November 05, 2020
By J. Scott Rupp
As someone with a degree of hearing loss, I long ago adopted electronic hearing protection because I want to hear what’s going on around me when I’m on the range. Primarily, I’ve worn muffs because I’d never found electronic plugs that suited me. Then I had the chance to try Flexx Pros from Trophy Ear (TrophyEar.com).
The company sent its DIY molding kit with everything you need to make your own impressions. I screwed up my first attempt, despite the detailed instructions that tell you to hurry once you’ve mixed the molding material or it will harden to the point it won’t flow through the syringe. A company rep told me where I’d gone wrong: I’d spent too much time mixing the material. Ten seconds will do it.
My second attempt was a success. Here’s some other advice based on my experience: Have everything staged in front of your bathroom mirror; use the stopwatch on your phone or wristwatch second hand to keep track of time; and do your right ear first (if you’re right-handed) to get a feel for the process. When I did the left side, I ended up using my right to aid in positioning and pushing the syringe.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, visit your friendly local audiologist and have them do it for you.
Once the impressions are done, ship them back to Trophy Ear, and in two weeks or so you’ll get your Flexx Pros back—in a case, complete with batteries and cleaning accessories.
You have your choice of colors in both the faceplate color and shell color. I went with a bright multicolor shell—you can choose up to three colors—and beige faceplate. Why? I wanted them highly visible so if I drop them in my black shooting bag I can find them easily.
The plugs are powered by 1.45-volt hearing aid batteries with a 96-hour runtime. The independent volume controls have handy marks you align so you can be sure they’re powered off.
The Flexx Pros feature four sound-quality settings you select via pushbutton based on how much high frequency hearing loss you have: normal; less bass/more treble; increased treble; and max treble. I haven’t experimented with this feature extensively, but I did find that one setting above normal seemed to provide the clearest hearing for me.
The custom fit is enhanced by the soft shell material. I’ve had a few non-electronic custom-fit plugs that would unseal through normal activity like talking or yawning. That wasn’t a problem here, and the density of the material provides extra passive sound protection.
The Flexx Pros were fantastic at the range. At the 85 db dangerous-sound level, the electronics compress the noise rather than turn off—producing a smooth, even sound instead of the cut in/cut out you get with some electronics. My range is very windy, and I thought the plugs handled wind noise well.
At $1,199 the Flexx Pros aren’t cheap. But you’re not going to find more comfortable, more effective, more high-tech hearing protection for shooting.