Electronic Ear Muff Question


BillG174

New member
I have a question about the gunshot sound attenuation with Electronic Ear Muffs when used at an indoor range.

I purchased Howard Leight Impact Pro electronic muffs with a NRR of 30 dB for $64 and I was not happy with the way the muff "clamped" the sound of gunshots. I turned up the volume just enough to hear conversations around me and when people fired their guns the electronic muffs in my opinion did not do a good job of shutting the gun fire sound out. When I turned the volume (electronics) OFF the sound attenuation was good just like a passive non-electronic muff. I returned them for a refund.

Yesterday I purchased Pro Ears Mag Gold electronics muffs with a NRR of 33 dB for $230. These muffs are supposed to be the best available. I tried them tonight at my range and I have the same issue with these - I am not happy with the way the muff "clamped" the sound of gunshots. When I turned the volume (electronics) OFF the sound attenuation was good just like a passive non-electronic muff.

On both units when the guns fired I could still hear the shots echo in the muff ear pieces.

The range officers at my range have both Peltor and Howard Leight electronic muff and they love them with no issues.

The Amazon user reviews for the Peltor, Howard Leight and Ear Pro's rave about how good they are at clamping and shutting out the gunshots and how satisfied they are.

My question - do electronic ear muffs cut off the sound from gun fire so you can't hear the gun fire just as if you are wearing passive non-electronic ear protection.

I don't understand why all the user reviews says these units are great but I find them not acceptable.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 

bofh

Banned
My question - do electronic ear muffs cut off the sound from gun fire so you can't hear the gun fire just as if you are wearing passive non-electronic ear protection.

Yes. What else did you expect?

Edit: To clarify my post, the electronic amplification goes immediately on mute when there is a gun shot and stays on mute for a short while. So, good "electronic ear muffs cut off the sound from gun fire so you can't hear the gun fire just as if you are wearing passive non-electronic ear protection." If your electronic ear muffs did not mute at all, they aren't working correctly. Now, the echo from a gun shot is a different story. Once the echo noise is below a certain level, the electronic ear muffs come back on and you will hear the rest of the echo.
 

CapGun

New member
I have the Pro Ears Gold Mag. Big difference between something at $69 vs $230. Not sure what you mean clamp.I can still hear gunshot but it is brought down to safe levels. Indoor the sound will be more pronounced. Two tips. 1) Make sure they are seated correctly and not interrupted by your shooting glasses. 2) When shooting a rifle you might want to use ear plugs underneath your electronics in case your cheek weld sets your electronics ajar.
 

BillG174

New member
Yes. What else did you expect?

Edit: To clarify my post, the electronic amplification goes immediately on mute when there is a gun shot and stays on mute for a short while. So, good "electronic ear muffs cut off the sound from gun fire so you can't hear the gun fire just as if you are wearing passive non-electronic ear protection." If your electronic ear muffs did not mute at all, they aren't working correctly. Now, the echo from a gun shot is a different story. Once the echo noise is below a certain level, the electronic ear muffs come back on and you will hear the rest of the echo.

You ask "what to I expect?" I expect the electronic muff to totally shut off the incoming gun fire sound so the muff acts like a passive muff. I will call Pro Ears tomorrow and talk to their tech support people.
 

BillG174

New member
I have the Pro Ears Gold Mag. Big difference between something at $69 vs $230. Not sure what you mean clamp.I can still hear gunshot but it is brought down to safe levels. Indoor the sound will be more pronounced. Two tips. 1) Make sure they are seated correctly and not interrupted by your shooting glasses. 2) When shooting a rifle you might want to use ear plugs underneath your electronics in case your cheek weld sets your electronics ajar.


You mention with your Pro Ears Mag which is the model I have that you can still hear the gunshot sound but it is brought down to a safe level. When I wear a NNR 30 dB passive non-electronic muff the gunshot sound is significantly muffled. When I wear the Pro Ears Mag I can still hear the gunshot sound probably at a lower level but it is not totally muffled as with the passive ear muff. Is this the difference between how a passive and electronic ear muff works?
 

CapGun

New member
You ask "what to I expect?" I expect the electronic muff to totally shut off the incoming gun fire sound so the muff acts like a passive muff. I will call Pro Ears tomorrow and talk to their tech support people.

Let us/me know what they say. BTW I don't think a passive muff totally eliminates the sound. I was wrong once but it was about being wrong once!
 

bofh

Banned
I have Link Removed with an NRR of 25 and I am happy with them. Indoors, I am turning the volume down to about 1/3 due to the indoor gun shot echo. I still can understand people well. Outdoors, I am dialing up the level to 2/3 to be able to hear more ambient noise.

You can test your ear muffs by clapping your hands. At a certain noise level, they should just mute for a second.
 

CapGun

New member
You mention with your Pro Ears Mag which is the model I have that you can still hear the gunshot sound but it is brought down to a safe level. When I wear a NNR 30 dB passive non-electronic muff the gunshot sound is significantly muffled. When I wear the Pro Ears Mag I can still hear the gunshot sound probably at a lower level but it is not totally muffled as with the passive ear muff. Is this the difference between how a passive and electronic ear muff works?

I would think it is in the physics of how the two different methods work. The electronic ear protections attenuates the sound, well, electronically. Reduces the decibel level, how? I left the electronic engineering class that day with this really cute girl. She was sooo oops never mind.
Glad you are calling tech tomorrow because I was going to. You have been volunteered to report back with a better explanation.
 

bofh

Banned
I would think it is in the physics of how the two different methods work. The electronic ear protections attenuates the sound, well, electronically. Reduces the decibel level, how? I left the electronic engineering class that day with this really cute girl. She was sooo oops never mind.
Glad you are calling tech tomorrow because I was going to. You have been volunteered to report back with a better explanation.

It is my understanding that electronic shooting ear muffs do not perform active noise cancellation. The hearing protection entirely comes from the passive part of the ear muff. To permit hearing exterior sound, the electronic picks up the exterior sound using a microphone and directs it into the ear muff using a small loudspeaker. When the exterior sound becomes too loud, such as due to a gunshot, the loudspeaker is automatically muted until the exterior sound levels off and a certain safety delay (usually 1s) has passed. Multiple gunshots will (and should) mute the loudspeaker for a while.

In contrast, Bose headphones (not suitable for shooting), have active noise cancellation and don't need all that bulky passive hearing protection. Its electronic also picks up the exterior sound using a microphone and directs it into the ear muff using a small loudspeaker. However, the sound is processed to recreate the muffling effect and inverted to cause noise cancellation: HowStuffWorks "How Noise-canceling Headphones Work".

Reading from Link Removed, it looks like the Pro Ears Mag does not perform active noise cancellation. Instead, the exterior sound of a gunshot is actively muted with a reaction time of 1.5 milliseconds. I am not sure how long the safety delay is. It could be really short, leading to the effect of hearing a lot of the indoor gunshot echo.

Note that active impulse hearing noise cancellation for shooting ear muffs would require to recreate and invert the muffed shooting noise that is heard with the normal passive ear muff, all in realtime. I don't think that has been invented yet. I could be wrong as well.
 

wolf_fire

New member
My electronic muffs will impart noise cancelling once a noise of 85dB or higher occurs. I have found that I got better noise cancellation from an insert ear plug. So what I have done is use the foam inserts, put my electronic muffs on, and then turn up the volume. I can hear conversations well but the noise reduction is wonderful using both in tandem. Hope my "trick" works as well for you as it does for me.
 

BillG174

New member
OP:

Thank you for all of your comments and thoughts to my question. I called Pro Ear this morning and asked their tech support people about how the gun fire sound is attenuated in their electronic muffs. She explained (as many of you also said) that I will still hear the gun fire sound in the ear muff but is has been reduced to a "safe" sound level. I asked her specifically if the gun fire sound would be reduced to the same level as when I have the volume controls turned to the OFF position - she said no, I will still hear the gun fire sound reduced to a safe level.

When I purchased the Howard Leights and now the Pro Ears I did not understand this and how an electronic ear muff is suppose to operated with gun fire sounds.

I would rather wear a passive non-electronic ear protection and not be able to hear (as well) the voice conversations around me. I am returning the Pro Ears today for a refund.

Thanks again for all of the comments and thoughts.
 

CapGun

New member
OP:

Thank you for all of your comments and thoughts to my question. I called Pro Ear this morning and asked their tech support people about how the gun fire sound is attenuated in their electronic muffs. She explained (as many of you also said) that I will still hear the gun fire sound in the ear muff but is has been reduced to a "safe" sound level. I asked her specifically if the gun fire sound would be reduced to the same level as when I have the volume controls turned to the OFF position - she said no, I will still hear the gun fire sound reduced to a safe level.

When I purchased the Howard Leights and now the Pro Ears I did not understand this and how an electronic ear muff is suppose to operated with gun fire sounds.

I would rather wear a passive non-electronic ear protection and not be able to hear (as well) the voice conversations around me. I am returning the Pro Ears today for a refund.

Thanks again for all of the comments and thoughts.

First thank you for posting what you learned. Second DON"T DO IT! The electronic ears will be better for you if you decide to take any firearm courses that includes live fire. It will enable you to hear the instructor or in case of emergency the range officer.
 

BillG174

New member
First thank you for posting what you learned. Second DON"T DO IT! The electronic ears will be better for you if you decide to take any firearm courses that includes live fire. It will enable you to hear the instructor or in case of emergency the range officer.

CapGun, thank you for your post and your recommendation. I have not sent the Pro Ears back yet. I will take them to the range a couple more times to try them out.

Bill
 

Dave AA

New member
as both explained, with the electronics turned off they function just as any other earmuff. the microphones and speakers are in there so you can hear sounds below a harmful level like speaking or movement.
When a loud enough noise is detected, they shut off so for that split second no sound is being sent to the speakers in the headset, and it's acting just like a regular set of earmuffs. note I said no sound is being sent to the speakers in the headset, sound from the gunshot is still there outside the earmuffs, being blocked by the insulation/padding of the earmuffs. no shooting ear protection that I know of is active noise cancelling, and I don't think I'd want one. a speaker capable of actively silencing a close range gunshot would also be capable of blowing your eardrum to smithereens. active noise cancelling is sending energy to cancel energy.

electronic muffs are purely for enhanced hearing, not FURTHER reducing gunshots/noise. if that were the case they would be a heckuva a lot smaller. if you want quieter in the earmuffs, you can always put in earplugs, then the muffs, and turn up the volume to hear speech and ambient noise

btw, I have Pro-Ears as well, one is a promag model, this one here: Link Removed that might help you if you still think yours are too loud, when I use them indoors they are quieter. it's at least 15 years old, has seen heavy use, and still works perfectly! well, the cool raised lettering logo wore off, but I can live with that. :wink: not very suitable for long guns though, so if you're only going to have only one pair I'd stick with the one you have and use plugs under them if they get too loud for you with indoor/large caliber use (unless ofc you only use them with handguns, then ask pro-ears if you can trade it in on a pro-mag model hee hee)

those are your options to make them quieter for the most part, plugs or a bigger earmuff like the promag model. it sounds silly, as in "why did I pay all this money and they sound like my $40 muffs when I shoot?" well, you're not paying for them to be quieter than a non-electronic set, you're paying for the ability to hear and talk normally with them on. like capgun said, this makes rangetime a LOT more fun, and it's almost critical if you take any live fire training courses. what good is the instructor if you can't hear him. as a side note, it's hilarious to listen to people around you when they think you can't hear them :laugh: I like my promags, a couple of the cheaper ones had so/so electronics and only fair to poor sound dampening. so I second the don't send them back, they're working fine, you just thought they would act like active noise cancelling. it's easy to mix up especially with the bazillion "noise cancelling" headphones out there for music/bluetooth/mp3 players etc.ect. These aren't those. you'd go deaf pretty quick using those, they have no passive sound dampening to speak of and nowhere near the power to "cancel out" even a part of a gunshot. oh that reminds me, promags have an input jack for audio too, if you wanna listen to tunes while blasting hah!

Good luck and enjoy the earmuffs!
 

r1derbike

New member
My electronic muffs will impart noise cancelling once a noise of 85dB or higher occurs. I have found that I got better noise cancellation from an insert ear plug. So what I have done is use the foam inserts, put my electronic muffs on, and then turn up the volume. I can hear conversations well but the noise reduction is wonderful using both in tandem. Hope my "trick" works as well for you as it does for me.
^^^this^^^
 

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