What’d ‘Ya Say Partner?

Ear Protection is Important!
How to be “Ear Safe” in Moments
Hear more When Not Shooting

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A group of us outdoor hunting friends from all around the Midwest get together every year and this time we went on a turkey hunting trip to Parsons, Kansas, this past spring. I’m not sure it was not the most important trip of my short six-decade long hunting career. I learned how to protect my ears and at the same time, learned how to hear game coming from an even longer distance away.

It happened at a friendly local shooting range.

There I met up with a humble, technically oriented guy, Lance Kraemer, from Starkey Hearing Technologies. He was demonstrating a new hearing protection device by SoundGear for hunters and shooters, so I just had to try one, especially since he had an extra unit in his truck. It came in a protective case and was an easy, instant fit for my ear canal.

The fit was nearly perfect, though it is adjustable with other provided components in the case and it was so small. One cool thing about these, literally, is that I was able to dump my earmuffs and that ring of earmuff sweat all around my head and face was gone. Another cool thing is that they actually amplify sound when no shooting is going on. You can hear game walking in from a distance a bit better. How about that?

The device that fits into your ear is battery bowered by tiny cells that last about 5-6 hours. They’re cheap, so no matter there. The devices are quite discreet, it’s almost hard to tell you have them on and above all, I can hear those guys down at the other end of the range when they think I’m not hitting enough targets. Good for the clubhouse!

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They work for handgun, rifle or shotgun sounds, and I even wear them archery hunting now that I have my own pair, just for the amplification. They make me more aware that way and I’m totally protected from the loud, explosive sounds of shooting a firearm. Cooler than cool.

The technical jargon for them is formidable: They suppress noise at 93dB (25dB NRR), also allowing 15dB of sound gain. Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is a unit of measurement used to determine the effectiveness of hearing protection devices to decrease sound exposure, classified by their potential to reduce noise in decibels (dB). As such, after looking into it, they have been tested and approved by the American National Standards (ANSI) in accordance with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

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I started to feel like a certified cartridge discharge expert.

Another thing I really like about their parent company and design folks is that Starkey Hearing Technologies is the only privately held, American-owned company in the hearing industry. Go USA! Been feeling a little Olympic these days.

The little protective case holds a lot of things and they are convenient to retrieve while they are all safely shielded from carrying damage or from loss in your pocket. What’s in there is quite a lot, including: one (1) pair of SoundGear electronic hearing protection devices, two (2) pairs of orange silicone sleeves – (1) small (1) large; two pairs of black silicone sleeves – (1) small (1) large; two (2) packs of batteries (Size 10); one (1) cleaning brush; and a 30-day risk free trial, backed above hat with a 1-year worry-free repair warranty.

After my friends have tried these, they will never shoot without them again. I think that says it all.

After that day hunting gobblers in Kansas, we could not call in a turkey close enough to take a shot, but one thing for sure is that me and my nationally famous hunting partner, Thayne Smith, could really hear each other very well. You know, we were in the confines of a “gotta-be-quiet” blind in southeastern Kansas, whispering all day long. Was fun.

We had a great time because we didn’t miss a word that either of us shared. Including those little “Zzzzzz” sounds that happened up once in a while.

For more on this ear protection, visit: https://www.soundgearhearing.com/.