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Post by Sa-tevp on 11/26/2019, 8:35 pm

Having found I am not getting consistent protection from loud noise from David Clark Model 19A Mickey-Mouse ears and high -NRR foam ear plugs I have met with an audiologist for custom fit ear plugs and plan to try adding mass loaded vinyl matting to the headset to try to get better noise reduction.

David Clark Model 19A

David Clark Eyeglass Cushions

David Clark Gel Filled Ear Seals

The idea with the custom fit ear plugs is more consistent fit and noise reduction than foam ear plugs. I like the David Clark headsets for easy maintenance and large volume but would really like to get the highest noise reduction possible to keep from going to the audiologist for more expensive products like hearing aids.

Anyone have suggestions on other noise reduction strategies? I know there are some shooting sports specific hearing protection advertised but I notice they don't always offer OSHA type NRR sheets on their performance.
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Post by Aprilian on 11/27/2019, 7:54 am

My experience is mostly from riding motorcycles on track, but I have found it carries over into shooting.
Foam earplugs are better as the custom fit plugs can not adjust as your jaw moves.   Your audiologist is correct that molded are superior in the exact position they are cast but we don't spend our lives with our jaw held in exactly the same position as when the ear molds are cast.   Just like we help our ears "pop" by yawning, I can move my jaw on the bike and the volume of wind noise goes up (admittedly, high frequency behaves different than low).  If do the same experiment with the Hearos plugs I favor, I can not get any difference in sound.

You are likely inserting the foam plugs correctly, but many don't actually get them deep into the canal - rather resting them just barely into the canal.
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Post by Sa-tevp on 11/27/2019, 8:31 am

You bring up a good point but due to my experience trimming jet engines I learned early on to not only double-plug but to keep my mouth closed in loud environments and keep everything in one position. I got lucky and Personal Protective Equipment was in fashion when my career started. Even with good safety equipment at work and annual hearing tests I have ringing in my ears. (Maybe from getting my bell rung a few times?)

I'm trying to figure out how I can eak out the last few accessible -dBs I can.

The paper below has some useful information on ear plug use including the effect of insertion depth of foam earplugs:

U.S. Navy Flight Deck Hearing Protection Use Trends: Survey Results

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/423a/751fe4673aca4fa3c75c0a143cbb2a25ad05.pdf
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Post by Aprilian on 11/27/2019, 9:43 am

Sa-tevp wrote:The paper below has some useful information on ear plug use including the effect of insertion depth of foam earplugs:

U.S. Navy Flight Deck Hearing Protection Use Trends: Survey Results

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/423a/751fe4673aca4fa3c75c0a143cbb2a25ad05.pdf
US Navy Study wrote:only 7% inserted the earplugs deeply enough in both ears to achieve the maximum expected noise attenuation of 22 dB in both ears
Shocked
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Post by zanemoseley on 11/27/2019, 9:54 am

I can tell you this, if you use standard foam plugs and insert them deep enough occasionally its quite painful to remove, they create an air tight vacuum behind the plug which creates negative pressure when pulling out. Guess I'm in the 7% lol.

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Post by DA/SA on 11/27/2019, 9:59 am

I'm definitely in the 7% as I need to dig them out with my car key after shooting and can't hear a word anyone says when they are in. I use them and electronic muffs normally and just the muffs when shooting a match or I would never be able to hear the range commands.

I use the Howard Leight MAX foam plugs which are 33 NRR.

I roll them up into a small cylinder, lick them and slide them in, You can hear the world go away as they expand and seal up. It's almost eerie.

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Post by sbtzc on 11/27/2019, 10:22 am

Silicone Puddy Ear Plugs $4 at Walmart for 6.

"Snore Proof" they are not - just ask my wife.  Rolling Eyes

But they definitely block gunfire noise, especially when muffs are added.


Last edited by sbtzc on 11/27/2019, 1:16 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Aprilian on 11/27/2019, 10:39 am

zanemoseley wrote:I can tell you this, if you use standard foam plugs and insert them deep enough occasionally its quite painful to remove, they create an air tight vacuum behind the plug which creates negative pressure when pulling out. Guess I'm in the 7% lol.
if you can get your fingernails on them try twisting them first to break the seal before pulling them out.
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Post by james r chapman on 11/27/2019, 11:35 am

Car key!
Yep!!
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Post by DA/SA on 11/27/2019, 12:32 pm

james r chapman wrote:Car key!
Yep!!

I tried sneezing first...

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Post by STEVE SAMELAK on 11/27/2019, 2:50 pm

I prefer the soft plugs with the chords.
If I push them in too far I can retrieve them just by pulling the string instead of sneezing them out later.
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Post by Sa-tevp on 11/27/2019, 7:49 pm

My mass loaded vinyl sheet arrived today and I cut out replacement foam liners from it. The MLV has closed cell foam bonded to it so the the MLV is maybe 1/8"ish thick and the full thickness is about 3/8". The vinyl is kinda stiff so it was challenging to get the liners seated. 

I think it knocked a few dB off but needs some more testing. The new liner added about 3/4 pounds. Maybe it is like in racing where the blue stripes are faster.

As for foam earplugs I try to get them seated deep and let them expand while holding them in place as taught in PPE classes. I've had to use needle nose pliers a few times to remove some. For the ones with a cord I've pulled the cord off a few times too. The nice thing about where I work is there are boxes of different types of disposable ear plugs all over the work areas and the company even encourages employees to use them outside of work.
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Post by DA/SA on 11/27/2019, 8:13 pm

Sa-tevp wrote:I've had to use needle nose pliers a few times to remove some. 
There's an idea  Idea

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Post by Sa-tevp on 11/28/2019, 11:45 am

In testing last night using the wife and sons all said the hot rodded David Clarks were quieter than a comparison set of 3M H10A which claim -30dB.

Next step will be if custom ear plugs are more consistent than foam ear plugs.

Another question on hearing protection Model%2019AAnother question on hearing protection 093045979998_3M_h10a_earmuffs_class_5

Silynx has an interesting range of active noise reduction products: https://www.silynxcom.com/product-category/headset-systems/
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Post by -TT- on 11/29/2019, 9:50 am

Sa-tevp wrote:Next step will be if custom ear plugs are more consistent than foam ear plugs.

Be sure you find an experienced custom plug fitter, and IMO it is not necessarily an audiologist. The basic concept isn't very complex, but the fit inside the ear canal, and the "finish" of the surface are quite important in my experience. I've had several plugs made, and each is a bit different though all are very effective. I find that muffs are pretty much never needed, in fact.

Here's an example. When I had one set made, there was a little half-sheet questionnaire he asked me to fill out. Like, what color(s), whether I wanted strings, what type of anchors, what color strings. Then it asked "Can you wiggle your ears?". I checked yes and he asked me to demonstrate. He said I could wiggle quite a bit, and he made the ear canal part extra-long, saying I'd pop the seal if he didn't. And he was right, his stay sealed way better than my others did.

Also note, shotgunners and rifle shooters look for a different plug than pistol shooters. Ask.

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Post by Sa-tevp on 11/29/2019, 10:47 am

-TT- wrote:
Be sure you find an experienced custom plug fitter, and IMO it is not necessarily an audiologist. The basic concept isn't very complex, but the fit inside the ear canal, and the "finish" of the surface are quite important in my experience. I've had several plugs made, and each is a bit different though all are very effective. I find that muffs are pretty much never needed, in fact.
 
snip

Also note, shotgunners and rifle shooters look for a different plug than pistol shooters. Ask.

Some good info -TT-. There is a person offering custom fit ear plugs on the far side of Atlanta (http://premearhearing.com ) but that is a day trip so I found a local audiologist, a pleasant gentleman in his mid sixties or so, who said he had a lot of experience making impressions for https://www.espamerica.com/ , usually for shotgunners and pilots and liked their products. We discussed what I was looking for and he went over how he goes about getting the best impression he can for good results. I ordered the highest performing passive ear plugs. The audiologist joked that usually patients do not get out of his office as cheaply as I did.

You definitely got me pondering on different plugs for different shooting sports. All I could think of was cheek weld affecting fit but you said different plug. If you have some time could you expand on this?

Stephen
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Post by -TT- on 11/29/2019, 12:55 pm

Cheek weld is part of it, rifle shooters definitely do not want the outer surface to stand too far out where it might contact the stock. Also, the cheek weld pushes "up" below your ear, which can break the seal. I think the usual approach is to make it fit more tightly in the shooting ear.

Shotgunners hate strings as they get caught and yanked. Also, some shooters feel that the strings transmit additional noise into the ear.

Hunters want strings, but don't want them to be tightly attached because they will hurt if they get caught on brush or other gear. They make a kind of screw-in anchor for this, that can pop out in tight spots, and be fairly easily reinstalled.

Motorcyclists want super-flush plugs, which don't contact the helmet when putting it on.

To say nothing of the custom options for valves/vents, bluetooth, whatever.

Me, I got strings and fixed anchors, with fairly thick/fat outer profile. I then put the string into an old tradeshow lanyard along with a lanyard for my shooting glasses. Grab and go for pistol. Happy.

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Post by dannyboy on 11/30/2019, 7:16 am

I've been active duty Army for 13 years, no significant hearing loss from hearing tests, occasional tinnitus. When shooting I make sure I use foamies and muffs.

Using ear pro when driving HMMWVs, and mowing seems to help keep the hearing in good condition.

Brand of muff? I have used Peltor and Howard Leight. I like ones that are small and fit under my ACH advanced combat helmet, there are some good ear electronic ear pro. Being able to hear what's going on around me is important to me, though while shooting BE I don't want to hear conversations from 25 yards away.

The biggest thing is use them, I like the thin Oakley M-frame glasses since they don't break that much of the seal around the ear.

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Post by Sa-tevp on 12/7/2019, 4:58 pm

I got the custom ear plugs a few days ago and got to test the MLV lined headset and custom plugs at an indoor range. Kind of weird in that the 22 shots now sounded like I was underwater but I also stepped into the rifle bay and well, rifle indoor (with compensators too) is still too loud but the whole ensemble did seem to remove a bit of ouch from 40 cal rounds going off in a five bay range. I plan to try 357 in the ten bay range next.

Oh yeah, the groups for my USMC Pistol Team Workbook exercises for 22 tightened up a bit with the new hearing protection.  Wink
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