Leight QB2HYG Earplugs
After years of hunting
and shooting - and carefully avoiding exposing my precious hearing to too much damaging
sound - I thought I owned every kind of hearing protection imaginable. The list includes
several high-tech electronic earmuffs, including a great Pro Ears model that mounts behind
my neck so I can wear my cowboy hat.
Of course, there’s a
profusion of cheap, use-once-and-throw-away earplugs for shooting range and hunting use
that also come in handy when I’m forced to fly in noisy, prop-driven airplanes. These
disposable plugs are sold loose in bulk or fastened together in pairs by a cord or
flexible plastic string. The main problem with such earplugs is the contortions you go
through getting them properly inserted. This discourages you from removing them too often
during the day.
Because I like to hear
conversation that’s directed at me, I usually wear electronic earmuffs during social
prairie dog hunts. Unfortunately, earmuffs become hot and sweaty when worn too long under
a broiling sun. What’s more, repeatedly removing and replacing my behind-the-head
electronic muffs became literally a pain in the neck.
Then I noticed a slick
set of earplugs one of the other shooters wore. Instead of hanging from a loose cord,
these soft foam plugs were attached to a narrow, semi-rigid plastic band that could be
positioned at the back of your neck or under your chin. To remove the earplugs, you simply
pulled them slightly apart, leaving them handy for quick reinsertion. Once you were
through talking - or a prairie dog suddenly appeared - it took only a second to get the
plugs back in place. This was much faster and easier than dealing with soft foam
disposable earplugs. No twisting, turning or reshaping the plugs were required; the spring
action of the plastic band kept the plugs firmly and comfortably in place. It was much
more convenient than taking muff-type protectors off and on.
Quietly envious, I
finally asked the other shooter where he’d purchased the neat earplugs. Turned out he
had a spare set and generously handed them over. After wearing them awhile, I wondered
where the Howard Leight QB2HYG “Supra-Aural” plugs had been all my life. I’ve
never used a more comfortable, more convenient set of earplugs.
I phoned Howard Leight on
returning home and requested another set of the plugs. When it arrived, I learned the
plugs provided a full 25 decibels of hearing protection. The QB2HYG came packaged with an
extra set of plugs, which could be fitted to the band via a bayonet mount. I saw the
wisdom of this when I later lost one of the original plugs – don’t ask me how.
Howard Leight also sent a
set of QB1HYG-LE (who names these things anyhow?) earplugs mounted on a black plastic
band. These plugs were more rounded in shape and carried a 27 decibel rating. Excellent!
Being a chiseling writer,
I wasn’t charged for the earplugs. When I called Howard Leight to see what the
recommended retail price was for each model, the customer support person wouldn’t
tell me. “We’re distributors, not retailers,” she said. “We don’t
determine the price.” Considering the material and simple construction, a set of
these earplugs can’t cost more than a couple of bucks. That makes them a real
For more information,
contact Howard Leight Hearing Protection, Dept. R, 7828 Waterville Road, San Diego CA
92173-4205; telephone toll free: 1-800-327-1110; or visit online at: www.howardleight.com.