Ear Protection Done Right by Kevin Michalowski, October 7, 2019
Are you using your ear protection properly? You might be surprised by what I recently learned. This episode brings you a critical range-safety tip that, according to industry insiders, the vast majority of shooters are doing completely wrong.
The offending action is something so simple most people don’t think about it: the insertion of foam earplugs.
According to Josh Lantz, a representative of the Howard Leight company — makers of all sorts of ear and eye protection, foam earplugs provide the best hearing protection … but only if used properly. You can’t just shove them in your ears and hope for the best.
To properly insert a foam earplug, you must first roll it into as small a cylinder as you can. Really squeeze it down. Then reach over the top of your head and pull your ear up and back a bit to open the ear canal. Insert the plug fully into the ear canal and hold it there for about 15 seconds as it expands.
The key to knowing it’s done right? When talking to someone wearing foam earplugs, you should not be able to see the plugs. If any part is sticking out of the ear, that person won’t get maximum protection.
Hearing loss is cumulative and permanent. The hearing you lose today will never come back. Protect yourself while training by using good ear protection — and by using it properly.
Yes, Foam Is Best! But…
While foam earplugs provide the best hearing protection, some people find them uncomfortable to wear and don’t like that you have to nearly shout to be heard on the range. Earmuffs and electronic muffs work well without sticking things into your ears, but can you get a really good cheek weld when shooting a rifle while wearing them? Yes. Just like everything else, the choice among several good options is yours and yours alone. Use what works for you. Just remember to use it correctly.