Proper Fit Determines Ear Protection Effectiveness

Ear protection is imperative in many sports and occupations but for them to work properly they have to fit the individual

There is a multitude of ear protection products and brands on the market. So many that consumers often find it difficult to choose which one is right for them. In the recreational market, you want something that is comfortable and does not interfere with what you are doing. Most importantly, they need to be effective and in this case, we often mistake higher price tags for better quality.

Proper ear protection differs from person to person; what fits on one individual may not fit on another and price is not a valid factor in picking what is right for you. “Price doesn’t always mean that the more you pay for something that it’s better. The critical thing is that ear protection has to fit and be worn properly at the time of the exposure,” says audiologist and CEO of E.A.R. Inc., Garry G. Gordon.

Hearing protection should never be ignored when hunting or shooting. Sound waves above 85-90 decibels can be damaging. The sound waves generated from a simple .22-cal. rifle can be as high as 140 decibels, depending on the length of the cartridge, to gain a perspective. Simple disposable earplugs are an inexpensive, but often uncomfortable, sound suppressor for low caliber weapons.

However, you have to wear them correctly. “With the disposables, if you get them in your ear properly, they do work. But a lot of times you see people wearing earplugs that are sticking halfway out,” says Gordon. Laboratory testing data can produce a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 30-31, but this assumes you get them in properly.

If you do not, tinnitus or ringing of the ears and hearing loss can be the result. If they are uncomfortable, try on a few of the more expensive types for a comfortable, effective fit. What ever the cost it will be less than the thousand of dollars it costs for a set of hearing aids.


Hearing Protection Store ( sells a variety of protective devices whether you are looking for secure earmuffs or the most advanced electronic ear protection available. Life is noisy. We want to make sure you can enjoy all it has to offer without sacrificing something as important as your hearing.

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