Recently I was invited to the Ridgeline factory in Westcliffe, Colorado to meet the staff and see just what makes the ProEars Electronic ear muffs the very best in hearing protection. Protaras technology was first developed 16 years ago by CEO Dan Nigro, who while shooting competitively, began experiencing hearing loss even while consistently wearing the available hearing protection. He knew he could find a better way and Ridgeline’s ProEars Dimension Plus is most definitely the better way.
According to several sources, approximately twenty-eight to forty million Americans have a hearing impairment. Ten million Americans have suffered irreversible, noise-induced hearing loss and thirty million more are exposed to dangerous noise levels each day.
What defines a dangerous noise level is the number of decibels or dB that is measured. There is a scientific formula for figuring decibel levels, but we can take a look at our own daily lives to determine our hearing loss chances. Those of us from the era of loud, hard rock concerts already have a pretty good idea of what hearing loss feels like but many of us have no idea what we subject ourselves and our families to each day. Normal human conversation is approximately 60-70 decibels and is not loud enough to cause hearing damage. Listening to the radio, or iPod earphones at the standard volume level of 5, the sound generated can reach a level of 100 dB which is loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage after listening only 15 minutes per day. I know some MP3 players at my house that are going to disappear!
Other levels that may surprise you are leaf blowers, chainsaws, and rock concerts measure approximately 110 dB, while jackhammers and ambulances rate 120db.
Where all of us who are hunting and shooting need to wake up is this little fact, gunshots depending on whatever weapon you choose to reach decibel levels of 140-190 dB and can cause immediate hearing damage. How many of us have gone to sight in a rifle for deer season, forgotten ear protection but shot anyway thinking it wouldn’t hurt ‘just this once’? Many times we can see children at shooting events being exposed to permanent hearing loss, just by watching their siblings or young shooters themselves not being able to properly fit earplugs into their ear canals. Poking your fingers into your ears is not hearing protection.
There are many types of hearing protection items on the market so we need to define what sets Pro Ears Dimension Plus apart from the rest.
First is Pro Ears off the world’s only DLSC™ Technology (Dynamic Level Sound Compression) which, in less than 1.5 millisecond compresses any noise volume over 70 dB down to less than 50% while simultaneously raising all other lower sounds to 70 dB. What this amazing technology does is protect your hearing while also allowing you to actually hear low volume sounds such as normal conversation, at the same time! Other hearing protection muffs on the market use what is called Automatic Level Control or Peak Clipping technology. Automatic Level Control reacts to a high noise level by simply lowering the volume of the unit so the loud sound is reduced but still covers the lower sound. Peak Clipping simply turns the amplification off when the noise level reaches a set decibel level.
Only Ridgeline’s DLSC™ technology protects your hearing while at the same time allows you to hear lower sounds such as conversation or environmental sounds. Basically you will hear even quiet sounds in a normal comfortable range while you are completely protected from the dangerous, high volume noise.
Law enforcement officers and military units find these muffs especially helpful in times of engagement as they can amplify the sounds in their environment to communicate with each other while at the same time being protected. Hunters appreciate being able to hear each other as well as those small breaking twigs, while they track their animals. How nice it is to be able to turn the volume up in the unit to hear even a whisper like it is a normal tone of voice.
I think it is particularly important for young shooters to be able to hear directions clearly while on shooting ranges and these units enable them to do just that.
The Pro Ears Dimension Plus also features independent electronics in each ear cup. This eliminates wires from one side to the other and also allows you to customize the amplification level in each ear to cater to your specific hearing needs.
Pro Ears Dimension Plus units are extremely comfortable and feature what they call ProForm Leather Ear Seals. This special material is soft, comfortable and because it isn’t a plastic or vinyl material like the other makers use, it won’t cause you to sweat under it. I wore sunglasses for most of the day while I was hunting and the ear seals combined with the adjustable padded headband made it seem like I was not wearing anything on my head. They were so light and comfortable I actually forgot I was wearing them. They are soft and pliable fitting completely over the ear and unlike earplugs, Pro Ears Dimension Plus muffs help alleviate the sound vibrations transmitted through facial bones.
Several times I have shown my Pro Ears Dimension Plus to the men and women I meet and each one has been very impressed with the sound quality and protection offered. My husband wore them while he was with his friends sighting in rifles for hunting season. This would not be so unusual but my Pro Ears Dimension Plus muffs are bright, hot PINK! Ladies if you are interested in having pink muffs for yourself, contact your nearest retail store featuring Pro Ears, and they can order them for you for a few dollars more than the regular price. Ridgeline is considering adding pink Pro Ears to their regular line so ladies, give them some encouragement! If you are getting pink Pro Ears with the thought of scaring your husband away from them though, I hope you have better luck than I did.
My experience with Pro Ears and the fine American company that makes them was very special. They are the ONLY electronic hearing protection/amplification product made in the USA and for me that is just one more reason to buy Pro Ears. Ridgeline makes a fabulous product that has more technological features than any of their competition and they back their product with an industry-leading 5-year warranty and I am proud that such a quality company is right in my own backyard here in Colorado.