When it comes to airsoft safety, there is, quite righty, a lot of emphasis on keeping your eyes safe.
This is extremely important because a BB pellet can take out your eyesight. Unfortunately, however, there is not nearly as much emphasis on protecting the ears.
The ears too often remain vulnerable during an airsoft battle. This can and does result in extremely painful side headshots that smack into the ears.
Worse still, once that ringing pain is gone, long-lasting inner ear damage can result.
Airsoft and Your Ears
So, do you need ear protection for airsoft?
Yes, you certainly do.
The ears are a vulnerable part of the body. It is quite possible for BB pellets or shrapnel to whack into your inner ear canal.
Now, you have probably heard that it is dangerous to put cotton tip buds into your ears, so imagine how much more damaging a BB pellet traveling at 300 feet per second would be!
Despite the obvious danger to the ears of airsoft battle, it is all too common to see experienced airsofters put on all of their protective gear but still leave their ears exposed.
Airsoft ear protection will protect your ears in two important ways:
- It protects your hearing from the loud noises that you will encounter
- It protects the ears from the physical damage of a strike to the ear by a BB pellet
If a BB pellet strikes you directly on the ear, or if you get hit by a ricochet, foreign material is likely to travel down your ear canal.
This could quite easily rupture the eardrum, resulting in permanent damage to your hearing.
What Sort of Ear Protection Should I Use?
Having established that ear protection is a non-negotiable requirement when playing airsoft, what sort of ear protection should you use?
The options are varied. You may decide to purchase a helmet that includes full ear protection.
However, you should not expect a helmet to have built-in ear protection as a matter of course. You will have to actively look for one that does.
Many people choose to use a wool cap or other head covering that can be pulled down over the ears.
However, if you get hit on the ear with a BB, a wool cap will not stop the strike from being very painful. It will, however, prevent any shrapnel from getting into your ear.
One of the best options is a mesh mask. These are very hardy and will usually provide coverage for the ears.
Mesh masks are also extremely breathable.
Another advantage of mesh masks is that they can be trimmed to allow for customization.
People who already have face masks that lack ear protection can purchase additional ear and cheek shields, which are mounted on the helmet’s accessory rail.
Another option is to make use of dedicated hearing muffs. You will want these to be a low profile as you will be wearing it in addition to a face mask.
The benefit of wearing hearing muffs is that they afford the best hearing protection to your ears while also providing full physical protection to your ears from a BB strike.
Some earmuffs even provide you with volume control, which acts as a hearing aid.
This allows you a tactical advantage in being able to hear opposition noise that you otherwise would not be able to discern.
What Type of Ear Protection Should You Go For?
3. Wool Cap/Balaclava
The most basic, and least desirable, type of ear protection is the wool cap or balaclava.
These will not protect you from the pain of an ear strike but will stop anything from actually getting into the ear canal.
2. Ear/Cheek Shields
Ear and cheek shields will give you better protection than a wool cap or balaclava.
That is because they will protect you from the strike of a BB pellet as well as stopping any foreign matter getting into your ear canal.
But ear and cheek shields will do nothing to protect your ears from the deafening noises that you will probably be subject through over the course of the day, including exploding grenades.
When it comes to ear muffs for airsoft, we’re not talking about standard general use ear muffs.
Instead, we are referring to those that are specifically designed for shooters. These are lower profile and provide a higher rate of hearing protection.
Earmuffs are your best choice.
They provide 3-way protection by protecting the ears from a physical BB strike, stopping anything getting into the ear canal and providing hearing protection.
Q & A
Can you use hunting ear muffs for protection?
Yes, you most certainly can use hunting earmuffs for protection.
These are, in fact, the best type of ear protection that you can use because they provide 3-way protection, ensuring that your ears are safe from a direct strike, ear canal penetration, and excess noise.
Do airsoft clubs (fields) require the use of ear protection?
Often airsoft clubs do require a certain standard of ear protection. Some of them will not allow wool caps or balaclavas to be the only form of ear protection.
Be sure to check the specific requirements of the club or field you are associated with to ensure that you do not get caught out.
Protecting your ears is vital, but too often, a neglected aspect of airsoft safety.
Now that you know just how important it is, you have no excuse not to cover your ears.
We suggest purchasing a set of hunting style ear muffs to give your ears the love they deserve as you are running around causing havoc on the airsoft battlefield.