Hunting – and shooting in general – is often a noisy affair! Wherever gunpowder and bullets are fired, there will also be noise and loud sounds. This summer I attended a hunting field shooting, and it was at this event that I got to test the new molded hearing protection for the first time.
A hunting field shoot is exciting and challenging – and it’s always fun to be tested at different shooting positions and distances. I’ve been looking forward to the day where we are divided into teams. I am followed around the large terrain together with 11 other shooters. We drive around between the different locations, but there’s also time for good conversations while we’re waiting to arrive. You need around 50 rounds of ammunition per shooter on a day like this – and not everyone has a silencer on their rifle. This means a lot of noise around the individual shots, and I can feel that it’s hard to stay focused all the time.
It’s a great pleasure to be able to wear my hearing protection in my ears all day without thinking about it!
We arrive at a course with two targets – a target and a wild boar, which are about 200 meters away. The shooting position for the boar is free-standing without any aids, and I can feel that I’m really challenged by the fact that there are many people around me who also have to prepare and fire shots. It’s hard for me to find the concentration to do my best.
Then I remember that there is an extra program in my new electronic hearing protection! I press the push button in both ears three times and I am now able to shut out everything but my own thoughts. There is peace for concentration and focus – and I send my shots off. The feeling inside about my shots is actually okay!
Everyone has finished shooting, and I press the little button on the hearing protection once again, and the sound of the people around me comes through clearly again – without having to take off the hearing protection.
We all go together and look at the placement of the shots to keep score. I’m satisfied – and I’m not sure I would have been able to place my shots as well if I hadn’t been able to find the calm to concentrate.
Hearing is one of our most important senses! Our hearing is always active – even when we sleep.
It works by picking up sound waves with the outer ear, which converts them into electrical impulses in the inner ear. From the inner ear, the impulses are sent to the brain, which processes the data so we can relate to it and act on it.
Being able to hear enables us to understand what other people are telling us, participate in conversations, understand information, react to danger signals, hear music and understand messages, among other things. When we can’t hear properly, it can significantly reduce our quality of life and make it difficult to participate in social situations.
Audiovox hearing protection is compact and discreet! So it’s easy to wear hearing protection and look smart at the same time.
It’s quite obvious to me that wearing hearing protection is important. The many stories of how a single shot can change your life from being hearing to not hearing has really been a big incentive for me to wear hearing protection. When I’m on a group hunt and more than half of the other shooters opt out of wearing hearing protection, I don’t really understand it. But when I ask, I’m met with comments like “oh, it’s no big deal” or “I’ve been a hunter for so many years and I still have my hearing” or “it’s just too much trouble with ear muffs”.
The two worst sentences I’ve heard are “I’ve been hunting so long without hearing protection that my hearing is already ruined” and “that’s nonsense”. But I’m not willing to take that risk myself!
Even though I may not need to wear hearing protection when I have a silencer on my rifle, I still wear them because they don’t bother me.
My hearing is so incredibly important, both when hunting and in nature in general. When I sit in nature, I can hear all the sounds of the forest. I listen to the buzzard’s cry over the field, the deer sneaking through the thicket, the fire crackling when the shelter is lit, or when I lie awake late at night and hear the owl in the forest a few hundred meters away from our house.
My hearing is also crucial in everything else I do, whether it’s learning, working or socializing. Even when my two grandchildren whisper secrets in my ear, or when the sound of music pours out of the speakers on a beautiful Saturday morning, I can’t imagine the loss of not being able to hear. And in addition to the things already mentioned, there is also the practicality of being able to hear when the car has a different and not quite right sound, or when I’m in traffic and there is danger.
In general, I think my hearing is so essential and crucial to my well-being and enjoyment of life that there is no excuse for not wearing hearing protection when hunting and at the shooting range – regardless of what others think! But wearing hearing protection should also be easy and comfortable!
One of the challenges with my Peltor SportTacs that I used last hunting season is that they hit the butt of my rifle.
The switch to molded hearing protection
This Saturday morning hunting field shooting is the first time I’ll be trying out my new active electronic hearing protection from Audiovox. It’s a good opportunity to try out a few of the different settings in the hearing protection, and it’s also a chance to feel what it’s like to wear them in my ears for a whole day.
Until I got Audiovox hearing protection, I used Peltor SportTac and I’ve been really happy with them. They fit snugly around my ears, they have good sound – I can hear everything that’s going on in my environment. I can have a conversation even if I’m wearing hearing protection, even if we’re whispering to each other when we’re sitting on a chaperone with the rifle. I can hear the birds singing, and I can also hear the animals coming through the brush on game drives. But I don’t find them practical. I sweat inside the tightly fitting ear muffs, they squeeze my glasses and deprive me of the opportunity to wear a hat or beanie. Especially if the ear muffs have to fit tightly to the ears.
The pressure on the temples of my glasses in particular means that wearing the hearing protection for a whole day is not optimal. That’s why I’ve been taking them on and off throughout the day – they take up space and aren’t very practical to carry around.
I also often find it annoying that the large ear defenders often hit the butt of the gun when I put my cheek to it, whether it’s a shotgun or a rifle.
Therefore, I’ve been very open to other options, and I was really happy when I got the opportunity to try out Audiovox’s active hearing protection. You can read my experience with them here.
A quiet moment in the woods is also possible. And with molded hearing protection, it’s possible to put on a hat or beanie without it being a challenge.
Audiovox Soundscope Pro-Tech- Ihunt
I use the word hearing protection over and over again. But in reality, molded earmuffs are simply amplifying hearing aids with built-in attenuation of harmful impulse noise.
I’ve now worn my new Soundscope Pro-tect iHunt from Audiovox for a full season on the range, and I’ve worn them while buck hunting, hunting in South Africa and through the fall/winter hunting season.
The earmuffs are wireless and weigh only a few grams each. They are stored in a small carrying case, making them easy to carry in your pocket or hunting backpack. They are simple to put on and easy to operate on the go.
The sound quality is great! It’s as simple as that. Conversational and nature sounds are great, and it’s easy to change the volume if needed. The directionality is also really good, I’m never in doubt where the sounds are coming from.
Comfort and fit are also really good, as they are individually molded for each person! At no point have I ever had to take off my hearing protection while hunting, whether it’s been on the shooting range, community hunts, driven hunts or stalking through the Kalahari desert.
Unlike when I used to wear ear muffs, I can now wear a hat or simply put on a warm beanie. It’s definitely an advantage to be free to choose the headgear I want on the day.
And of course, it’s also worth mentioning that there’s now nothing bumping against the stock when I load my shotgun and rifle.
No annoying cups from the hearing protection hitting the butt of my shotgun. It’s a pleasure to put your cheek to the gun.
And because the hearing protection is molded to my ears, I can wear them for many hours without them bothering, pressing or irritating my ear canal. Whether this is a truth with modifications may be an individual experience, but for me it is not. I’ve worn them throughout an entire day of field shooting, I’ve used them throughout all the seasons’ driven hunts and stand hunting with the rifle from morning to midday. In addition, I have also used them on long stalking hunts in South Africa without any heat or irritation issues. I have not been bothered by them in any way, but have been able to keep them in my ears without any problems.
With blue foam in your ears, you can get a little high in the head! Luckily, it doesn’t take many minutes for the molding to be completed.
The possibilities with Soundscope Pro-Tech Ihunt
It is possible to purchase a telecoil so that you can connect your hunting radio or smartphone to the hearing protection through it. The telecoil is worn around the neck and uses Bluetooth connectivity.
There are four programs on the ear defenders:
- Normal, which amplifies weaker sounds and at the same time shuts down when loud sounds – such as gunshots – are heard.
- Normal with bass control. Used for hearing loss for a clearer sound.
- Normal with speakerphone. Works as program 1, however, a telecoil can be connected for use with a hunting radio or smartphone.
- Without speakerphone with telecoil. Works well as a shooting program or for field shooting, as outside sound is blocked at all times. Telecoil can be used for the program.
You can easily switch between programs with a small push button on each earpiece, where there is also independent sound control on a rotary knob.
The battery life is relatively long and the batteries are easy to change.
The actual impression of the ears doesn’t take many minutes, but it’s a strange sensation to have blue foam filling the ear canals! From the impression, an accurate representation of your ear canals is now made via a 3-D scan with laser technology, and within a few weeks you will receive your personalized earmuffs in the mail.
The earmuffs are made of hard plastic and come in different colors, red for the right ear and blue for the left ear. This makes it easy to tell the difference. A small zippered carrying case is included so you can always put your earmuffs away safely – in the same place every time!
Extra wax filters are also included, which are easy to change as needed.
The small orange carrying case takes up little space and is an essential part of the hunting kit.
For me, the price is not important as such! Sure, it’s a bigger bag of money – but the cost to my hearing can’t be quantified in monetary terms. My best advice is to wear hearing protection no matter what – period! Buy a hearing protector that works – and then save up for a good quality molded hearing protector. The Soundscope Pro-tect iHunt from Audiovox has the quality I want and would be my choice again if I were to invest in good hearing protection!
They don’t take up much space… don’t weigh much… and don’t bother me. And with high quality sound and battery life, there’s pretty much nothing but positive things to say about the molded hearing protection from Audiovox.
- No wires to break or get tangled!
- Their size and weight make them easy to carry and hassle-free to wear in your ears.
- The battery life is long and doesn’t need to be changed very often.
- The earmuffs are shaped for the individual, so the fit is accurate.
- Easy operation of volume and programs.
- Telecoil so you can connect your hunting radio and smartphone.
- Small zippered carrying case with space for extra batteries and wax filters.
- They ARE small, so it’s important that you always put them in the carrying case when removing your hearing protection.
- Hunting radios must have Bluetooth to be used with a telecoil.