You could buy a new 870 for the price of these tiny hearing-protection devices. But being able to hear your grandkids is probably more important than having another shotgun to pass down. With my future kids’ kids in mind, I ran SoundGear’s high-dollar, In-The-Canal system for the better part of a year, on the skeet field and in the duck blind. They’re the lightest, smallest dynamic digital hearing protection on the market. And while they fit and work great while shooting clays, the background sound amplification is maddening while hunting—the rustle of wind against leaves, waves against shore, or the crackle of Velcro on your hunting buddy’s gloves isn’t something you want in high-def surround sound.
Suppresses noise at 93dB, 25bB NRR; includes multiple silicone ear sleeves, batteries, cleaning brush, and a nice case; $400, soundgearhearing.com
So comfortable you’ll forget they’re in your ear. And they do a great job of suppressing gun reports. Out of the wind and weather, the sound amplification feature lets you carry on a conversation without you or your buddies having to shout.
They’re expensive—even when compared to other in-ear electronic protection. Battery life runs about 8 hours, so you’ll need to stock up on hearing-aide batteries.
The Bottom Line
If there’s perfect electronic ear protection for hunting, I haven’t found it. But for the rifle range or clay shooting, you can’t find a smaller or more comfortable in-ear system. I have it on good authority, too, that custom-molded fit options will be available soon. SoundGear is also rolling out a lanyard system, so it will be harder to loose your tiny, electronic investment.