Protecting your hearing is a worthy investment. Whether you’re at the range shooting or hunting, being able to simultaneously hear normal sounds, such as conversations or spoken commands, and protect against damaging loud noises is essential.
Many years of using little to no hearing protection has taken a toll. My hearing is bad – during a test last summer by audiologist Dr. Bill Dickinson of Tetra Hearing my left side didn’t even register a few frequencies. Dickinson used that test to results to program, specifically for my hearing, a set of Tetra’s Multi-Pursuit Alpha Shields protection and amplification devices. There are “in-ear” devices – not muffs. They’re somewhat reminiscent of hearing aids but not custom molded for your ear – although the company can make those.
These lightweight, battery-operated tools have subtle program settings that optimize hearing across a variety of hunting scenarios, isolating and accentuating certain frequencies, while compressing and dampening dangerously loud noises such as gunshots. They’ve trademarked the technology as Specialized Target Optimization. My shields have settings called big game, upland, waterfowl, turkey, range and ClearComm. Upland, for example, amplifies bird flushes, cancels wind noise, and more. Turkey accentuates gobbling or hens talking. Big game amplifies soft sounds in the woods, like twigs snapping and is fine-tuned to increase soft speech and whispers. Duck blinds are notorious for hearing loss from shotgun blasts, but I never realized some duck calls also exceed harmful noise thresholds. The waterfowl setting protects against both. ClearComm is probably the most like an everyday hearing aid, accentuating human speech while minimizing noises and distractions outside of the frequency range of human voices.
When I first tried the newly programmed Multi-Pursuit Alpha Shields, I was startled at how loud “normal” hearing sounded. It almost seemed too loud, but Dickinson assured me that within a couple days, my brain would adjust to the “new normal” and I’d be hearing things again that I never thought possible. And I wouldn’t annoy my wife and friends with constant, “Huh?” or “Say again, please.”
Tetra Hearing was founded in 2019 and sells direct to consumers. Dickinson and Dr. David Gnewikow started the company in response to emerging research around hearing damage and data showing nearly 90% of waterfowl hunters don’t use hearing protection.
I used these devices in Africa, where we stalked cape buffalo and hearing whispers detecting subtle noises in the bush were essential, as well as in Canada, where the ability to hear the muffled grunts of a bull moose plus whispered communications from your guide is critical. I have also used them for the beginning of the 2021 deer season in Virginia. They are working great for me. Positioned properly, the devices stay well-situated in your ears. Once they’re in and you’re used to them, it is easy to forget they are there.
Many years of using little to no hearing protection has taken a toll. My hearing is bad – during a test last summer by audiologist Dr. Bill Dickinson of Tetra Hearing, my left side didn’t even register a few frequencies. Dickinson used those to program, specifically for my hearing, a set of Tetra’s ra’s a’s ’s s
Many hearing protection products, ranging from foam ear plugs to muffs to high-end
hearing aids, are available. Give someone or yourself the gift of hearing. Never again fire a shot unprotected – no matter your age. Hearing damage is cumulative over time. You never know which shooting volley will trigger permanent loss or tinnitus.
I’ve worn many muffs and hearing amplification devices for the last quarter century, some more expensive than the Tetra devices. The fully programmed Multi-Pursuit Alpha Shields are $1,499. You also can get a set programmed for just a single scenario, such as range or upland, for $699. TETRA Hearing offers a money back, 30-day, risk free trial.