Save Hearing & Hear Everything!

by Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey shares how he protects his hearing and hears deer and turkey long before seeing them.
Yours truly suffers from a condition known as tinnitus. Quite simply put, tinnitus is "ringing in the ears". Tinnitus is a common ailment among war vets, factory workers, musicians, avid hunters and shooters. My condition is more pronounced in quiet areas, such as a room in your house with no one present and no TV or radio noise. However, with lots of noise present, you would hardly know there is a problem. 

Is there a cure? Not really. Some companies might argue this suggesting there are some new experiments taking place, but the bottom line is "it is damage that cannot be repaired". Fortunately, I recently found a device that will prevent any further hearing damage, while at the same time assisting during my hunting excursions. This product is called ProEars. (Note: I do not work for the company.)

A Colorado company named RidgeLine makes ProEars. RidgeLine claims that "Harmful noise levels are kept to within 70 dB, while sounds below 70 dB are amplified up to 8X normal hearing so every sound is heard even at great distances". 

I couldn't tell you the exact stats, but I can assure you that they work. I wore them for eight hours one day in cold weather. As well as being fairly comfortable, they helped to keep my ears warm. 

Another feature is independent volume controls with no connecting wires. You can adjust the amplification levels of each earpiece separately. The Dynamic Level Sound Compression (DLSC) protects hearing without shutting down the amplification system or blocking out other sounds. To check out all the stats on ProEars, go to their Website at www.Pro-Ears.com.

Shooting a Browning 270 Semi automatic rifle with the BOSS system caused my Tinnitus. The ballistic optimizing system on my 270 is ported. This system allows for the bullet to leave the barrel at roughly the same point of oscillation each time, cutting a grouping the size of a 50 cent piece, down to the size of a quarter. The problem is with the porting. 

The good news is the decrease in recoil, but the bad news is the sound is redirected and becomes louder. At first I didn't really notice the loudness of the gun, but after a few specific shooting situations, the noise caused my ears to flat line. The EEEEEEE sound would take a while to fade but eventually the sound is always with you, just not as evident as right after you pull the trigger. Browning has recently come out with a new piece that isn't ported. This cuts down the noise level, but brings back 15% of the recoil. It was Browning that was shocked to hear that I fire this gun without hearing protection. They informed me that the hearing protection doesn't mean that I wouldn't be able to hear the sounds of the wild, but not wanting to give up my 270 and its original features, my search led me to Pro Ears.

After purchasing the Sporting Clays model (DSC-1 with an NRR-20), which was recommended to me for hunting purposes, it was time to test them out. Every year I site my 270 in prior to opening day for the rifle season. 

This year instead of earplugs I had the ProEars on and was just a tad nervous, with all other sounds being amplified. However once the trigger was pulled, I was relieved to hear just a bit of a muffled sound of the rifle blast yet could still hear everything else clearly

The next test was to wear them all day for the opener of the deer-hunting season. The first morning was clear and crisp with a light breeze blowing the marsh hay. The breeze seemed much more pronounced with my ProEars on and the ravens cry brought my senses to full alert. The ProEars were keeping me fully in tune with my surroundings. 

This may have had a little to do with the excitement for opening day, but after four hours, I picked up on a new sound. It resembled a suction cup; possibly a deer hoof in the mud. 

A quick scan of the marsh, revealed a doe slipping across the top end. In a split second the cross hairs of my Tasco scope were on the doe and she was down. 

I took a young buck later that week, but the Pro Ears only factored in by preventing further ear damage on this kill. We were down to four hunters from six by Friday and three of the remaining four were packing up to head home. I decided to get in the boat to cross the lake for a morning hunt by myself. I told the owner of the camp when he was ready to head home to radio me and I would come back. With the wind out of the southwest, I chose a stand that made it impossible for me to be winded, unless the deer were swimming the lake. Minutes after settling in, I made a series of young buck grunts on my Lohman 1130 dial-a-tone. 

With the wind in my face and the ProEars turned on, I was almost certain that a buck responded to the call with his series of grunts. Quickly grabbing my Quaker Boy bleat-in-heat can, I switched to estrus doe bleats. A couple of hundred yards across the marsh, I spot movement; a few more doe bleats and he presents me with a standing broad side shot at 100 yards. 

Approximately ten minutes from the time I left camp, I called in and killed a young eight pointer. The following Monday had me on stand at another camp. Twenty minutes after setting up, I heard a loud snort; with the ProEars on I was able to detect the deer's relative location. Two hunters were approximately four hundred yards southwest of my location and the deer was in between us. With the wind out of the west, it is evident that the deer detected their location. Seeing an opportunity, I quickly switched to a social doe call on my Knight & Hale EZ doe bleat. This was in the hope of letting the deer know everything was okay over here. Within minutes movement was detected on the side hill 120 yards west of my setup. For 30 minutes the young buck held his position between two trees, allowing me very little movement as he kept staring in the direction of the calls. Finally when he looked away, 

I made an estrus doe bleat. When he stepped out from behind the trees to investigate further, the yearling buck was mine. 

Out of the four deer I took, the ProEars get an assist on three of them. During the five days of deer hunting, the ProEars were likely on my head for close to twenty hours and they were quite comfortable. They not only protected my hearing but enabled me to hear deer moving long before I saw them. 

Check out a pair of ProEars and do it before you end up with a case of tinnitus. I am looking forward to using them during the turkey season and bow season. Maybe the far off gobble you couldn't quite make out before will now be easily detected. Look for more information on ProEars at your favorite dealer or give RidgeLine a call at 719-783-4161 or eMail them at sales@Pro-Ears.com

P.S. I don't work for the company. 

Pro Ears Stalker

For more information please contact:

RidgeLine, Inc.
101 RidgeLine Dr.
Westcliffe, CO 81252
Phone 719-783-4161
Fax 719-783-4162
Dealers Only 800-891-3660
email: sales@Pro-Ears.com
On the web at www.Pro-Ears.com

RidgeLine, Inc.
101 RidgeLine Dr.
Westcliffe, CO 81252
Phone 719-783-4161
Fax 719-783-4162

Dealers Only 800-891-3660
Email: sales@Pro-Ears.com
Web site: www.Pro-Ears.com

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