Doing more than simply protecting your hearing, Tetra AlphaShield also give you an edge in the field amplifying sound.
I’ve had the benefit of a father who understood hearing protection. Having spent a fall, winter and spring engaged in Uncle Sam’s European Tactical Hike, he knew how loud firearms could be. Then, as an engineer for the auto companies, loud factories were a known quantity. Even as kids, shooting “only” a .22 LR rifle, he insisted on us wearing hearing protection.
I continue this today, having spent my entire life and shooting career wearing earpro. A lot of them were uncomfortable, expansive, poorly protecting and awkward. But that was a long time ago. Electronic protection is a leap forward, and now you can get affordable in-the-ear electronic protection from Tetra.
Why Tetra AlphaShield
The Tetra AlphaShield series are electronic in-the-ear protection. And the AlphaShield series comes in four different options, pre-built to provide a particular kind of sensitivity and hearing boost. What? How? Simple. The sounds you’re trying to discern while hunting deer aren’t necessarily the same ones you’re trying to hear when scanning the skies for ducks and geese. So, they make Multi-Pursuit, Range, Upland and Waterfowl versions of the AlphaShield.
Now, one of the great marketing lies of the modern era is “one size fits all.” So how does Tetra make it possible for all of us to have in-the-ear protection? Simple: The AlphaShield of your choice comes with five pairs of ear buds, flexible skirts for the protection of different sizes. You simply use the size that fits that ear. The AlphaShield units are a left and a right pair, and if your ears take different sizes (mine do—my left ear is very contrarian that way), you simply use different-sized skirts.
The AlphaShields use your basic bog-standard No. 10 battery, which you can buy a bale of for a few bucks at the local big-box store. And buy a bale of them. The beautiful thing about electronic protection is that they’re fail-safe. That is, when they quit, you’re safe. If the batteries go dead (and that’s the annoying thing about No. 10 cells), then you still have earplugs in.
While they’re in, you have protection but electronic amplification. I keep the case the AlphaShield comes in—with batteries—in the top compartment of my camera bag. If I’m going to the range, then I’m taking my camera; that way I always have protection with me and electronic protection.
Ear Protection In The Field
My ears have survived something on the order of a million and a half rounds (maybe five or six unprotected) and most of a decade in radio broadcasting; they still work just fine, and I intend to keep them that way.
My father? He spent from the fall of 1944 to the end of the war in the front, and was the only man in his rifle company not to receive a Purple Heart. “Not from lack of the Germans trying” was his comment on that. He worked for GM and then Ford for 35 years, kept his hearing and spent a long retirement afterward. In all, a good teacher of safety.
Don’t for a moment believe the old hunter’s myth that the stress of hunting causes your “ears to shut down” and protect your hearing. BS. You might be so focused on the game that the shot sounds like a little “pop,” but your ears still take the full hit.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2021 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.
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