Vario Revolution Ear Plugs - tried & tested

New moulds are slimmer in profile

New moulds are slimmer in profile - Credit: Archant

Dom Holtam puts the newest plug in the Vario range to the test - the Vario Revolution plugs!

Same medical grade silicone delivers great comfort

Same medical grade silicone delivers great comfort - Credit: Archant

Vario is planning to take hearing protection to the next level with the introduction of its new Revolution hearing enhancement device. The brand was launched back in 2017 by keen shooter Jason Gibson and many top-level shooters now use the products, including Richard Faulds MBE and Ben Husthwaite.

The Revolution incorporates a number of key improvements, both technically with the electronic internals and in terms of useability. The modules fit straight in to my existing Vario ear moulds, but immediately the upgrades are clear: there is now a single, bigger button to activate the device and cycle through the modes, plus voice announcements that let you know what is going on as you do so.

The modes on this test device are Whisper, Quiet, Social, Clay, Game and Gamekeeper. This is where the Vario system is looking to change the game somewhat. These devices are no longer merely hearing protection. The internals are what you would find in a top-end hearing aid. So while you do, of course, still get benefits of substantial noise attenuation (and Vario’s noise blocking technology is the fastest on the market), customisable profiles allow you to tailor settings to your preferences. You can even program them to compensate for existing hearing loss and there is also the option of a tinnitus mode for those like me who suffer from that interminable high-pitched whistling noise!

Whisper mode cuts plenty of background but still allows conversation if necessary and allows you to hear any warning shouts. But it really helps you to focus without unwanted distractions.

rsh mar p12

rsh mar p12 - Credit: Archant

Next is Quiet, and then Clay which is designed to filter out disturbance from other squad members chatting, but allow you to easily converse with the ref and hear the trap arm firing when out on the course.

Social and Game ramp things up another couple of notches, the latter of these allowing you to gauge where beaters are working the line and hear the flush and calls of birds heading your way. It also allows for easy conversation between drives. Either of these would work well at the rifle range – allowing you to easily pick up on what is going on all around you.

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Gamekeeper mode ramps up the amplification of ambient sounds yet further. I think this might be the most interesting for deerstalkers. You can hear birdsong in great clarity and, when stalking about, it makes you acutely aware of your own noise, which is a good thing! If you are sitting in a high seat, it really does keep you on your toes – with the slightest rustle or noise in the woods demanding your attention.

Wind noise does still intrude a little – it was blowing a strong 20mph wind during my test – but at no point could I induce the dreaded whistle that some devices suffer from. In calmer conditions, there is little to distract you.

New single button design and familiar battery hatch

New single button design and familiar battery hatch - Credit: Archant

The single button push is a massive improvement in terms of ease of use and the fact that the voice announcements are so clear and unequivocal – whether turning on and off with a long press of the button or cycling through the modes with a short press.

The modules feature active battery management that turns the sets off after two hours – but this can also be customised from just 30 minutes (to maximise battery life) up to eight hours if required. 312 batteries provide the power as before – but there is a rechargable option.

Pricing for the Vario Revolution electronic modules is from £449 to £649 depending on the number of modes you go for (either 2,4 or 6). This price includes any colour you like for your custom moulds and you can also arrange to get your impressions taken locally for convenience.

If you want the comfort of custom-fit in ear protection without the top end internals, you can order moulds with passive inserts from just £109. The company also offers a Bluetooth 5 module.

These units are being launched at the British Shooting Show and the Vario team will be there demonstrating the new unitsand taking impressions.

If you have existing Vario moulds, these new modules will fit, but the new moulds are lower in profile with the same super-comfortable medical-grade silicone with hypoallergenic lacquer.

All products are backed by a two year warranty and a 30-day no-quibble money back guarantee.

RRP: £449-£649