Paw of Approval

After the somewhat … interesting … events of last years Opening Day of Dove Season (three catfish, eight crappie, and several stray bluegill) I didn’t venture forth into the fields this Labour Day.

Partly, I think, this is a bit of a reaction to a lifetime of shooting. When I first started shooting at about age 10, I was using a .22 rifle and the adults who were shepherding me didn’t think that a .22 rifle required hearing protection — and hearing protection was never used while hunting.

Matter-of-fact, it wasn’t until I joined the Army at 18 that I regularly used hearing protection at all.

Now that I am in my fourth decade, I have become conscious of how much hearing I have lost over the years — and I miss it. To the point that I am rabidly protective of the little hearing that I do have left.

Trouble is, hearing protection and hunting just don’t quite go together. Trust me, nothing gets you the odd looks quite like hunting the Southwest Texas desert with a .30-30 and a pair of blue plastic earplugs sticking out of your head.


Anyhoo, this weekend I picked up a set of Radians Inner-Ears on sale, and when Corky and Reno called to ask if I wanted to go blasting dove, I decided this was a good time to test them out.

I walked about playing bird-dog while they hunted that evening and I am happy to report that the Radians seem to do exactly as they advertise.

Road noise from several miles away was easily heard, as was whirring of air over dove wings and a truck-stop burrito making it’s way through Corky’s gut.

Wind noise could be a bit of a problem if you turned so that the wind hit the units, but some creative positioning took care of that quite nicely.

The important part, though, was that gunfire was muffled.

I do believe that hunting is back on the list of activities.

Radians Inner-Ears get the LawDog Paw of Approval.


Smile, Mr. Orwell
Embrace the suck

14 thoughts on “Paw of Approval”

  1. Road noise from several miles away was easily heard, as was whirring of air over dove wings and a truck-stop burrito making it’s way through Corky’s gut.

    “Wind noise” indeed……

    I have noticed some hearing loss also…. kinda unavoidable with 10 years in the Field Artillery….. but I don’t think I’ll be using hearing protection for hunting….. it just seems wrong….

  2. I’m jealous of my hearing and since I did not begin shooting until I was nearly 18 and pretty much used indoor ranges exclusively, my hearing is pretty much intact. Except for the damage that resulted from working in a room for several years with a constantly running pump. The volume was well under the OSHA-mandated 85dB ceiling, but I’m convinced that some loss did occur. I have trouble hearing my wife’s voice if there is any sort of white noise going. You laugh, but it’s honestly a problem.

    So, I took George Hill’s advice and recently purchased a set of Howard Leight electronic hearing protectors. They’re for my daughter, who is sensitive to any firearm noise above .22 levels even while wearing 31dB ear protection. If they work her her, I’ll probably get a couple more pairs.

  3. Wind noise–are they feeding back then? And are the units analog or digital? It’s extremely important, and wind noise feeding back is classic with analog ones. I know; I started wearing hearing aids at 27, 22 years ago, with analog ones (since that’s all there was then) that fed back a lot. I changed audiologists and the new one took my test results over to Stanford University to ask around. Turns out the analogs had cost me a nice large chunk of hearing permanently in the 4-6kHz range, right in the middle of speech.

    The newer digital hearing aids, on the other hand, when they feed back, it’s very much suppressed and not a threat to the ears. Now it’s not something that everybody else in the room can hear.

    Said the woman with the now-severe-to-profound hearing loss who just bought $6400 worth of new hearing aids last week to get more pitch-perfect sound, and no, insurance doesn’t cover it, but they’re so worth it.

  4. Wow. Cool! Now, can they be adjusted to exclude the rumblings of truck-stop burritos?

  5. I’ve been using the Caldwell electronic muffs at the range for several months now. The are great for young folks and new shooters because they can hear instructions but they cut out whenever there is gunfire.

    I’ve never found shotgun hunting (dove/quail/pheasant) to be a problem though. A shotgun is maybe 14,000 PSI, most of the noise is directed away from the shooter, and it’s fairly far away. Usually it’s the other shooters who are the issue.

  6. Silencers FTW – not only do they protect your hearing, but they are great flash suppressors and recoil reducers.

    Beware though, once you start down that road, it will forever dominate your pocketbook – at least until you have a silencer for every single gun you own. /sigh

    Lots of fun though – especially suppressed .22lr – very very quiet. Very amusing when the noise from the bolt moving is greater than the noise from the gun shot.

    Good for hunting also – can shoot a deer without panicing all of the other ones in the local area.

  7. Another big risk to hearing that many people ignore or are ignorant of is ipods. Prolonged exposure can cause as much damage as gun shots. ENT docs are expecting a whole generation of people with hearing problems as gen X/Y/etc ages and the effect of thousands of hours of music are seen.

  8. I haven’t lost as much hearing as you seem to, but I definitely sympathize. I’ve lost enough that I notice it and I’ve become a bit paranoid about guarding my hearing.

    I get a few odd looks when people ride by and see me mowing the lawn with muffs on my head. I use muffs because I like to listen to the radio or my ipod while doing yard work, and they fit nicely over a set of earbuds.

  9. WHAT? Yeah, between poor taste in music, never wearing earplugs for hunting (or most target shooting, for that matter), and a certain, shall we say, carelessness with fireworks (I'm lucky to still have all my fingers & both eyes…) has left me with some fairly bad hearing loss. Saves me a bundle on home & car stereo equipment, though. Don't need the latest Dolby 5.x surround sound rig, since I can't hear the fine differences anymore over the constant ringing.

  10. LawDog, do you know what the noise reduction rating is for those? Most foam earplugs are in the 25-30 range, with muffs coming in under that. I’m curious to see how those inner-ears rate, but I can’t find the information anywhere.

  11. I can sympathize with those readers with hearing loss – mine came not from shooting (although I don’t think that we ever used muffs back in the 70’s at came while shooting those .22 single shot rifles…) but from 10 years of motorcycling without ear plugs. Who knew that could damage hearing? Certainly I didn’t. 🙁 And now I’m paying for it.

    Which is why whenever I use power equipment (mower, leaf blower, belt sander – whatever!) I wear muffs… and i tend to to wear plugs AND muffs when shooting. I’d rather not lose what I’ve got left.

  12. Hearing loss from percussion noise
    looks like a rhino horn on the hearing charts. It's instantly recognizeable. Mine is from shooting and being around explosions without plugs or muffs-who knew?-except I did chew up toilet paper and stuff it in my ears on occasion.
    My audiologist down at the super dooper Scott & White Clinic and Hospital (kudos to the medical side, but NOT to the business side of things), says that he's getting kids in as young as 5 years old, deafened from their parents' boom boxes, total bass stereos and such.
    It's not just smoking around kids that damages them.
    There is nothing in the world more irritating, both to speaker and listener as deafness. By the time you've said "What?" three times and still can't hear, you just give up.
    S & W wants to fit me up with these things that look like bugs' antennae. No, I don't think so. For one thing, they're now nearly $4000; for another, I don't want to go around looking like an ant.
    But, never fear. In this youth-oriented world, when enough kids go deaf, someone will invent a hearing implant that's cheap enough for Welfare to pay for it, and then us oldsters can take advantage of it.

  13. I’ve used the Radians for a couple of years, now. I am very impressed.

    My history with ear protection is similar to yours, except even the Army didn’t pay attention to it when I was in their clutches.

    Ears and eyes; you might have two of each, but you can’t spare even one of them.


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