Electronic hearing protection—shielding the wearer against abrupt, loud noises while allowing low-decibel sounds to still be heard—represents a substantial, but typically expensive, step forward in sound attenuation technology. Otis Technology’s Ear Shield accomplishes comparable results in a unit that is trim, inexpensive, lightweight and not dependant on a battery charge.
It’s a concept that is elegant in its simplicity. Using its patented Sound Reduction Chamber Technology, the unpowered Ear Shield channels high-intensity noise (such as gunfire) up into its chambers and away from the wearer’s ear, while low-intensity noise (such as speech) is able to travel into the ear canal unimpeded. Available in two sizes, the larger model boasts a Noise Reduction Rating of 31 dB and weighs only 1.5 ozs., and the smaller model is capable of decreasing noise by 26 dB and weighs a mere 1.1 ozs. Adjustable and collapsible, the Ear Shield’s compact design also doesn’t interfere with the shooter’s cheek weld in the way that larger earmuffs can.
During range testing, the Ear Shield worked as advertised. While not quite as capable as high-dollar electronic options, both model sizes brought the reports from all firearms used down to hearing-safe levels, and their insubstantial weights were appreciated. Price: $20 (26 dB model), $25 (31 dB model). Contact: Otis Technology (315) 348-4300; otistec.com.