By Dave Workman
Custom-molded hearing protection is not really new, but a pair of “earplugs” that can be molded at home is rather special in my opinion, and the “percussive filter” devices from Decibullz are impressive.
Tipped off to these things earlier in the summer, I got hold of a kit which included detailed instructions people can understand, complete with artwork that is not confusing. There’s even an online video at http://www.decibullz.com/instructions showing the step-by-step procedure.
I did a little homework in preparation for the fitting and evaluation. The research and development that went into producing the Decibullz took just over one year. Online preordering began following this year’s Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, and officially went on sale in April.
What came in the kit were a set of Decibullz Thermo-fit molds, a bonus set of molds to use for practice, or to have a spare set, or maybe just to give to a friend or family member. Also were the percussive filters, which are the heart of these little gadgets, three sets each of black foam tips, orange flange silicone tips and a small zippered case that fits in a shirt pocket.
Following the instructions to the letter, I dropped the molds into a pan of boiling water after removing it from the stove, and allowed them to soak for five minutes. It’s important to remove the percussive filter elements from each mold before dropping them in the hot water.
Remove the warm molds from the water after 30 seconds using a spoon. Let them cool a few seconds and then stick the mold into your ear with either the foam plug or flange tip attached.
This is where the fun starts. Using finger tips — but not your fingernails — you simply press and shape the now-softened mold material into the ears. It feels a little funny at first, but the result is an effective noise filter that is a snap to insert and take out.
I tried them out with a trio of different handguns — .22 Long Rifle, .45 Colt and .41 Magnum. A lifetime of experience has convinced me the .22 can be just as irritating to an unprotected ear as a bigger boomer. I wore them on a grouse hunt and was able to hear things going on around me without having my eardrums blasted into the atmosphere at the sound of a gunshot. If you’re on a range, insert the Decbullz units into each ear and then don a set of earmuffs. Bingo, your hearing is secure.
The filters block up to 166 dB, so while the magnum nudges that mark, the noise is muffled.
There’s something else worth noting: The earpieces are washable, although you need to pull out the filters before tossing them in soap and water
For more info: www.gunsmagazine.com/company/decibullz