Ear Protection for Trapshooting: Solutions for a Risky Hobby

Ear Protection for Trapshooting: Solutions for a Risky Hobby

Noise is probably the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about clay target shooting, as it is a popular and very loud recreational activity. No wonder, since it is recommended that shoot operators include a noise buffer zone between the shooting area and any neighbours that might be affected by the noise.

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In A Hurry? - Trapshooting

If require the Best Hearing Protection for this item, and do not want to read the entire article, below are my recommended ear protection.

Which are the best Ear Protection For Trapshooting?

For Trapshooting, the best ear plugs are Pro Ears - Pro 300 - Electronic Hearing Protection and Amplification.

However, this will depend on several things. If you use them a lot, for example, if it is your principal job, or perhaps just minor use. Also, if you want to use these ear plugs for other things, like listen to music, or Answer Your Phone.

There are earplug options available, for example: Convenient Fitting, Noise Reduction Rating (NRR), Long-Lasting, Flexibility, and if you want earplugs or headphones. As you can see, there is a lot in picking the best fit.

consider wearing ear protection

If you enjoy trap shooting or clay target shooting in general as a hobby, you may want to consider wearing ear protection for trap shooting, since the noise levels can reach a maximum level similar to other shooting ranges. I remember reading about an old saying that stuck with me over the years, for it was very telling about how dangerous trap shooting can be for your hearing: “You can tell an old trap shooter, but you can’t tell him much.”

Just as other competitive shooting activities, such as skeet shooting, trap shooting is one of the many loud hobbies that might result in hearing damage, mostly because people are not aware of the importance of ear protection during leisure activities involving firearms.

noise level of 150 decibels

Trapshooting is typically shot with a 12-gauge shotgun, which can reach a whooping noise level of 150 decibels. This kind of noise is extremely dangerous and even short exposure to sounds between 120 and 150 decibels can cause hearing loss.

Some may use smaller gauge firearms, such as 16, 20 or 28 gauge, but it does not make much of a difference in terms of dangerous noise levels, since a 22 pistol or rifle, for example, can also reach a noise level of 140 decibels, which is close to double the recommended safe noise exposure level of maximum 85 decibels.

If you still do not think you need hearing protection, remember that a normal conversation reaches a humble 60 decibels, and a loud concert usually peaks at 100 decibels, and that is pretty loud even for someone who enjoys live music. Keeping that in mind, imagine adding 50 more decibels (half of a live music concert) of noise and bring them close to your ears, then repeat that for up to 1400 times, which is how many shots are made during trapshooting competitions.

Do you still think your ears are safe from irreparable damage? And since you can find an ear protector on the market that is both comfortable and allows you to hear everything around you, except the shots, you really have no excuse for not protecting your ears while enjoying your favourite hobby.

Noises When Trapshooting

The following infographic shows a list of the various noises when you are out and about. Any noise over 70-80db over a long period of time may cause damage to your hearing. A noise of over 120dB may cuase immediate harm to your ears

Why You Need Ear Protection for Trap Shooting

If all sounds above 85 decibels expose you to potential ear damage, according to experts, being exposed to only one gunshot without wearing hearing protectors equals one week of working in constructions or other noisy work environments in terms of exposure to dangerous noise levels.

If you are one of the many trap shooting fans that enjoy this sport hobby frequently, you end up being exposed to many shotgun blasts. Many trapshooting enthusiasts report shooting up to as many as 1400 rounds per week during competitions, or a total of 20.000 targets in one year, so you can imagine the damage that it can do to your ears in time. That damage is multiplied by being close to other trap shooting aficionados that show up at the range.

Luckily, it is a standard practice in any trapshooting club to require wearing eye and ear protection.

What Type of Ear Protection Is Best for Trap Shooting?

You may hear stories about cotton buds being shoved in the shooter’s ears for protection, but the truth is that they bring little to no benefit when it comes to preventing hearing loss from trap shooting.

Responsible trap shooters use either electronic noise reduction muffs, which may be a little uncomfortable if you also want to wear headgear or mouldable earplugs. Of course, you can also opt for disposable foam plugs or earplugs manufactured from other materials, based on your needs. If you choose earmuffs for trap shooting, make sure that the rubber strip attaches to the skin around your ear, so that it acts as a seal against excessive noise.

When looking for the best ear protectors for trap shooting, make sure you verify the product’s NRR or Noise Reduction Rating, which will tell you if the earmuffs or earplugs are right for your hobby. Figuring out how much noise reduction you need is simple.

Start by subtracting 85, which is the recommended safe noise exposure level, from 150 (this is the noise level registered when using a 12-gauge shotgun). The result will show you by how many decibels should the noise level be reduced to avoid hearing damage during trap shooting sessions.

As a rule of thumb, a bigger Noise Reduction Rating is better for environments with a higher noise level. Effective earmuffs should have an NRR of around 30, while earplugs can reach a Noise Reduction Rating of 33.

If you feel that trapshooting is still too loud, remember that you can use both earmuffs and earplugs to get additional noise protection. Two pairs of hearing protectors with a high NRR can raise the noise reduction level with up to 10 decibels.

Benefits of Wearing Ear Protection for Trap shooting

Besides helping you avoid ear damage and hearing loss, wearing protection for trap shooting also helps you block out the surrounding noise and concentrate on the targets when you shoot.

There is also the option of using electronic amplifying earplugs that suppress the sound of a shot, but allow the shooter to hear other sounds, such as people talking around them, or understanding what the scores are during shooting. This way, if you worry about not being able to carry on normal conversations while protecting your hearing, wearing amplified earplugs whenever you are close to the shooting line is a convenient option.

Besides avoiding long term hearing loss from practising trap shooting, wearing ear protection can protect you from tinnitus, an auditory issue that gives you the impression that you are hearing a phantom noise when, in fact, there is no external sound source generating it.

Please Note: Just because an ear defender is marked, for example, "Gunshot" - it will still cover other things, like "explosions"

Best Ear Plugs - Trapshooting

The following are the best earplugs  (They go from low price to high price.)

Other Questions

Do you need ear protection for shooting?

Yes, for shooting you do need ear protection. It is important to wear ear protection while shooting because the weapons can create noise louder than 170dB that could end up damaging your ears. For human ears, the tolerable noise level is 70dB. Anything over 85dB is too noisy and can lead to hearing loss or other difficulties with the hearing.

There are now several different forms of hearing aid available on the market that are specially made for shooters, such as earplugs, earmuffs, and earmolds. Ear protection suppresses the noise level and also reduced the echo produced by firearms making it safe for your ears.

Are earplugs or earmuffs better for shooting?

Both earplugs and earmuffs help provide ear protection. In order to achieve the optimal result, earplugs and earmuffs can be used together when shooting, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Earplugs, however, offer greater protection than earmuffs, since earplugs are able to seal the ear canal entirely, resulting in improved hearing protection.

Silicon and foam earplugs are considered a safe option for hunters or police officers, among the various available types of earplugs.

What hearing protection do professional shooters use?

There are many kinds of ear protection available in the market and shooters choose the hearing protection depending upon the kind of noise level they are being exposed to. Earplugs are generally more comfortable and easy to use because they are made of foam and silicon. Earmuffs can be electronic and passive.

Passive earmuffs have foam and other material in the ear cup which blocks the sound while electronic earmuffs have microphones in them which pick up quieter sounds and the amplifier which makes it easier to hear the low sounds in your surroundings.

awesafe Electronic Shooting Earmuffs, Shooting Hearing Protection with...
  • Design Idea: This shooting earmuffs is designed to suppress shooting noise and protect hearing. We adopt more advanced internal chip and softer ear pads after studying the current problems of earmuffs on the market. These shooting earmuffs are designed with stereo sound which makes sound heard through internal amplifiers more stereo, realistic and clear and the comfortable ear pads provide pefect shooting experience.
  • Noise Reduction Rating 23db: Please turn on the volume control button to enable electronic noise reduction when you shooting, hunting or in a noise enviroment to keep you stay under the regular sound or slight sound enviroment to protect your hearing. The volume control button is designed to adjust the amplification effection based on your needs to adapt to different occasions(Most of noise cancelling earmuffs have no such amplification function)
  • High Quality Material: We use high quality material to make it looks more elegant and perfect, it is made durable, not easy to damage.The body of earmuffs is made by fully sealed which can provide better noise reduction. Only high-end earmuffs could make it happen.
  • Professinal Electronic Shooting earmuffs Manufactuer: We produce this kind of electronic hearing protection shooting earmuffs all the time, we have been tried to provide the most cost-effective product and service to all the customers, you will find a lot of advantages of our products comparing with other shooting hearing protection products.
  • 2 Years Guarantee: We stand by the quality of our shooting earmuffs and are glad to provide 2 years warranty at no additional cost. With millions of electronic shooting earmuffs being sold across the world, you can trust awesafe as the leader in quality and service!
Pro Ears - Pro 300 - Electronic Hearing Protection and Amplification -...
  • The Pro 300 has a highly versatile cup - rifles, shotguns, pistols or handguns - indoors outdoors
  • Ideal electronic ear muffs for competition shooters, hunters, sporting clays trap & skeet enthusiasts
  • Exclusive DLSC Compression Technology allows the user to hear all commands clearly when indoors or outdoors
  • Comfortable Proform Leather ears seals don't crack or sweat like vinyl
  • Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is 26

Last update on 2021-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

References - Trapshooting

If you require more information, please check these references

Sound Attenuation Performance of Fiber-reinforced Polymer Composite Circumaural Hearing Protection Devices , article, "scholarcommons.usf.edu", retrieved on, Mon 16-November-2020

Shooting Sporting Clays , article, "books.google.co.uk", retrieved on, Mon 16-November-2020

Learning to Shoot , article, "www.jstor.org", retrieved on, Mon 16-November-2020

Author: Nick

Hi, I am Nick, and I have suffered with ear problems my whole life, mainly tinnitus. I have tried a lot of products to help protect my ears over this period, and several devices to block out the constant ringing

“Are you having problems hearing? If so, those around you already know it. Hearing loss is no laughing matter, so don’t be a punchline.”

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