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I remember shooting a deer several times with a .357 Maximum (no ear protection) and my ears rang for 4-5 days.
What can one expect, in the field without any ear protection, firing a .454 Casull revolver with a ported barrel?
 

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.454s without ports or brakes are brutal on the ears in hunting situations.  I know, just killed two deer with my 10" during the past couple of days.  

I would wear a plug in at least the left ear as it seems to take the most beating.  That way you will still be able to hear, while also being able to turn a deaf ear to those you do not wish to hear.
 

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Yes, the ported barrels tend to direct the concussion back at your ears. The Max and Casull are extremely high pressure rounds as far as a handgun cartridge goes and result in a very dense, sharp, shockwave of noise and concussion hitting your ears. (45,000 CUP+)

Was in the rangehouse the other day and was almost brained by a 2x3 stud that somebody stuck up on top of the rafters. Finally worked its way off the rafters from the concussion inside the house and fell down nearly on top of me after firing my fifth round of 358 Bellm in a ported Contender barrel.

Out in the open it is not as bad but will damage your hearing in short order.

Your ear ringing you had was actually severe ear trauma. You have most likely lost a minute amount of hearing. Continued exposure will find you "getting used to" the noise which is really a sign of hearing loss.

Try the Sonic Ear Valve type plugs when out hunting. These will allow you to hear normal sounds and won't be as bulky as the electronic muffs.


Regards, Ray

(Edited by Contender at 7:55 pm on Nov. 26, 2001)
 

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Yes it hurts!!! I have gon to electronic ear muffs. They are hard to get used to in the field, but it is you ears.
Contender-What are sonic ear valve plugs?

Mark
 

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Norton Sonic Ear Valves are rubber ear plugs with an aluminum muffler canister in the end of each one. They work pretty well. I've had mine for quite some time and really only use them in the field. Anything else I use a pair of high quality ear muffs.

The ear valves allow normal conversation but shunt out extremely loud sudden noise. They are not electronic though and are not as efficient as real ear muffs or electronics of course but beat plugs or heavy muffs for utility in the woods.

In all honesty, I'm not even sure if they are making them anymore as I got mine over ten years ago in the pre-electronic muff days. <!--emo&:)--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=':)'><!--endemo-->

I'll look around a bit to see what I can come up with. Not sure of the NR Rating on them.

Of course, there is always the empty 38 special shell in each ear..................


Regards, Ray

(Edited by Contender at 7:58 pm on Nov. 27, 2001)
 

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Contender,

Thanks for the info. If you find that they are stil made, please let me know. The 38 cases hurt ears especially when I snap my hunting hat over them!
Mark
 

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I had a set years ago and they finally went bad awhile back. I never replaced them until reading this forum. I shoot a Tarus Tracker in 41 Mag with a 4 in ported barrel. The noise is substantial so I bought another set to hunt with. I got mine at Walmart. The manufacturer is listed as North not Norton. Hope this helps

Terry
 

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Thanks Twillis,

You are quite correct, that is North.

Here is the link to their site:

http://www.northsafety.com/pluguse.htm

Not a terribly goo d NRR rating but seem to work well in the field as a better than nothing scenario for one or two gun shots.

Regards, Ray
 

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thanks for the Link to Horth and the Sonic Ear Valves.

Go over to Outdoor Life.com and look for Ron Carmichael's article "The Big Bang" about his hearing loss.
It will give you something to really think about.
 

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FWIW, several years ago, actually many, an article was published in one of the magazines concerning hearing pretection.  I know, there have been hundreds!

This one was interesting in that there was scientific analysis to back it up.  It had specific information regarding named products.  It was of interest to me because I had been using the Lee Sonic Ear Valve for years which I believe is the same item as mentioned above as an ear valve.  The idea was that the small metallic valve in the earplug would close in response to the sonis shock wave and thereby protect your ears from damage.

The result of the testing was that the valve itself emitted a very high pitched sound wave of it's own when it slammed shut.  This high frequency pulse was found to be in a range where it was actually more harmful that the noise it was supposed to protect your ears from!  This was, again, many years ago but the article may have been in The Rifleman.

I do not know if the North plugs mentioned are the same as the original Lee Sonics, but I would advise you to investigate before buying.  If they are the same they could do more damage than they prevent.

If you can find anyone who makes the moulded ear plugs which are done directly in your ear have a set made, you will be absolutely amazed by these.  An audiology store in your are can probably make these for you also. There may be someone in your area who does these at gunshows.

The amazing thing about these plugs is that when you take them out not only do you not have any residual ringing (which I have experienced with all other plugs and muffs I have used) but you will feel like you can hear better than normal, at least for a few minutes.  Contrary to what seems logical, you can also hear with these in better than with other types which I have experience with so conversation and range commands are not a problem.  I wish this type of earplugs had been available while I could still hear!!!  For the record, I started shooting gallery competition in 1958 and have always worn some form of hearing protection but am still nearly deaf in the left ear with a 90% loss in the 6000 Hertz range which is a typical hearing loss pattern for shooters.  Unfortunately(???), most womens' voices have a large component in this same range.
 

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This is the easiest post to answer I have ever read!!
If you want ear damage, use the cheap stuff! If you want to avoid ear damage, wear the very best "Muff's" you can afford/hearing.
One thing you forgot to answer is how many of you guys have ear damage from shoting? I do, and everyone else on this board who has shot guns for 5 or more years.
Please understand it is not the gun reprocusion/sound but are ignorance of it's damageing affects in earlier times!
Buy the "BEST", hear the rest!
Changeling
 

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Keep in mind the context of the orginal post - hunting. When at the range, I use both plugs and muffs. I too, have lost hearing because of past ignorance.

FYI: While the Sonic Valves used to be little aluminium (sp?) valves, North is saying there are now diaphrams. Perhaps this addresses the high pitched noise mentioned in an earlier post.

(Edited by twillis at 11:22 am on Dec. 27, 2001)
 

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Hearing Loss

Sonic Ear Valves, I and II apparently are still made by NORTON. I think the WalMart "North" is a cheap copy. I have found the real Norton product available on several web sites, the least expensive, $11.95/pair, at SAMASH.com, a music supply house. I found them by Googling Sonic Ear Valves. I have lost mine and was looking for a supplier to replace them.
 

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when i use a ported barrel/or brake system, i find the noise more intense than out of a nonported barrel because the blast is projected out and to the back.
i don't know if it is me or the way the brake and or compensator is desinged.
i used to have a 375win on a contender with a brake and the first deer i took with it left me deaf for about 12 hrs. or more
 

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Butchrx,

Welcome to the forum. Rules are to join in, be polite and not post anything our younger readers should not be exposed to.

I'm glad someone is still reading over and exploring old posts. This subject is an important one.

All barrel porting increases sound at the shooter's position. Only a straight conventional barrel tries to push the sound pressure away from the shooter. You could probably reduce it further by adding a gas expansion hood that is wide open at the end, since that would direct the gas forward while it's peak pressure drops further.

The general rule of thumb I've heard is that any hearing altering "event" that hasn't cleared within 24 hours has caused some degree of permanent damage.

The electronic muffs are used by a number of match shooters so they can hear range commands during shooting. I don't know if anyone makes a pair that are geared toward keeping ears warm in the field or not? My dad uses a low-profile set for rifle shooting because they don't bump into the stock when he lays his cheek up against it. The spring arms that hold these against his ears loop around behind his head rather than over top, so they don't interfere with his hat.

Give these kinds of ergonomics some consideration in buying hearing protection. You won't use what you find uncomfortable or awkward. I mostly use custom molded silicone ear plugs myself, but they do wear loose after awhile.
 

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Some observations on ear-canal devices:

My mother has used custom-molded ear-canal hearing aids for a decade. Their biggest liability is that the shape of one's ear canal changes. When this occurs, the seal, the effectiveness of the device, is severely reduced. Those who buy custom-molded ear-canal hearing aids have a significant recurring expense to get new ones fitted regularly -- say, every 18 months or so. My mother is spared this additional expense by renting her devices. Unfortunately, I am unaware of any similar rental possibilities for electronic on-ear or ear-canal noise suppressors.

Presently, I use non-electronic solid military issue (old, old miliary issue) ear-canal plugs that have multiple flanges for perfect canal sealing. I do not find them uncomfortable. These plus non-electronic shooting muffs provide as effective range protection as is available. But the arrangement is unsatisfactory for hunting.

Although I know of a few shooters who wear electronic muffs and brimmed hats (not caps) during hunting seasons, I seek an on-ear or ear-canal electronic noise suppressor whose fit is comparably generic with my G.I. plugs. Initial cost should be lower than for a custom-molded device, and the recurring expense of maintaining ear-canal's seal would be zero.

Are devices of this kind available?
 

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The molded plugs I use have no electronics. The people who make them usually have a space on Commercial Row at Camp Perry during the Nationals. I also had one pair done by a couple of gals at a gun show here. I forget the cost? $15-20, maybe. Nothing like hearing aids and not too expensive to replace every couple of seasons. Not useful for stalking, though, where you want to hear everything (if your ears still can).
 

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I'm glad I saw this, also.

I'm now retired and have no financial interest, but for 15 years, I was a provider of custom ear protection of all kinds.

ALL guns produce hearing damage with every shot, even 22s. Larger cartridges simply produce more damage. You may not notice the blast when hunting, but the damage is still there. Always.

The worst and only dangerous plugs on the market are the"ear valve" plugs, whether they use a valve or a diaphragm. NO such device supposedly powered by sound waves can be faster than sound (that's a duh! if you think about it), so the first, most powerful and most damaging sound wave HAS to get past such a valve/diaphragm BEFORE it closes. Blocking any subsequent but weaker sound waves may give the illusion that they are keeping out some sound, but NOT the damaging part. Result: such plugs are worthless and could be called dangerous.

Solid foam or rubber plugs are fine if they seal and are worn correctly. Note that if there is enough of a foam plug protruding for you to grasp, you are getting, at best, half the plug's rated suppression.

Muffs are not as good as plugs for pure suppression, but do allow you to double up with plugs underneath. The NRR or protection level is NOT additive - meaning a 21 muff and a 25 plug do not give you 46 dB of protection. It's closer to 27 or 28.

THE very best protection is from custom-fit solid plugs because they are made to fit you perfectly and are only comfortable when properly inserted. That leads to wearing them correctly. NRR values run from 28 to 31 which is better than average muffs with foam plugs together.

There is one suitable non-electronic option for hunting: filtered plugs. Filters are completely unlike valves or diaphragms because they have NO moving parts. They use the physics of sound waves to partially self-cancel the sound, and thus CAN protect you from the first big wave. Hocks Inc holds the patent, and the valves can be inserted in flanged rubber plugs or in custom-fit molded plugs.

Electronics are best, but discussing them takes a LOT more space than I can give here. You may go to www.earinc.com to learn more about any factor I've discussed, plus many more.
 

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Rocky Raab said:
. . . The NRR or protection level is NOT additive. . .
That's odd. dB are additive (or subtractive) in other gain and insertion loss networks. What is the explanation for the exception here? Could it be that the result is measured at the eardrum where the sound coming through the hearing protection is added to sound getting in through alternate paths; i.e., through the bones of the skull? That would certainly set a lower limit below which anything over the ears could not improve suppression further.
 
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