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Hearing protection is something that’s extremely important but not that exciting to talk about. Nevertheless, I am excited about WildEar.

It has a steep price tag; there’s no getting around that. It’s not for everyone. But, compared to all the other ear pro I have ever used, the performance is second to none.

Here’s what’s so great about it:

First, noise compression is the best I’ve used. When you insert the WildEar plugs into your ears without turning them on, they are almost completely noise canceling. In the “on” position, noise compression is extremely fast—as fast as 3 milliseconds from the time it detects noise above 90 decibels. And it cycles fast, which is great for rapid fire. Not all ear pro is created equal in this regard.

Second, sound amplification performance is incredible. The sound quality is better than any hearing amplifier I’ve used; wildlife is crystal clear (This is going to date me, but going from other sound amplifiers to WildEars is like the first time you experienced a digital CD after listening only to cassette tapes and 8-tracks).

Last, but not least, WildEar plugs are custom fit to your ears. They have your name on them, and they won’t fit anyone else. I’m one who constantly puts ear pro plugs in and removes them because they annoy me. However, WildEars are extremely comfortable.

You buy the package, which contains a mold kit. Read the instructions, watch the online video; it’s a pretty simple process. Prepare and make the molds as specified. The manufacturer gives you double of just about everything in case you screw up (which is tough to do). Package up the WildEar plugs, put them back in the pre-paid, pre-labeled box, and mail them off.

The heart of the system: the WildEar digital hearing enhancement/ protection—customized, personalized and serialized. Note that the plug on the left shows the controls (two volume/program controls up top and the “on”/”off” switch toward the bottom. Between them is the battery compartment).

Once the manufacturer receives your WildEar molds, the manufacturer works its magic (here, in the United States): In a few weeks, you’ll get your WildEar pro in the mail. The result? WildEar ear plugs are far more impressive than I imagined they would be.

They come in a Pelican 1020 Micro Case. Open it up, and you’ll find a six-pack of Rayovac “Made in the USA” batteries (one per ear plug is used at a time), extra vent plugs, a cleaning tool/ brush, six-pack “No Wax” protection system replacement plug kit and a plastic warranty card with name and serial number that is good for two years. In addition (if all of these weren’t enough), you’ll find a little field pouch housing your ear pro.

This ear pro is attached to a lanyard so they don’t get lost. On each plug is your name and the serial number. A red dot is on the right ear plug. There is an “on”/”off” switch and “up” and “down” buttons.

WildEar is next-gen hearing protection, and its performance and comfort are outstanding. It’s not cheap, as I said, but this company offer a 30-day, money-back guarantee if you’re not impressed.

WildEar Tactical Series (Tested) Specifications

  • Two digital programs (1: natural sound; 2: reduced low-frequency response, increased high-pitched sounds)
  • Adjustable hearing amplification up to five times of normal hearing
  • Maximum gain: 30 dB
  • Maximum noise reduction (NRR): 23–26 dB
  • Sound guard
  • Power: #13 batteries; up to 500 hours
  • Colors: Black, pink, red/blue
  • MSRP: $999

Also available is the Master Series ($1,099) for shooting sportsmen. It has four digital programs.

For those who want the custom-fit quality without the electronics, WildEar plugs are available in non-electronic custom fit (soft silicone [$149] and hard acrylic [$139], which have an NRR of 26 dB).


Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the November 2017 print issue of Gun World Magazine.