Hearing protection and enhancement for hunters and shooters

By: Lisa D. Cahill, Ph.D., CCC-A

Hearing protection is essential if you are hunter, sport shooter, working in law enforcement, armed forces or any activity involving guns. Even if you want to go on a shooting range to have some fun with friends you still need good ear protection. Learn how to protect your hearing effectively and prevent or reduce the impact on your hearing from these noisy blasts of sound. Use of hearing protection while shooting is an essential rule on the shooting range. 

As discussed in last week’s noise protection blog, quality hearing protection will lower the sound pressure level reaching your ear canal and reduce damage to the inner ear.  A recent study on AK-47 gunshot exposure resulted in sound pressure levels between 73 dBA to 111 dBA, suggesting extremely dangerous levels of noise exposure with artillery gunfire with a high potential for acoustic trauma (Saedi, et. al., 2013).  Another study by Moon, et. al. (2011) demonstrated that the impact of initial exposure to gunfire on a shooting range can extend from 13-26 dBSL temporary elevation of hearing thresholds, and results in a significant increase in perception of tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.   

Sound Enhancement and Protection

We understand that many shooters want hearing protection, but still need to be able to hear quiet environmental sounds. Specialty products are available for this purpose.  Our featured product line is called SoundGear.  The hunter/shooter product from SoundGear is 100% digital and provides a brand-new category of electronic hearing protection that enhances environmental awareness while also protecting your hearing from gun blasts.

SoundGear instruments come in several styles and feature advanced digital technology capable of enhancing sound 8X over traditional hearing protection products.  The signal processor uses seamless sound activated compression to trigger instant and automatic suppression of any noise over 95dB. This performance is available in smaller, custom fitted styles such as In-The-Ear and In-The-Canal, making it a popular choice for hunters and shooters who are looking for an alternative to earmuffs. This product has a NRR of 25-26 dB and is perfect for extended wear. 

SoundGear products start at $399 and are included in our special mentioned in last week’s blog entry! Please mention Code HEARINGEARS10321.


Moon, I.S., Park S.Y., Park, H. J., Yang, H.S., Hong, S.J., Lee, W.S. (2011). Clinical characteristics of acoustic trauma caused by gunshot noise in mass rifle drills without ear protection. J Occup Environ Hygiene, 8(10):618-23. doi: 10.1080/15459624.2011.609013.

Saedi, B., Ghasemi,  M., Motiee, M., Mojtahed, M., Safevi,A. (2013). Transient threshold shift after gunshot noise exposure. B-ENT, 9(2): 133-139.

Starkey Hearing Technologies, www.soundgear.com. Retrieved on December 30, 2014.