More and more people are hunting and learning to use a firearm these days. Some of them like to hunt for sport or their professions while others just like to unwind at the shooting range after a long day at the office, taking all of their stress out on the target. Hunting is a great hobby, but did you know it could affect your hearing? My father who has been hunting since he was a child, often when in the woods neglected his hearing protection. Now in his late 70’s he is affected severely by hearing loss. Although his doctors say that hunting is not the only cause of his hearing loss, it did play a major role in damaging his hearing levels. Still an avid hunter, my father loves to head out into the woods or get over to the shooting range to practice. Now days he always makes sure to have his hearing aids in and the proper hearing protection with him at all times. Take the right steps today in order to protect your hearing for the future.
Although we love guns, many of us don't consider the health of our ears while using them. Hearing loss is accumulative, meaning that you might not notice it happening right away until it is too late. This is unfortunate, because once your hearing is gone, it's gone.
Sound is measured in decibels (dB). The human vocal range averages at about 65 dB. A shotgun can produce up to 160 plus dB. This blast of sound is too much for your eardrums to take all at once, and it is possible that you could go completely deaf due to the auditory nerve of your inner ear being so damaged.
What Steps Can We Take to Protect Our Ears?
Committing to protecting your ears now can give you a much better chance of having healthy hearing well into the future. When it comes to ear protection, you have three basic options: earplugs, earmuffs and electric earmuffs.
Earplugs are small and unobtrusive, making them many people's first choice in ear protection. If you choose to go this route, make sure to ensure that you're buying the highest amount of sound protection available. Also be sure to purchase new earplugs often, as they lose their ability to protect your ears after the foam expands and contracts multiple times.
Earmuffs are a favorite of hunters and rate highly for both comfort and noise protection. There are earmuffs available to suit a variety of budgets, from simple foam-padded models to higher-quality models that come with liquid padding and can protect against more decibels.
Electronic earmuffs are the star of the bunch. They are capable of telling the difference between normal human speech and louder noises, allowing anything below 80 dB to come through and shutting out the rest. This feature allows you to talk to others in the midst of shooting.
One Last Tip
If possible, choose to do your shooting outdoors. While indoor shooting may be a good way to keep up your practice during bad weather, it can also be more damaging. Shooting ranges are well-insulated in order to hold in the sound, which comes at the price of your ears. If you do choose to practice inside, make sure you are equipped with the proper hearing protection.
Hearing is a precious gift that we have. Protecting your hearing while hunting is a simple task. In choosing to follow the proper safety steps today, you can protect your hearing for many years to come.