How ATN’s X-Sound Can Upgrade Your Range Experience

Swap your foam earplugs for something safer and more convenient with electronic noise reduction like ATN’s new X-Sound.

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How ATN’s X-Sound Can Upgrade Your Range Experience

According to NSSF estimates, more than 5 million Americans purchased their very first gun in 2021 alone, and sales haven’t slowed down much in 2022. More gun owners added to our ranks is a good thing for the Second Amendment community, and welcoming these new gun owners into the shooting world is an important step in making sure they stay active.

Outside of general gun safety, there’s one potentially painful lesson we don’t want these new gun owners to learn the hard way (which is how many of us learned it years ago): how incredibly important it is to wear good hearing protection. It’s estimated that more than 50 million Americans — that’s 15% of the population — suffer from some degree of tinnitus. For 20 million of those people, the condition is classified as chronic, and for a very unfortunate 2 million, their tinnitus is considered “extreme and debilitating.”

Hearing damage is irreversible — what you lose, you never get back. Those of us who spent our youth shooting firearms without hearing protection are here to warn you and all those new gun owners that this is no joke. According to the American Suppressor Association, studies have found that between 70 and 80% of hunters never wear earplugs or earmuffs, and nearly half of all target shooters don’t consistently wear traditional hearing protection.

This has to stop! Fortunately, with each passing year, it seems more and more shooters are waking up to the importance of protecting their hearing, and just about every range requires shooters to wear eye and ear protection now. There are still problems, though, and we can do better.

The most common type of hearing protection seen on the range (and pitched to new gun buyers as an add-on purchase) are inexpensive foam plugs and cheap earmuffs. When worn correctly, these do a good job of reducing your exposure to noise, but that’s part of the problem — they reduce all sound indiscriminately. This makes it difficult or impossible to hold a conversation or even hear range commands given by the safety officers. That’s a safety hazard in itself, and it often leads to a shooter taking one plug out or lifting the earmuffs up to talk to another shooter while gunfire is still going on around them, rendering the hearing protection useless.

Whether you’re a new shooter or an experienced shooter or hunter who is trying to shepherd a new gun owner into the fold, you need to know that there’s a better way: a good set of active noise reduction earmuffs like ATN’s X-Sound.

Muffs equipped with active noise reduction selectively block sounds over a certain decibel level (like gunfire) while allowing or even amplifying ambient noise. This lets you hold a conversation while you shoot — you can clearly hear normal-volume sounds undisturbed and even control the volume, while loud noises are muffled to a safer-level-for-your-hearing. This kind of hearing protection is a game-changer, and it’s not even very expensive these days. ATN’s new-for-2022 X-Sound Protector runs a little over a hundred bucks.

That price buys not only superior hearing protection (22+ dB noise reduction), but also a host of high-tech features. The compression circuit is sound-activated with a reaction time of 0.02 seconds, and two high-gain omnidirectional microphones make sure you can hear ambient noise from any direction. The muffs themselves are slim and compact, with a cutout that lets you mount a rifle or shotgun comfortably without bumping the stock. They weigh less than a pound and fold up to a compact size.

As if that’s not enough, you can pair the X-Sound to your smartphone or other Bluetooth-enabled device and make calls or listen to music through the muffs. You can even crank up the music and dial back the ambient noise, or vice versa, thanks to individual controls that let you adjust the volume of media and surrounding noise separately. Imagine listening to music while you’re turkey hunting and being able to immediately dial it down and crank up the ambient sound if you hear a gobble!

There’s an audio jack if you need it, and the muffs run off of two AA batteries. Power consumption is low, and ATN estimates you’ll get 300+ hours of use out of a pair of batteries.

With the media-friendly features and an affordable price ($119 MSRP), a set of these muffs should appeal to new shooters — they can keep their hearing protected and enjoy the technology we’ve all come to expect out of our electronics. Consider upgrading your traditional muffs or foam plugs for the safety and convenience of active noise reduction muffs like ATN’s X-Sound, and encourage new shooters at the range to do the same!


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