No one wants to pay several hundred dollars for EarPro, no one wants to replace EarPro multiple times by buying cheap, and there is nothing better we have found than Electronic Ear Pro. How do you get the best of both worlds? Enter, the Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Ear Protection.
First, let us explain what the difference is in Electronic versus “regular” earpro. Generally speaking, standard ear protection reduces the amount of decibels that impact your eardrums so as not to injure or permanently damage your hearing from loud noises (read: many many gunshots). The most popular way of doing this is to block off the ear canal with either foam plugs or some sort of wadded material to prevent most sound from even entering. Kind of like putting your fingers in your ears but you can still use your hands. There are also headsets that are like earmuffs but specifically designed for noise reduction, they operate in a similar method but are far more comfortable for those that do not like stuff crammed in their ears.
Then there is electronic ear protection. These tend to operate in the same manner that the “earmuff” method does, by encapsulating the ear and reducing the overall decibels that can reach your hearing. The difference is that the electronic variety has circuitry, and microphone(s) with the ability to limit the decibels that can harm your ears in real time. So that means you can hear really good, actually better than your normal hearing, but when something goes bang, pop or crack at a high enough decibel level… it goes muffled and quiet. Very helpful when on a range with others, at a firearms training, or during any activity where you want loud noises drowned out and conversations to still take place.
There are several brands out there that have this type of hearing protection available. While all claim to be amazing there are differences in quality, battery life, ruggedness and especially price. The best we have found as a combination of all these factors is the Howard Leight Impact Sport EarPro. Widely available in most local shops and on many websites these are available for as little as $45. We have all had ours for more than 2 years at this point and they are still going strong. Mine personally have lived through 2 Shot Shows, countless reviews and filming days and many many firearms training courses and events.
Battery life is excellent as I roughly have to change the 2 AAA batteries that power the Howard Leight’s. The only issue with the power I have ever had is, when you are on the range all day long, the headsets automatically power down as a power saving feature to save your batteries in the event that you put them away without turning them off. Since this has happened to me several times and still had plenty of juice left to run them another day, it’s not really an issue, but worth mentioning for those that spend 8+ hours a day using Ear Protection. Still, far less annoying than the cost of batteries. Even if the power cuts out, you still have good noise reduction and the headset remains effective. Replacing the batteries is also way easier than equal or lesser priced EarPro.
Now, because these are electronic you have some cool feature benefits. One thing in particular we did not highlight in the video review is an auxiliary line in port. This can be used for anything from playing your music through your ear protection while you are using them, line into your phone or vox device for walkies and still maintain noise reduction from the outside world. You also get superhuman hearing when there are no loud noises present. When there is nothing loud enough to set off the protection, you can actually “turn up the volume” on your surroundings. You can hear people talking or whispering, you can hear twigs snap and feathers rustle and easily hear someone coming from a mile away.
The Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Ear Protection is very well built, and comfortable. You would not expect it, but wearing a headset for hours on end starts to take a toll on the top of your head and around your ears where sweat and filth builds up. These are more comfortable than most and due to their popularity have several aftermarket accessories available to bolster the cushioning and still look “tacti-cool.” The exposed lines are pretty darn rugged and snag resistant, coated in a heavy rubber overall and extra near the grommets where they reconnect to the earpieces and under the band.
I have had these knocked off my head, thrown, crushed under range and rifle bags (more times than I care to admit) and dropped and kicked on rocks and concrete.I think this is where the “Impact” comes from in the name. They are sturdy enough to take a beating but not so tough that they aren’t pliable and forgiving. All of us here at FourGuysGuns highly recommend the Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Ear Pro’s. Hearing protection is one of THE most important things you should invest in when it comes to shooting sports, whether you are an avid shooter or hunter, or even instructors, media or fan of whatever loud things you attend or do. Don’t skimp and get something “good enough.” At the price these are sold at, there are literally no excuses, unless that is, you like stuff crammed inside your ears.