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AXIL GS Extreme 2.0 Review: Best In-Ear Protection?

We took the AXIL GS Extreme 2.0 ear buds for a spin out on the range. Are they a decent hearing pro option for range days? Come find out.

There’s been an increasing number of “in-ear” hearing protection on the market lately and we recently got the GS Extreme 2.0 from AXIL in for testing.

There are some pretty distinct advantages to this type of ear pro.

AXIL GS Extreme 2
Left in or hanging around the neck, the GS Extreme 2.0 are handy

I tested out this model with some trepidation because not all my experiences with in-ear pro have been positive. Happily, the GS Extreme worked very well so read on for details on its specs, features, and performance!

Table of Contents

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Pros & Cons

Pros

● Compact
● Less heat than muffs
● Hearing boost/noise cancellation

Cons

● Harder to put on
● Must sunscreen ears

The Bottom Line

The GS Extreme 2.0 are great! They are USB chargeable and offer active hearing as well as noise cancellation in a tiny package.

Specs & Features

Specs

● Single Number Rating (SNR): 29dB
● Runtime: 25 hours (hearing enhancement only), 9 hours (audio only) 8 hours (hearing+audio)
● Bluetooth: 5.0
● Cancellation: 85dB+

Features

● Sport fit ear hooks
● Rechargeable lithium battery
● Multiple earplug sizes

Source: AXIL

Available Coupons

Background

I have some hearing loss in the higher frequency ranges — likely the result of a career of driving vehicles with sirens. I also have tinnitus so I’m overly protective of my hearing now.

AXIL GS Extreme 2 everything
GS Extreme 2.0 comes with all this and a USB charger

I’ve used foam plugs before and these work great to protect your hearing, but don’t allow you to hear important things like range commands.

Some of the previous in-ear hearing pro I’ve used did not work very well, so I was hesitant to try the GS Extreme 2.0.

However, AXIL is a company that started out in hearing aids and their sound amplification technology bears this out. The amplification makes my slightly damaged hearing better and protects what I still have.

Who Is It For?

These in-ear pro are really multi-faceted and could be used by just about anyone. They come with different styles and sizes of plugs for your ears.

AXIL GS Extreme 2 speakers
Big sound from small speakers

The smaller silicone plugs seem to be intended for those who just want to listen to music while using the Bluetooth connection. Three sizes of squishy foam plugs are included to fill the ear canal and block sound.

This has obvious applications for people needing to protect their hearing, such as shooters or workers in loud environments

Fit & Feel

Compared to a set of modern hearing protection muffs, the GS Extreme 2.0 is tiny! It’s really just two earplugs connected by a wire.

The wire is great too because it allows the plugs to hang around your neck when you pull them out.

AXIL GS Extreme 2 foamies
AXIL GS Extreme 2 foamies

I used the largest foam plugs from the beginning and while it took a while to get used to, I soon found myself enjoying the relative comfort of not wearing over-the-ear pro on a hot day.

How Does It Perform?

As far as protection is concerned, it works very well. I can clap loudly and tell that the sound amplification cuts out, saving my hearing.

This requires you to do your part in properly putting them on though. During the first shot I took on the range, my plug wasn’t all the way in and I could tell from the extra sharp ring in my ear.

I quickly learned to squish the foam, stick it all the way in my ear, and hold it until it filled the ear canal. With the hook-shaped over the back of my ear, the ear pro stayed in place and was comfortable for a whole day of shooting 9mm at the range.

AXIL GS Extreme 2 case
The whole set fits in your hand

I was able to hear my range partner speaking to me so the sound amplification worked really well.

Perpetual wind noise was a little annoying but the controls are easy to access and I was able to dial the volume down when needed.

On to the Bluetooth testing, I synched up the GS to my phone and played music. I was very impressed with the sound quality, including the amount of bass the tiny speakers can put out.

One of the main benefits is less heat and sweating when compared to over-ear pro.

Axil TRACKR
Axil TRACKR

We also love Axil’s over-ear pro…the Axil TRACKR if that’s more your jam.

50
at AXIL

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

However no matter what, you’ll need to remember the sunscreen!

What Sets it Apart?

This product frees you from a lot of the issues you have with traditional ear pro. Problems with smooshed hats and eyewear are practically non-extent with these.

AXIL GS Extreme 2 wearing
Range comfort

The level of protection is not a compromise either. The GS Extreme 2.0 are actually higher rated than some over-ear muffs.

By The Numbers


Reliability: N/A

Right now I’ve only worn them a few times so it’s difficult to give this a solid rating. So far they have held up well. It remains to be seen how they will survive a year’s worth of range trips, and how long the rechargeable battery will keep taking charges.

Ergonomics: 5/5

Because the GS is so adjustable, you can get a fit that is just right for you. Finding the right-sized plugs for your ears is key, as well as adjusting the form holding portion of the cable around the tops of your ears.

Value: 4/5

As someone who has suffered even a little hearing loss, I find it to be invaluable. The GS are priced fairly at $149 for each (or $249 for 2, which makes it a nice deal) but there’s nothing like prevention to keep you out of hearing aids when you’re older.

Overall: 4.5/5

Available Coupons

Final Verdict

The GS Extreme 2.0 are an outstanding option for hearing protection. They take up almost no room in your range bag, weigh next to nothing, and protect better than over-the-ear pro.

Smith & Wesson M&P
Smith & Wesson M&P

The hearing enhancement and cut-off features work very well and the unit runs all day on a battery that charges in about an hour.

They are a little expensive compared to other options, but their compact size and feature set make them a great value.

What do you think of the AXIL ear pro? Let us know in the comments below. For more recommendations on hearing protection, check out our Best Shooting Ear Protection guide.

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21 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    SaltnPepper

    I've been carrying AXIL GS Extreme 2.0 earbuds in their handy little case in my EDC bag for months. Actually tried them at the range last Saturday, shooting standard 9mm rounds. I checked the settings. All correct. The product provided NO hearing protection beyond that of having a foreign object stuck in my ear. Foam earplugs, for about 20 cents, do that job more effectively. They certainly do enhance hearing, but the hearing protection is grossly inadequate, so what's the point? Axil has a new product out: AXIL Digital. Price: $499.99. At that price, I won't be giving Axil a second chance.

    July 7, 2022 3:41 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Sleder Sledmeister

    I'd be interested if a custom personalized moulded to fit "your" ear hearing protection outfit like Custom Protect's db Blocker partnered up with somebody like AXIL to create consumer firearms enthusiast sound awareness, communications and true 30db drop protection product, but that ain't this.

    June 13, 2022 11:57 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Steve Murphy

    SNR - signal to noise ratio.
    ET1 USN

    April 21, 2022 6:31 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      MM1/SS USN

      More than one meaning for an acronym.

      While you're correct, Single Number Rating as use here is also correct.

      November 6, 2022 1:01 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    P Dye

    I could *not* get these to work with my ears. The "shooters foam" plugs are just too short and I let them know as much when I tendered my return. No matter how I canted the wires, bringing my shotgun up to rest would dislodge my right earplug. I was hoping these would be a good "outdoor only" alternative but it's back to my modded Peltor Sport 500s.

    April 20, 2022 7:36 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    OG

    I’ve had a pair of these for a little while and used them around the house listening to music and taking calls to get used to them. Last Saturday I took them to the range. It’s an indoor range with lots of customers, as soon as I walked through the double doors where all the shooters were, it was like I was wearing NO hearing protection at all. I double checked that they were on, they were, but it was deafening so I immediately switched them out for my Walker’s Razor electronic muffs. I’m going to give the AXILs another try but at an outdoor range that I can get to early before there’s a bunch of people and I’ll hopefully have the opportunity to do some troubleshooting/testing to see if I can get them to work as they seem to have in your review. I would recommend to anyone trying these out for the first time, that you have a backup option of some sort.
    To (MacII)’s comment, his flight surgeon was ahead of the times in 1966. I just retired a year ago (2021) after 24 years in MC aviation and about half way through my career they really started pushing double hearing protection for all aviators and maintenance personnel on the flight line or flight deck. There’s a ton of proven statistical data to back this up. That said, the one thing I wanted the AXILs for was shooting rifle where traditional muffs interfere with the cheek to stock interface, so if I can get them to work I’ll probably only use them to shoot rifles.

    April 20, 2022 5:52 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    MacII

    In 1966, I started shooting with the Sixth Naval District Rifle and Pistol Team. Our team captain was a flight surgeon, whose specialty was brain surgery. He was, before medical school, a graduate engineer with a masters from MIT. He was one really smart dude! In any event, at his insistence, we replaced the empty .45 ACP pistol brass or cigarette filters we had been using as ear protection. The good doctor insisted that we always wear both in ear approved foam plugs and over the ear muffs. When queried about why the muffs when we had foam plugs in place, after several wisecracks, he explained. He told us that behind our ears was the mastoid bone complex. Allegedly it was a spongy bone mass, and it allowed sound transmission directly into your skull regardless of the ear canal. He maintained ear protection that didn't cover the mastoid bones behind your ears was not sufficient to preserve your hearing and the in ear protection while good and necessary was not enough to protect your hearing long term.

    April 19, 2022 8:37 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Andy Q

      That’s interesting, if a bit scary as well

      April 20, 2022 6:37 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Michael Johnson

    Bought these on a whim. Hated wearing over the ear protection when shooting an AR. The fit didn't seem like it would work very well. Brought my over the ear protection just in case. Used the foam inserts, turned them on and they worked! I couldn't believe how well they worked! Had conversations with those around me and no problems when they or I were firing. And the bluetooth is an added benefit. They are my primary ear protection now.

    April 19, 2022 6:45 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ken L.

    I bought a pair a couple years ago, and the noise suppression was good. Compared to muffs, they are far more comfortable and capable. I like the Bluetooth connectivity for music, etc. Where I fell off the bandwagon was the annoying background hissssssssssssss. It never stops. I upgraded to Otto, and I'm way happier. The Ottos offer superior protection without the hissssss. However, they do not offer Bluetooth connectivity. Ottos are also way more expensive. I still use my Axils when I'm vacuuming my house. I just use the Bluetooth feature to listen to audio books and let the passive noise blocking quiet my vacuum cleaner.

    April 19, 2022 6:31 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Claude Judd

    I purchased these buds and was very disappointed. They are difficult to get turned on and the app provided was horrible. The buds were hardly well made and the charge box worked...sometimes. The only protection I felt I had were the foam ear inserts, not exactly what I had in mind. They work better when they are turned on....as noted below....but not much

    April 19, 2022 4:01 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Saul Serna

      I got the Otto Engineering ear plugs and they are awesome!!! They're pricey but well worth the money.

      April 19, 2022 4:31 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    John Patrykus

    Bought two pairs of these a couple years ago on a Christmas sale. Took them to an outdoor range and it felt like had no earpro at all. After less than ten rounds, for fear of damaging my hearing, I put the old muffs back on. Gave away one pair to a friend and the other is just sitting unused. Grant it, my test run was with an AR 10 with a loud muzzle break. Maybe they would be suitable for a small handgun, however, I'll stick with my Walkers until the day when I can afford a good pair of custom molded completely wireless ear plugs.

    April 19, 2022 3:13 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    John Swaringen

    Just go mine today and I agree with the author about the output. I have severely damaged hearing and these are almost as good as my $5000 hearing aids.

    They are on sale right now for $129 for 1 and $199 for two.

    April 19, 2022 1:59 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Thanks John, glad they're working for you too!

      April 19, 2022 2:30 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Andy Quillin

    Do they prevent dangerous noise levels even when turned “off”?

    April 19, 2022 10:32 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Andy Quillin

      Or maybe its better asked, do they still provide protection when off

      April 19, 2022 10:48 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Jake H

        The foam tips will still act like an earplug and give you some protection (not as much as when turned on) but still enough to shoot. So even if the charge died, you should still be fine

        April 19, 2022 10:54 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          AQ

          Thanks for your reply.

          April 19, 2022 1:25 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Ben

        All electric hearing pro is using a passive technique to protect your ears. Any of the electric stuff is just for utility and comfort. I don't believe there is an "active" form of hearing pro. Noise cancelation doesn't actually protect you from load noise it simply cancels it out (but the pressure wave still hits your ear).

        The best hearing protection on the planet is your own private range coupled with a suppressor for whatever your shooting. I can shoot my full power 22" 308 without any hearing protection and its quieter that shooting it unsuppressed with quality muffs on.

        For a semi auto most people will still wear some formnof ear pro because of ejection port noise. A few special cases are so quiet even the ejection port noise is fine (MP5, 300 BLK AR15, and some other suppressor focused cartridges like 8.6 BLK)

        November 12, 2022 12:11 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Andy they sure do. Think of them like the standard foam ear plugs you can find at the range or in industrial settings. Even without power, they provide that level of protection. WITH power, you get a whole lot more features.

      April 19, 2022 2:29 pm
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