Making a sale is all about educating the customer to the point where the inertia against purchasing is overcome by their perceived benefit of the product. Resistance to buying is tough. Yes, the money is a factor, but so is risk. Buyers are always subconsciously evaluating the downside of an investment in some new product. Will it work? Is there a better option? Can I get it at a lower price? Should I bother investing my valuable time determining whether or not I need this?

Reasons stacked against buying are endless, so it’s up to us to find real problems, with real solutions, and educate customers as to the benefits.

The benefits of preserving what hearing we do have are incalculable. The hard part is convincing people that they need to invest in prevention of a long-term problem. I spoke with Rick Carlson of Etymotic Research, Inc. about this, and here’s his take.

“The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health scale standard dictates that 85 dB is safe for 8 hours of exposure time,” he says. “But, for every 3 dB increase of environmental noise, it cuts your safe exposure time in half. By the time you get to 100 dB, your safe exposure time is limited to about 15 minutes.”

Think about that. Just the ambient noise from being near a shooting range firing line can cause permanent and irreversible hearing damage in minutes. Yes, if you’re standing at a distance, a single shot exposure probably won’t hurt you. However, repeated exposure to a number of shots can.

It’s a great case to sell electronic hearing protection, either in-ear models like the Etymotic GunSport Pro or external electronic muffs like those from Walker’s Game Ear.

Most earmuffs are certainly less expensive, ranging from $50 to $150, but as Carlson notes, “external muffs can be dislodged from recoil or the seal quality can be impacted by the frames of shooting glasses.” No matter what the electronics are, they won’t do a bit of good unless your ear is sealed from the noise blast.

For this reason, and for comfort, I prefer to steer people to in-ear electronic protection options. While shooters can order custom in-ear options that cost upwards of a thousand dollars, a number of companies are making one-model-fits-all versions for just a few hundred bucks.

Better yet, you can sell them in your store, as no custom fitting is required.

Etymotic’s GunSport Pro models can even exceed the sound protection of quality external muffs provided the user inserts them with a proper seal. For example, a proper fitting foam tip can provide up to 40dB of sound reduction.

The benefit of either type of electronic hearing protection boils down to safety. First and foremost, a good solution will protect your customer from permanent hearing damage related to shooting.

While not as obvious, electronic options allow customers to stay protected for the duration of their shooting outing. Shooters can carry on a normal conversation without removing their ear protection, so they’re less likely to remove it when stepping away from the firing line.

Perhaps the most important benefit, according to Carlson, is that “electronic hearing protection allows you to preserve your situational awareness. Strangely enough, too much hearing protection can be as dangerous as too little.”

If you can’t hear the range officers or other shooters, that can be dangerous indeed.