It was in the early 90's and I was at the SHOT SHOW in Las Vegas which was a real treat. I'd been shooting high power rifles very regularly day in and day out and the foam plugs weren't very good and muffs don't work when shooting a rifle. Try it and you'll immediately know why.
So when a cute blond girl in the ear plug booth beckoned me over I gladly paid my $60 and sat there as she put paper plugs into both ear canals attached to a string to each and then injected silicon into my ear canals. She continued to smile and talk but I couldn't hear a word she said. I just nodded my head and smiled. Finally she pulled the strings and I could hear again. My,
these worked great! Being in the military and deployable I quickly asked for another pair despite the line of people waiting. She complied and soon I was watching her talk and smile and I just nodded my head and smiled back. My friend Kenji was laughing too and I thought she must be telling a great joke.
It wasn't until she pulled the plugs and softly said "I'll see you for dinner then" and she handed me a slip of paper with her phone and room number.. I was stunned. For maybe the first time I'd managed to ask a cute girl out who I'd known for such a short time. And I did it without talking which should have been a strong hint for my future endeavors. Now I know why Kenji was laughing so hard, I was apparently silently asking her out and he knew my wife wouldn't like it even a little bit. Flowers and a great excuse got me out of that one.
And now I had two pairs of these moldable ear plugs. Back then this was the only way to get them. You went to an audiologist or a trade show, and you paid over $100 at an audiologists officer or $60 a pair like I did. Still, they worked so well I felt it was a great bargain. I kept a pair in reserve just like you do for most of your equipment when in the military and immediately started using the other pair.
Pure heaven! It didn't matter if I was in a Bradley, a C-131, or even the Whale from a carrier deck, they worked way better than anything else available. And because they were so small you could carry them in your pocket and the string allowed you to loop them around your neck unseen.
Needless to say I grew very fond of my new moldable ear protection. At the time I was shooting some of the newest high powered rifles available and while my shoulder often took a beating my ears were just fine. I credit these plugs with my now being 56 years old with great hearing other than the normal high frequency loss. Meanwhile shipmates I've kept in contact with who did the same job as me.. are using electronic aids.
I was at the Danville Rifle and Pistol Club (DRPC) just this last week shooting pistols and wearing my old pair AND a set of muffs and a couple guys there took a while to get my attention because despite their yelling I couldn’t hear them. I quickly took them out before I ended up with both their phone numbers!
The bottom line is they really work and they work well. They are rated at 26db. Keep in mind when comparing hearing protection that 3db’s either doubles or halves the volume. I still use them unless I'm teaching and then I use a set of amplified muffs so I can hear my students which frankly is essential for the sake of safety.
So imagine my surprise when I accidentally came across a do it yourself moldable ear plug kit for only $11 on Amazon Prime! How cheap! I ordered a set with the connecting cord and case option for a grand total of twenty bucks. But will they work as well as my original pair(s) and can I really do this myself? My 25+ year old set. Everything wears out eventually and the left ear had developed a slight leak.
Oh, the second pair.. Apparently I misplaced it. They'll turn up somewhere someday. Maybe. Right?
UPS dropped off new Radian Moldable Earplug Set late yesterday afternoon and this afternoon I had time to mold them to my ears.
The Installation! Following the directions I opened the small containers. One container held the blue and one the white. I cut the two blobs of material in half and taking one half of the white and one half of the blue I gently kneaded them together for about 30 seconds, or until they were the same color with no single color streaks.
Once combined I gently pushed the material down in to my right ear canal as far as I could and them smoothed it out nice and clean and then sunk the red stud from the tether rope. After ten minutes gently pried them from my ear and set it aside and started on the left ear. Soon I was done and I set them aside to fully cure. The instructions said 10 minutes but I like to be sure and let them sit for 2 hours more.
I must say they work better than the original pair showing me that after 25+ years and countless insertions they wear a bit. I suppose that's to be expected. You expect prices to go up after 25" years, so I'm very pleased with a full price of $20 with the connecting cord and case. I'm so pleased overall.. I think I'll make a pair for my sons, my wife, maybe even my range dog..
Until Next Time..