Ear damage and shooting


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Hellbore
March 24, 2005, 09:04 PM
My dad has 2 perforated eardrums. We went shooting for the first time in years last weekend. He used the little rubber earplugs that are connected with a plastic cord. They came with his Mossberg shotgun.

Afterwards, he has had noticeable loss of hearing for a week so far. He says voices sound more muffled.

Any idea why this would happen when he used earplugs? I used the foam kind and told him I didn't think the plastic ones were good enough.

His hearing is already so bad he can't afford any more damage. Is there any safe way for him to shoot? Would earmuffs be more effective than earplugs?

He says he read online that no earplug will work for people who have perforated eardrums, that you have to use the earmuff type. Is this true?

If we can't figure out a way to prevent this in the future, he is going to have to give up shooting forever.

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dolanp
March 24, 2005, 09:10 PM
Earmuffs are inherently more effective. They can protect little bones in your ear that conduct sound which the little foam plugs can't.

Standing Wolf
March 24, 2005, 09:16 PM
He used the little rubber earplugs that are connected with a plastic cord. They came with his Mossberg shotgun.

They don't give them away because they're expensive.

Seriously: I've lost a good deal of my hearing over the years. I recommend using plugs and muffs in tandem.

Andrew Rothman
March 24, 2005, 09:21 PM
Earmuffs are inherently more effective. They can protect little bones in your ear that conduct sound which the little foam plugs can't.

I don't think so. All the "little bones" are behind both types of protection.

Further, good foam plugs always have a higher NRR than good muffs.

That said, using both at once is certainly the best way to maximize the protection.

And price isn't a perfect indicator of efficacy. After all, the good foam plugs run about $.50 a pair (I use the green ones in the blue package at Target). That's darned cheap insurance!

fecmech
March 24, 2005, 09:29 PM
If I was your Dad I would use both earplugs and the muff types together. I just retired as an aircraft mechanic, 35 years around jet aircraft and I shoot a lot of pistol. I have worn the airline muff type prtectors religiously at work and when shooting but my hearing in the upper frequency ranges is shot. Handguns particularly short barrels or when shot indoors will exceed the capabilities of either muffs or plugs by themselves to prevent ear damage over the long haul. I wish I had known that years ago, I thought I was doing all that was needed to protect my hearing but that was not the case. Once it's gone you can't get it back.

RyanM
March 24, 2005, 09:32 PM
Doubling up on protection is definitely a good idea. In fact, it's even possible to triple plug, by using foam plugs jammed in the "inner" ear canal, silicone plugs stacked against the ends of those in the "outer" part of the ear canal, and muffs on top of those.

Extreme Hear-Os have the highest NRR that I'm aware of in foam plugs, 33. http://www.hearos.com/products-02826.htm

Double Maduro
March 24, 2005, 10:03 PM
At the risk of sounding silly, is it possible that he shoved some ear wax into the canal? I produce an abundance of this stuff and sometimes it helps to clean it out.

When I was in the Army, many years ago, they didn't use earplugs. All the shooting has hurt my high frequency hearing and given me a ringing in the ears.

Now I tend to double up.

I believe it isn't only the sound that hurts but also the vibration from long guns. The flesh over the cheekbone doesn't offer much dampening.

DM

porterdog
March 24, 2005, 10:46 PM
These are my favorite foam units, also 33 dB of reduction:

http://www.bluelakeproducts.com/earplugs.htm

Very comfortable IME, with a big flange to facilitate removal if you really squash them in...

SIOP
March 24, 2005, 11:04 PM
Eh?

JohnKSa
March 24, 2005, 11:04 PM
Ear plugs do offer some protection, however, especially at high levels, the bones around your ears can transmit the sound into the ear channels at levels high enough to still cause damage.

Muffs will do an overall better job of keeping the sound out of the ears. Doubling up is the ultimate in hearing protection.

Jeff White
March 24, 2005, 11:15 PM
You get what you pay for just like anything else....The foam plugs are about the cheapest good protection you can get. A lot of the cheaper muffs don't fit well and can be less effective.

I retired from the Army with a 10% disability rating for hearing loss. Small arms, artillery, aircraft and diesel engines all took their toll. I have tinitis (ringing in the ears). Hearing loss isn't anything to take lightly and it doesn't get better. I'd advise you to check with someone who works in occupational health for recommendations on what your father should use for hearing protection and don't scrimp on the cost.

Jeff

Bear Gulch
March 24, 2005, 11:47 PM
If your going with plugs get an audiologist to fit you with a pair. Believe it or not, improperly fit plugs are of little value and may damage your ears,e.g your dad's perforations. Muff are good and don't require fitting.

After years in shooting, tanks and artillery, I have about a 35% loss. I would encourage everyone to protect your hearing as much as is possible. I can't even hear it when I've had chilli!

Stevie-Ray
March 25, 2005, 12:10 AM
Porterdog's right, Leight's Max is about the best plug you can get. It's what we use at work also. I still double up with the Silenzio Magnum muffs. Doubling up ALWAYS adds to protection. Like to keep what little I got left. ;)

thorn726
March 25, 2005, 12:13 AM
He says he read online that no earplug will work for people who have perforated eardrums, that you have to use the earmuff type. Is this true?

my lady firend is an audiologist, i am trying to call her and find out .
i will post Asap best info.

DSRUPTV
March 25, 2005, 01:30 AM
My Dad needs to check in here for a bit. He has scrambled hearing now from shooting with no hearing protection when younger. He has a hard time hearing things when there is a lot of background noise. I made the mistake of shooting his redhawk before I remebered to put my muffs on and my ears had a slight ringing the rest of the day.

thorn726
March 25, 2005, 01:39 AM
my lady friend is an audiologist, has sold hearing aids for most of the big comapnies, works in offices all the time, in process of starting her own hearing aid business, this is what she had to say on it

mainly you are trying to avoid getting water in there-

She had NEver heard of someone being told not to use earplugs.

HOWEVER- here is the details-

first, the perforated drum means things are exposed to air that should not be , so can get infected, shouldnt get wet.

SO= wearing earplugs ALL DAY at a job or so on, is NOT a good idea, BUT, wearing them for short term IS OK.
after a long time, sweat/ wax can get in there and cause problems.

VERY IMPORTANT- she said the Biggest issue was the CLEANliness of the plugs, they need to be as sterile as possible.
the BEST bet would be to go to a hearing aid store/ audiologist , and get Custom earplugs, set up for total noise blocking
(they are actually avaiable with many different types of suppresion, of interest is musicians plugs which lower the level of volume without changing ANY freq response, very cool)

her end adice- that earmuffs offer very good protection, but custom plugs are better at stopping noise, actually in this case she pretty much said a good idea was BOTH plugs and muffs..


THE THING TO KNOW- custom earplugs, (around $50-80 dollars for staright nooise blockers) are WAY more comfortable and function with unmatched superiority.

they just need to be washed between uses, they are soft plastic/rubber.

SO = the info telling him earplugs are no good for him is FALSE.
it is true , with a perforated drum, he cannot wear plugs for 8 hrs straight, but an hour on, a few minutes off, not more than 2-3 hours in a day, no problem, with custom, CLEAN plugs, he'll be much better off. and again, muffs on top of the plugs, that would be Ultimate.

his biggest enemies are WATER and DIRT/Germs.

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