We are giving away one set of Etymotic GunSport-Pro electronic earplugs. Entry is free to all users – as with all giveaways on THR it is up to the participant to insure that the product is legal in his or her area, though I’m not aware of any restrictions on hearing protection.
What is this?
This is a pair of electronic earplugs. Conceptually these are the same thing as the amplified earmuffs you have probably used, except they are much smaller. These are essentially the same size as all earplugs (military issue shown in comparison below,) but with the capability of the larger amplified earmuffs.
So what am I going to get if I win?
Included in the package is the hard case containing the earplugs and neck cord, batteries, an assortment of eartips, and a cleaning tool.
What if I don’t win?
If you enter and don’t win you’ll receive a discount code good for xx% off your purchase.
These are really straightforward.
First, you’ll need to insert the batteries. The battery compartment slides open and the battery is inserted flat side up:
Once you’ve inserted the batteries in both earplugs, insert them in your ears. By default you’ll be in what Etymotic calls “Automatic Hearing Protection + Blast Protection Mode,” which in my experience means the mode most similar to walking around without hearing protection on. Some tonal ranges seem a bit muted, but not nearly as bad as you would expect with non-electronic earplugs. After a couple of minutes using them everything seems natural, and there is some amplification going on, but not enough to really be noticeable.
Flip the level shown above up and you’ll get amplified hearing, similar to what you’re used to with amplified earmuffs with the volume turned most of the way up. The only difference is that it’s either enabled or not – there’s no dial to control sensitivity like you’re probably used to.
So, how well do they work?
Shockingly well. I can’t come up with a scenario where I would choose any of my legacy hearing protection over these.
I used these while running a chainsaw, installing cabinets, and while shooting and in each case they just worked. That sounds boring, but ambient sound came across as normal, and loud noises were well handled. Overall these are simply outstanding.
I found the eartips that came installed on the earplugs to be very comfortable – wearing the plugs for extended periods offered no discomfort. There are a half-dozen other options though, so everyone ought to be able to find something that’s comfortable.
The only criticism I have is this: the batteries. Zinc-air batteries are used, and these last about 9 days after you peel the backing off the battery to install it. I think it’s fair to say you will get about a week’s worth of use out of each pair of batteries. The good news is that if you shop around replacement batteries can be had for $0.25 each.