A few times a day, I am plagued by this loud “DING” that radiates in one ear, and sometimes both. That’s the joy of tinnitus, a condition that plagues what’s likely most veterans. There are a lot more severe injuries you can get from military service for sure, but if you can avoid tinnitus, I suggest it. If I had the Etymotic Research Gunsport Pro Earplugs, I might have avoided it.
I was an infantryman, specifically a machine gunner, so I spent a lot of time behind big and loud guns. Ear pro is a ‘requirement’ but often a hassle. Our issued ear pro gets lost on your first range, and those little orange squishies you’re given stay in for about five whole seconds on a dynamic range. These issued solutions also make it near impossible to hear your radio, the orders from your squad leader, instructions from RSO’s, and more.
Enter the Gunsport Pro Earplugs
Big electronic ear pro is a no go because of your helmet. So what do you do? Well, you can turn to the Etymotic Research Gunsport Pro Earplugs. These earplugs are designed to provide you crystal clear audio that amplifies noise around you while shutting down noises loud enough to be dangerous. Amplification of quiet noises is optional with a dual position switch.
The Gunsport Pro earplugs automatically detect loud noises and shut them off too fast for you to perceive. This blocks all gunshots, LAW rockets, demolitions, and more from giving you the curse of tinnitus. Between gunfights, you’ll be easily able to hear your radio, squad leader commands, and more. Your training will be more efficient, and Larry Vickers, a Delta force commando and now firearms instructor, has this to say about electronic hearing protection.
“It makes no sense to use hearing protection designed to eliminate as much sound as possible ( gunfire or range commands from the instructor you paid money to listen to) in a class. Attending the class without electronic ear protection is brain dead. It means you won’t be able to follow certain commands or absorb key training points, and you become a safety hazard to the rest of the class because you’re not on the same page of music as they are.“
The audio that comes through the Gunsport Pro earplugs is super clear. A lot of electronic hearing protection makes the audio around you sound like it’s underwater or coming from the mouth of a 1950s robot. The Gunsport Pro earplugs make it sound like a high definition speaker. It’s almost as clear as normal, unmolested hearing.
Comfort and Retention
While the main goal of the Gunsport Pro Earplugs is to preserve your hearing, they have a secondary goal of being comfortable. These earplugs come with a half dozen different options for earplug ports. These options allow you to find the right size for your ear canal, as well as the right shape. You can customize and fit the GunSport Pro to your individual ears and ensure you are motivated to keep wearing them.
Retention is another issue. Earplugs are far from useful if they fall out every time you sprint. When you properly fit these earplugs to your ears, you’ll not only have a more comfortable ear pro but ear pro that doesn’t move. The Gunsport Pro will stay put, and I’ve used them for tons of different types of training, including dynamic ranges. If you choose to use it, there is a tether to connect the too and improve retention once more. Tie them to your helmet, and you’ll never lose them.
The Gunsport Pro earplugs fit snug into my ears for almost every range trip I make. Over the last three years, I’ve used them extensively for plinking, skeet shooting, tactical training, and beyond. I even use them as I mow, or when I mill out 80% lowers, grind metal, and hammer nails to wood. These things seem to be near invincible. My only issue is the battery type degrades even when not in use. These batteries last ten days, so it’s wise to keep a few extras on hand.
If the batteries die, the good news is the Gunsport Pro earplugs will still act as hearing protection and keep your hearing nice and safe. The only difference is the loss of electronic hearing. You’re still protected, and the earplugs remain comfortable and fitted.
Take it from an old guy now, and you’ll want to preserve your hearing. I was a young buck at one point who was invincible too. I wish 31 year old me slapped 19 year old me and made him wear good earplugs. The M2 Machine gun is a loud beast. The Etymotic Research Gunsprot Pro might be the very best earplug option I’ve ever used.