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David Faubion

Professional review

   

IT’S NO SURPRISE THAT HEARING LOSS IS COMMON

among shooters. After all, we repeatedly fire loud devices near our ears. To learn more about hearing loss and how to prevent it, I spoke with Chris Warren, founder of Trophy Ear custom digital hearing protection.

the customer ships the molds back to Trophy Ear, where they’ll craft a custom set of Flexx Pros.

In use, the Flexx Pro units are effective and simple to operate, with a push button and adjustable volume control. Each unit offers multiple programs to adjust the frequency based on your hear- ing levels. They can also be programmed to match your exact hearing loss.

Depending on the user, the Flexx Pro offers a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) between 24 to 30. Warren says much of that is dependent on the shape and size of the ear. “The bigger the ear, the more material to block sound,” he said. In comparison, Warren says most of the competition only provides an NRR of 22 to 24.

Besides the impeccable audio qual- ity, the most impressive feature to me was the comfort. Trophy Ear uses a soft and pliable shell material that’s custom fit to your ear, so it moves when you’re talking or chewing. Compared to a hard-shell device that will “leak” sound

and lose effectiveness, the Flexx Pro offers better protection.

I asked Warren who buys Trophy Ear hearing protection. “Our biggest clientele has been competition shooters,” he said, “but hunters are starting to buy them more, especially waterfowl hunters.”

After speaking with Warren, I quickly understood his passion for hearing protection. Much of this stems from his own hearing loss and the desire to prevent it in others.

“Most people take their hearing for granted until it’s too late. You can’t get it back without spending $6,000 or more on hearing aids. Because I have hearing loss from shooting, I see what I’ve done to myself, and I don’t want my three kids to grow up with the same problems. If they’re shooting, they wear ear protection.”

Are there any downsides to a

custom set of Flexx Pro hearing

protection? None besides the

price. At $1,199, these units are expensive. According to Warren, “The Flexx Pro is not the cheapest, but it’s as good as anything out there.”

While I’ve not tested every unit out there, after a month of use, I must agree. Compared to other high- end hearing protection I’ve used, the Flexx Pro does exactly what Warren claims. It offers better protection, a better fit, more comfort and tons of customization.

  According to Warren, Trophy Ear was born out of a necessity after seeing firsthand his father’s struggles with hearing loss.

“My dad is legally deaf,” said Warren. “That’s what got my parents into the hearing aid busines 40 years ago. I grew up around this business and knew from an early age that I didn’t want to end up like him. In 2007, I began work on some- thing that was better than what I saw from the competition.”

During testing, Warren realized existing products on the market were generic and lacked features.

“They were basically cheap hearing aids tweaked to work for shooters,” he said. “I bought a bunch of them and then developed my own product. I wanted a flexible shell and customizable options

with touch buttons for controls and adjustments.”

The result of all this work is Trophy Ear’s flagship product, the Flexx Pro seen here. According to Warren, this feature-packed hearing protection offers better protection, better fit, more comfort and more customization.

What makes the Flexx Pro so good? That boils down to material selection, design and a custom fit that tailors them to the user. Here’s how that pro- cess works.

After placing an order, Trophy Ear ships the customer a do-it-yourself ear impression kit. From start to finish, the molding process takes around 15 minutes, but customers can also go to a hearing aid center or audiologist to have impressions made. Once finished,

Type Colors Battery Life

Manufacturer

Digital electronic hearing protection User selectable

96 hours per battery

Trophy Ear

trophyear.com

   

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