If you shoot alone at a noisy indoor range, your hearing protection choice is easy. Stuff a pair of 25-cent foam plugs in your ears and cover them with a pair of $10 muffs. But most gun owners shoot with an instructor, friends, kids or a spouse. They want to hear what their ballistic BFFs are saying. That means active hearing protection.
ProSounds has some experience here. Their M-Series muffs do a great job of preserving your cochlea while letting you hear conversational tones between gun blasts. Their latest effort: the new H2P in-the-ear hearing protection. It’s active hearing protection in a smaller, more comfortable package.
The H2P’s come thoughtfully packed with a handy little zip case and a variety of tips. The foam plugs provide the most protection (30 dB rated). ProSounds includes silicon tips (25 dB NRR) as well as something they call a “tulip” tip that lets some ambient sounds in . . . not something likely to appeal to most shooters.
When it comes to shooters’ ear pro, there are three main considerations: 1) noise attenuation 2) comfort and 3) price.
With the foam tips installed, the H2P’s 30dB rating protects your hearing as well as any rental counter pair of plugs. As for noise attenuation, they’re all you’ll need for shooting outdoors. And if you’re hunting, they will magnify ambient sounds up to six times so you’ll hear Bambi before he hears you.
The electronics’ active compression reduces gun blasts over 85dB, blocking the damaging spikes while letting you hear normal levels of sound. Indoors, however, your mileage may vary. Until The Range at Austin opens, the closest indoor range to me is a concrete box that I won’t walk into without both internal and external ear pro. If your indoor venue is better designed, you may be good to go sans muffs.
The H2Ps run on standard hearing aid batteries you can pick up in any corner Walgreens. A tiny dial on each unit functions as an on-off switch and volume control. They’re easy to adjust with a finger or nail edge.
The H2P’s are perfectly contoured to fit your ears (they did mine, anyway). Compress the foam plugs, insert and forget. You can shoot all day without the slightest discomfort.
In-ear electronic options typically run about the cost of a case of .45 range ammo. The ProSounds H2P’s will set you back . . . wait for it . . . $299. Some shooters will consider the H2P’s a luxury they can do without. Not me.
Protection method: variable electronic
Noise Reduction Rating: 30 dB with foam tips
Levels: up to 6X amplification
Price: $299 via Indiegogo campaign, shipping in November
Ratings (out of five stars):
Design * * * * *
Extremely comfortable design, easy one-dial volume adjustment.
Comfort * * * * *
They’re obviously light weight, but their shape conforms nicely to your ear anatomy. You won’t have any trouble wearing them all day long.
Noise Reduction * * * *
Shooters will likely want to confine themselves to the foam tips. With these, you can comfortably shoot outdoors and talk to your friends between magazines. While the silicone options are super-comfortable, they provide less protection.
Overall * * * *
Top-notch in-ear active hearing protection doesn’t come cheap. The ProSounds H2P’s are an ultra-comfortable solution that lets you shoot without the sweaty ears and longer-term discomfort of over-the-ear electronic muffs. The sound quality could be a little better, but the H2P’s give you the ability to hear — or even enhance — the non-damaging sounds around you while you enjoy your favorite eine kleine bang bang music.