that more money spent here equals better hearing loss prevention down the road.


Looking at NPR alone then you'd just wear foam plugs as they can be 32/33 NPR. (i have a $240 pair of electronic ears and I still choose foamies)


But what is the intent of your ear pro? Are you shopping for something that you can play music in? Look good? Hear range commands easier? Or just simple noise reduction? Comfort? Ease of use? How often do you shoot? Will they be for just pistols only or rifles as well? A minor pf gun or a major pf Open gun? Indoors as well as out? How much does your hair or glasses intrude on the seal?


The compromise I see most often is foam plugs with cheap electronic muffs over them.


You want real science? Go to an audiologist and explain the noise environment you work/play in. (though he's going to probably try and sell you something as well.....)


I found this document interesting: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.hearingconservation.org/resource/resmgr/imported/Tool Box Talk series - hearing conservation in Shipbuilding - FINAL - 042409.pdf

Edited by rowdyb
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NRR is an average across all frequencies, higher frequencies you can get larger reductions with very little material, while lower frequencies require a large amount of material to block it. So the more material the higher the NRR. That is why foamies and custom silicon plugs do so well, they have a lot of material is a very small space. With over ear protection you have to balance the material with the size of the muffs.

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I'm a huge fan of ear PLUGS under ear MUFFS when indoors or dealing with open major. Limited major and all minor of I run just a good set of ear PLUGS. We get tested at work regularly and there is no benefit for muffs other than to keep my ears warm in the winter lol. My electronic Browning muffs were 60 and have been going strong for 4 years. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
OP, I'm going to violate your request for a scientific analysis since I'm not a scientist and I'm definitely not smarter than you...I just have my very recent practical experience to relate.   
Much of my shooting is indoors.   I have a brand new pair of PE Pro-Tac Slim Gold 28 NRR...$200.  Used them once; at an indoors IDPA match and the noise was painful.   Turned the volume up and everything got louder, shots and voices.  Turned the volume down and everything was still too loud, so I turned them off and relied on the 28 NRR which was not even close to being adequate for me.   Ear box is small (or I have big ears).  I could not return them since the seller's 30 day return policy had been exceeded (by two days).  (I now read seller's return policies and won't buy from any who have a restocking fee or restrictive return policy.  Yes, I know all about how they have to make a profit to stay in business and how they can't stay in business if they keep taking stuff back etc., etc.)
I was then severely pissed off at myself for making a bad choice, so I threw $230 more at a pair of MSA Sordin Supreme Pro #75302 rated 18NRR and used them at this week's IDPA indoor match.   Absolutely work the best for me; comfortable and they reduce all the noise in the range, you have to adjust the listening level to just hear the range commands and it's nice and quiet overall.  No double plugging.  Apparently they work much better than the 18NRR rating; something about frequencies at which gun shots are heard...all I know is they have one set of controls, they are super comfortable, they are of excellent quality and best of all...they work for me!!!
Good luck and I hope you make the best choice for you...the first time.     
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