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Monday, October 15, 2018

Range Allies Custom Hearing Protection


Gene and I had been using electronic ear muffs for years, but we decided it was finally time to break free. We had found Sharon from Range Allies on social media and we knew it was fate when we happened to be working the same shooting conference earlier this year. Range Allies is an authorized provider for E.A.R., Inc. which offers several custom ear plug options from basic form fitted ear plugs all the way up to high end electronic plugs. Sharon has been trained on how to fit a product she creates from start to finish or to fit a product with a laboratory impression for the lab to create. She also has been trained on how to recognize a healthy vs unhealthy ear in order to proceed and have a successful fit with the molding process. With her training background we knew our hearing was safe in her hands.

The first decision we had to make was to choose which type of plugs we were going to get. We aren't rich (we wish), so we skipped the electronic plugs and opted for plugs with filters that would allow us to be able to hear more than the basic custom plug. The filters were important to us since we are safety officers and we needed to be able to hear without sacrificing hearing protection.

Once we chose the type of plugs we wanted, the next step was the fun part...choosing a color. I mean, I am a girl, so that was a little tricky because they have so many colors to choose from. I wanted something with a little bling that would also match our shooting jerseys, so I opted for red glitter. Gene went patriotic and chose red, white, and blue. He definitely couldn't go wrong with that, GO USA!

Once Sharon checked our ears out to make sure they were good to go, she mixed up the product and injected it into our ears. We were not allowed to talk for 10 minutes while the product formed and for anyone that knows me, that is a hard feat to accomplish. Luckily, we were both able to make it through that process with flying colors. Since we both chose filters, our ear plugs were sent off to the lab to have the filters installed.

We waited patiently for the plugs to be finished and were super excited when they finally got delivered. Of course, we tried them out at the house. No way we could wait until we got to the range. It took just a minute to figure out how to put them in our ears, but of course now we are pros. I mean these plugs are super comfy and they look great! I can't believe we waited so long to get some custom plugs made.
Since the moment we started using these, we haven't looked back. With these plugs, we can hear range commands and hold a conversation. The plugs protect our ears from the loud gunfire which is obviously the most important part. I suffer from migraines that are generally triggered by loud noises and since using these plugs they have greatly reduced the headaches! Keep in mind that our plugs are not electronic, so we can't hear quite as clearly as we used to, but we can hear more than enough without sacrificing safety. Also, since we always wear a GoPro Session to capture first person video, wearing ear plugs keeps one extra gadget off the top of our heads. Gene always complained that the "muff" type of hearing protection made his ears sweat so he loves wearing his custom plugs because of how comfortable they are.

Sharon fits a lot of people with custom plugs that do various types of shooting and a lot of people choose the non-filtered versions so she has been anxious to see how the dual stage filtered plugs work with the type of shooting we do. Since we shoot 3 gun, 2 gun and IDPA we do a lot of shooting next to barricades and sometimes in confined areas with extremely loud rifles it was going to be interesting to see how these plugs worked with that much noise reflecting off of the walls and barricades. We can honestly say that they work as well (if not better) than ear muff styled hearing protection that we have used.

The benefits of these custom ear plugs are numerous. They offer a custom fit, replaceable filters, custom colors and they have a removable lanyard for ease of use. I prefer using mine without the lanyard and Gene prefers his with the lanyard. They come in a handy plastic case to make them easy to pack in our range bag and the case has an area where you can write your contact info on in case you lose them. Another huge benefit is that they are very low profile as they sit flush with the inner part of your ear. If you have ever shouldered a rifle or shotgun quickly and accidentally bumped your muff style hearing protection and knocked them slightly off of your ear and then you take that first shot, well, you know the importance of these being low profiled!

We are super happy with our decision to have these custom plugs made by Sharon at Range Allies and have really enjoyed using them.

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