I have very sensitive hearing. I've been using a pair of Surefire SP4 Sonic Defenders for a while now. They work great (much better than the foam disposable type), and as an in-ear form of protection, they don't interfere with my cheek weld. However, I don't like plugging my ears. I wanted to be able to instruct (and hear) my friends and family who are new to shooting, and also have the comfort of an over-the-ear type of protection. I decided on the Caldwell E-Max Low Profile hearing protection.
They are comfortable to wear. They fit nicely over my ears, and adjusted to my head shape/size. They include an input jack for an iPod, etc if you like to listen to music. They require 2 AAA batteries (not included), so make sure to keep extra on hand.
When used as directed, they work pretty well. The softer sounds (eg. voices) are magnified, and the louder sounds (eg. gunshots) are dampened. There is a volume knob to control the amount of volume. However, they did not work as well as I would have liked. I found it uncomfortable to my ears, and after about 5 rounds, I switched back to my Surefires. I read the instructions, which state that they will only work with "a proper fit". A proper fit means that the ear muffs cover the entire ear without interruption from eye protection. Well...who shoots without eye protection!? I also noticed some lag in the noise cancellation.
As you can see, the eye protection clearly intersects the hearing protection. I wanted to like this product, but it failed miserably. What's the use of wearing these if I still have to wear foam plugs underneath them? Overall, I think that these earmuffs work as described when used as directed. However, they did not meet my expectations.
Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points
Claim to Fame: Amplifies low level sound. Blocks high level sound.
Target Market: Competitive shooter, recreational shooter
FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):
- Noise cancellation
- Magnification depending on Db
What others are saying?: “For years, I have always assumed that quality electronic hearing protection was beyond what most people were willing to spend. Most electronic ear muffs seemed to start around $150 and go up from there. After buying the Caldwell E-MAX electronic hearing protection, I know that there is a high-quality, reasonably priced alternative.” - Richard Johnson, Guns Holsters and Gear
+ Low cost
- Cancellation lag - Noise reduction impeded by eye protection