Eyes and ears are always the rule at most shooting ranges but not necessarily in the field. Hunters have often ignored the great advice by doctors, friends and family to use hearing protection to protect their hearing. Most individual hunters want to hear naturally the sounds around them when they are hunting. I tried several different forms of ear protection and a great number of them drove me absolutely crazy in the high winds of Nebraska. They just could not produce a real life sound without increasing the sound of wind in my ears and blocking out everything around. After meeting with the team at ESP, I decided to try out a pair of the Electronic Shooters Protection APEX in ear sound protection. I chose these specifically because of the dynamic wind noise suppression for our big game and upland hunting in the Midwest.
Why Hunters Need Hearing Protection
I was one of those hunters who never used hearing protection in the field until I took a trip abroad to video tape a hunt for a friend. He brought along a 300 Win Mag with a muzzle break, and I was filming his hunts. Every time he shot his rifle, I would get a ringing sound in my ears. It didn’t help that I was always standing right beside him working to get the best angle of footage for the camera and his muzzle break was probably kicking out decibels above 150db. Shotguns, rifles and pistols can produce sound levels between 120db and 160db depending on the load, barrel and muzzle breaks or porting for gases. At these numbers, you can do permanent damage to your ears and reduce your ability to hear over time. Today’s hearing protection can often provide an amplification of sounds to help you hear more sounds whether that is the squirrels sneaking under your deer stand, the ducks in flight, the pheasant cackle or the gobblers drumming behind you.
We got to test these out during spring turkey season in some pretty heavy winds in both eastern and western Nebraska. We also tested them at range day for POMA and this last week sighting in the new Henry 45/70. It was outstanding to be able to converse with our friends at range day without having to constantly remove our hearing protection from our ears whether in the duck blind, on the range or in the field.
Why we chose the ESP APEX?
As we stated above, the first and primary reason we choose the APEX from Electronic Shooters Protection (ESP) is that they produce one of the best premium digital hearing protection devices on the market and the only one with serious dynamic wind noise suppression. This is critical here in midwest windy states like Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota where we do a lot of our hunting. We like having the ability to hear those around us and hear game come in. During turkey season we could still hear far off gobblers in sustained 10 to 15 mile an hour winds. The ESP system comes with a pair of the ESP APEX as well as a user guide, batteries, a cleaning tool, a rigid case and a one year repair warranty and your original impressions. Batteries last for about 300 hours and the units give you a low battery warning.
- 100% Digital Quality
- Custom Fit
- Basic Auto Environmental Controls
- Noise Reduction Circuits
- Patented Wind Noise Reduction
- P2i Waterproof Nano-Coating
- Custom Programming
- Rotary Volume Control
- Omnidirectional Mic
- Advanced Compression Circuitry
- Advanced Feedback Control
- +/- 25 dB Passive Noise Reduction Rating
- Internal Wax Trap
- Low Battery Indicator
- Made in the USA
How to Get Order your own ESP’s?
We delayed getting these for almost 5 months during Covid-19 as we could not get in to see an audiologist. Once we did get an appointment it took less than an hour to get in, have a hearing test and get molds made. The hearing test was not required but was well worth it because I now have a baseline number for my hearing and I can watch it every few years just to make sure that my hearing continues to be in good shape. The mold process and taking ear impressions was incredibly easy. I sat in a chair and they injected a foam into my ear. The world got very quiet for about five minutes while the foam set up. The audiologist then pulled out each impression, cleaned them off, marked them, and gave me a box for shipping them out. I was in and out of the office in just under an hour. Once you get the impressions you just ship them to ESP along with your payment, and your product arrives quickly back. I found the service to be exceptional. I also liked that I had tremendous options in regards to the colors and I could make the devices my own. I found once these were in my ears they could stay in all day.
Almost all ESP’s take a size 13 battery unless you have exceptionally small ears. These batteries can be picked up at pharmacies, Walmart, CVS or Walgreens or online at Amazon. The ESP’s are coated in P2i Aridion nano-coating technology which allows water to bead up and roll away from your ears. The volume control is simple to figure out and turn off the units. I recommend taking the battery out of these at the end of each day just to keep them fresh and allow any moisture to dry out of these units. These come with a simple cleaning device to clear out the ear wax trap which I promptly lost walking across a corn field. It was in my hand one second in the dark and then gone the next. I have ordered a replacement.
I ordered my hearing protection in black and orange which matches quite a few of the tools that I have for hunting. I would pick colors that are bright and will stand out if you drop them on the ground, bright colors that are not going to blend in at least for the part that goes into your ear. I would choose a different outside external color for each ear so you can clearly see which one goes in your left ear and your right ear.
We found the Electronic Shooters Protection APEX to be the best hearing protection we have used in windy conditions and the best we have used for in-ear protection, period. These are an investment in your hearing protection. They are not a cheap investment, but they are backed up with a quality warranty, a great team at ESP and they are made in America with quality you can expect to work day after day in the field. These are the great in the blind and will be a part of our kit for years to come.