ATN’s X-Sound: Next-Level Hearing Protection

These aren’t the clunky, sound-muffling ear muffs you might be used to. Welcome to the new age of high-tech hearing protection at an everyman price.

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ATN’s X-Sound: Next-Level Hearing Protection

Walk into a room full of middle-aged-or-older hunters and you’ll quickly notice one commonality: Most of them are shouting. Sadly, it’s because most of them have hearing loss from exposing their hearing to too many loud gun reports in their younger years.

The generations who came before us didn’t know what we know today — that hearing loss is cumulative and permanent. What you lose, you never get back, and the loss gets worse with each exposure. Hearing protection for shooters and hunters just wasn’t a common thing years ago. Now, we know better. Shooters and hunters understand the importance of protecting our hearing, and those of us with any sense won’t fire a gun without putting ear plugs or muffs on first. The problem with traditional foam plugs or cheap muffs, though, is that they block all noise, making it virtually impossible to hold a conversation, listen for duck calls or turkey gobbles, or hear the commands from a range safety officer. They’re a step in the right direction, but certainly not ideal.

Electronic hearing protection changed the game by selectively blocking sounds over a certain decibel level (like gunfire) while allowing or even amplifying ambient noise. This technology didn’t come cheap when it was introduced, but it’s become common and affordable, and shooters everywhere are embracing electronic hearing protection.

ATN, best known for making quality thermal and night-vision optics, has applied its tech-savvy prowess to the world of hearing protection and introduced the ATN X-Sound Hearing Protector. It’s a set of slim, compact muffs that reduce harmful loud noises to a safe level while delivering natural sound. The compression circuit is sound-activated with a reaction time of 0.02 seconds, and it delivers 22+ dB noise reduction. Two high-gain omnidirectional microphones make sure you are able to hear ambient noise from any direction.

These muffs are truly made with shooters in mind, with sound-dampening composite construction and a low-profile design with a cutout that lets you mount a long gun comfortably — no more shooting interference from bumping your muffs on the stock. The headband is comfortable and features a durable metal frame, and the muffs fold up for easy storage and transport. At less than a pound and folding up to a compact size, they’ll be easy to slip in and out of your hunting pack or range bag.

Of course, ATN didn’t stop there. Thanks to Bluetooth capability, you can pair the X-Sound to your smartphone or other Bluetooth-capable device and make calls or listen to music through the muffs, and individual controls allow you to adjust the volume of your media and the volume of your surrounding ambient noise separately. Now you have the control and versatility to crank up your music and dial back the ambient noise when you’re in the zone shooting, or quickly cut the music back if you’re hunting and think you might hear game approaching. The volume control knob is recessed so you won’t bump it accidentally, and the X-Sound also has an audio input jack if you need it.

One of the struggles with some other electronic forms of hearing protection is the power source — CR2032 batteries can be a pain (who keeps them on hand?) and battery-free rechargeable models work fine until you forget to keep them charged. No problem with the X-Sound — these muffs run off of two AAA batteries, which you likely already have a stash of at home, and thanks to lower power consumption, you’ll get 300+ hours of use out of a pair of batteries before it’s time for a swap.

The X-Sound represents the new age of hearing protection, with a one-year warranty and a can’t-go-wrong price of $119. Don’t make the mistake your grandfather did and ruin your hearing forever by shooting without protection. And don’t settle for the cheap, ineffective hearing protection you might have used in the past. With the X-Sound, you can have the best of protection and convenience in one affordable package. 


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