Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Product Review - Caldwell Emax Low Profile Hearing Protection

I absolutely hate in-the-ear hearing protection.  They're not comfortable to me, and I just can't use them if I want to speak to someone or hear what they're saying.  Yes, they're ubiquitous and cheap, but they're just not for me.

This past spring, I decided to take the plunge and get a pair of electronic earmuffs for shooting and high noise work.

Caldwell Emax Low Profile Earmuffs
Photo from Midway, USA website

I pretty much stumbled on electronic earmuffs by accident.   A friend of mine had an older pair and seemed to really like his.  I thought for $30 a pair, I could get these and try them out to see if a more expensive pair was worth the time.  I bought a pair of the EMax Low Profile Earmuffs and took them to the range.  After trying them, I've bought another pair for use when working with Girlie Bear or a new shooter at the range.  Their comfort and aid in hearing while wearing ear protection makes a huge difference over plain earmuffs or foam earplugs.

These electronic earmuffs feature a microphone on each ear, an adjustable headband, and a volume control that takes the sound from normal to very amplified depending on your needs and preferences.  One advantage I saw about these over some of the other models I've looked at is that access to the two AAA batteries is through a compartment on the outside of the earmuffs.  Other models required taking the cushion and internal electronics out in order to access the batteries.  The over-the-head band extends far enough that I could wear these comfortably over a hat and still place them securely over my ears.

There is a bit of hiss that is quite noticeable in a low-noise environment, but isn't distracting.  They cut off the microphones quite well when hearing a loud noise such as gunfire or a chainsaw motor, with little to no delay before going silent.  I have worn these doing yard work, at the Knob Creek machine gun shoot, to the range, and to the Lucky Gunner shoot with no ringing in my ears or other hearing issues afterwards.

I also wear these earmuffs when I'm out at Fort Knox doing volunteer work as a role player, and they have done an excellent job both in keeping my hearing safe from flash bang grenades and other nearby explosions and in staying on my head while I'm running and jumping around.  I cannot say the same about the Peltor earmuffs that are stocked at the range for role players.

One quibble with these is that since the padded cups are covered in plastic, you will sweat underneath them, necessitating taking a break occasionally to wipe them out.  However, the covering makes for an excellent seal between the cups and your skin.  Also, the vinyl covering has no cracking or deforming after several months of regular wear in both hot and cold conditions.

Overall, I'd say that these electronic earmuffs are a good value for someone who is a recreational shooter or needs good hearing protection while working around noise sources that cut in and out.  The sound quality from the microphones and speakers is good, and the ability to talk at a normal tone on the range and still hear is great.

Disclaimer - I received nothing for this review.  I paid for the product myself.


pax said...


Good review.

Make them last a little longer by always storing them with a little dessicant pack in the ear cups. Moisture (such as from sweaty ears on warm days) is the biggest killer of these types of muffs.

Laura said...

Chris bought 2 pair for Christmas 2 years ago. fantastic, inexpensive investment.

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