On Hearing Protection...


Dave McCracken
June 6, 2005, 11:30 AM
The Audiologist broke it to me gently.

"Mr McCracken, you have good hearing up to about 2K Hertz. Above that, your ability to hear is quite attenuated. Unfortunately, there's not much that can be done to help you. The Tinnitis may be reduced a bit through medication"....

Most young people hear well into the 20KH range. I'm 58, but the big reason my hearing is so bad is noise, plain and simple. Tinnitis is hearing crickets, peeper frogs and hisses that live only inside my head.

I shot a 22 first at maybe the ripe old age of 5. No hearing protection.

I shot a shotgun for the first time around the age of 9 or 10. No hearing protection.

The first time I used protection was basic training.

My ears have endured gunfire, jet engines, chainsaws, explosions, unmuffled piston engines, and enough rock music to deafen anyone both as spectator and performer. 20 years in front of a wall of amps leaves its mark, and not just on Ozzy.

The Otolaryngologist wasn't as diplomatic as the Audiologist. "What your ears have endured is decades of abuse. Take up golf"...

Now to watch TV, I have a remote speaker near my better ear so the family can stay in the same room with me. In a crowded room, I cannot follow a conversation.

Wanting to keep what little I've got left, I asked some questions and got answers of less comfort than I like.

The Ear Doc again.....

"A shotgun's report is on the order of 150 decibels. Good plugs will reduce that maybe 25 or 26 DB. That still leaves enough noise to create damage. You have to get the pulse under 95 DB before damage doesn't happen".

The disposable plugs I'm using at the moment help 22 Db's worth.My favorite Silencios run 26. IOW, further damage happens with every shot. There's three sets of muffs here, the best here is rated at 28 DB. The trouble is these do not stay on during the shot. So, no help there.

Using a long barrel and light loads do help a bit, but even a 28 gauge with 3' of barrel will hurt your hearing.

The Ear Doc recommended the Christmas tree style of plug, not because of its efficacy in reducing damage, but they are less likely to ram ear wax against the drum and reduce hearing and increase the chance of infection. That's why I went to him originally. He mined old wax from my ears and now my hearing is not as bad as before. Still bad though.

I'm trying out a new style of protection, its a ball of some clay like material that one does not insert like a plug, but covers the entire ear well and blocks sound. What one hears then is conducted by bone, and reduced in Db and effect. I'll also look for muffs that stay in place during the firing cycle.

The moral of this tale? Stay protected.

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A Cleaner
June 6, 2005, 12:10 PM
I'm sorry to hear the news, Dave.

Thank you very much for putting this out there and making everyone else more aware of the risks of hearing loss associated with gunfire.

A quick story:
I once had a female friend that was a classical ballet dancer. If you know any dancers at all, you know that their feet endure endless abuse and after a particularly long rehearsal can end up looking only a little better than meat falling straight from the grinder.

Once, my friend Jess says to me, "I hate my feet and I hate the way they look. I can't ever wear sandals because my feet would scare people."

I replied, "Jess, those feet look the way they do because you pursue one of your passions much further than the average person. Viewed in that light, they're beautiful. They are a symbol of your dedication."

Hopefully a little silver lining there. Thanks again.

Blue Line
June 6, 2005, 12:16 PM
My story is far too similar to Dave's so the only thing I can add is:


June 6, 2005, 01:02 PM
I lost hearing in the military, too, 3'50 cal rifles a few feet from my head, with sound powered phones as hearing protection...yeah, right!
I used to "try" a few rounds from my chosen personal weapon to "see what it really sounds like", when I was young and stupid. Probably another source of my hearing damage. I will probably be deaf before death. Oh, well, then I won't need hearing protection anymore....

Dave R
June 6, 2005, 01:44 PM
As usual, a well-written education for us. Thanks, Dave. Good advice.

June 6, 2005, 01:58 PM
Another "me, too!" here... :(

I've got hearing damage in both ears, the result of too many gunshots without protection (on patrol in a combat zone, you can't wear earplugs, as some of you will know all too well! :D ). I now double-up with plugs and muffs to save the remainder of my hearing, but as Dave says, there are some muffs that won't let you get the proper stock weld when shooting long guns. I must try some of the new miniaturized muffs, to see if they're any better in this respect.

June 6, 2005, 02:24 PM
Yeah, I was stationed at Ft. Rucker in the days before they issued hearing protection for helicopters. I think the best I ever got was cotton for my ears at the range.

Nowadays I wear EAR foam plugs underneath muffs. The EAR's are rated at 29 dB and the muffs that I have been using are rated at 26 dB attenuation. I can really notice a difference on the pistol range.


Dave McCracken
June 6, 2005, 03:01 PM
Thanks, folks.

A Cleaner, Photographer Annie Leibowitz took a pic of Barishnikov's feet for a Rolling Stone article. Like your friend's, they show the years of toil and abuse.

I just can't accept deafness as the price of expertise. As we all know, expertise comes with practice.

Note the advice to double up on plugs and muffs, everyone.

Preacherman, old friend from my youth was an artilleryman in Nam. Bronze Star, and at 58 he uses two hearing aids to get about what I have left.

A conversation between us must appear to outsiders like an argument. We both talk quite loudly to the other.

Fred Fuller
June 6, 2005, 04:42 PM
I went to work for Uncle Sam in the early '80s. When I inprocessed into my first duty station they gave me a full battery of exams to establish a health baseline, to include a hearing test.

That was after 20 plus years of shooting, much of it before anyone warned about using hearing protection. I had measurable loss of hearing 'way back then. You can be sure it made me a believer and I have used plugs and muffs religiously since, and insist on others doing so as well.

Dave, sorry to hear of your impairment. Glad it is no worse than it is, and thanks for the warning- well said, as usual.


June 6, 2005, 05:28 PM
Dave - I hope the younger guys heed your warning and make sure they are well enough protected. Hopefully these days there is so much more emphasis on this that most will be better off than we were.

I have lost some ''top end'' too tho knock on wood, not enough to make me struggle too much. How well tho I recall, 1960 thru 63, when shooting long range rifle with MkIV's at Bisley as an Army cadet (UK) - we had usually nothing - other than a twisted piece of cleaning patch stuffed loosely into each ear. Spotting for another guy was almost painful from his blast - and yet back then little was thought about the potential for harm.

For sure - hang on like heck to what is left!

Dave McCracken
June 6, 2005, 07:50 PM
Lee. I hope and pray they do also. Hearing is too precious to waste.

95, when I shot at Bisley in 68 or 9, everyone had plugs or muffs on. Great range.

June 6, 2005, 08:00 PM
Sl off main topic but yes indeed Dave - Bisley camp has probably one of the finest sets of ranges anyone can imagine. They shoot (or shot) The Queen's Prize there.

In those early years I shot 200 on the ''short'' range and for 500 we used the magnificent ''Century'' range.. Out beyond the Century, sorta buried away was the IIRC ''Little Siberia'' - which was the place for full auto's (grin).

Going up the other way from the 200 short were all the pistol ranges (I shot em all back in the 80's when going there for Pistol (insert year) whenever I could.

Even further up beyond those was the 1000 yard deal and beyond that the running deer range. I guess it is all about the same now but (sigh) so long since last time there - must be 1988 that was my last pistol visit.

OK - nostalgia over - for now! :rolleyes: :)

June 6, 2005, 10:42 PM
I'm 29 approaching 30, and have had tinnitus for the last 10 years or so (a mixture of shooting, loud music, & working arund industrial plants and equipment). I double bag with custom molded ear plugs from Ear inc. ( http://www.earinc.com/ ) and muffs. Together they give somewhere around 56-60db of reduction.

June 6, 2005, 11:45 PM
Sorry about the loss Dave. We're probably in about the same boat, except that I'm not quite 39 years old. Mine started going quite a while ago, and has gotten noticably worse over the past few years.

Funny how the combination of military service and recreational shooting can really do a number on your hearing. The past couple years, I've found that my tinnitis has gotten more irritating (to the point where I don't like total silence -- road noise while driving is an almost perfect white-noise cover).

For a while, I used either foam or custom plugs and muffs. However, when shooting rifles and shotguns I found that the seal would often lift open on the right side of the muffs... so I've gone to just the custom plugs. I use long barrels and light loads, but probably should look into some low-profile muffs to add on.

In any event, I watched my father-in-law go through social withdrawal due to age-related hearing loss. I'm determined not to suffer the same fate... even if I do have experience a similar problem. He was always shy and uncomfortable about his hearing loss and would try to pretend that he could understand what people around him were saying. I've taken the opposite approach and am completely comfortable with telling people I can't hear them very well, and will ask them to look directly at me and speak a little more slowly. Everyone I've ever asked to do that has been willing and happy to comply.

I do make hearing (and eye) protection a topic which is covered in depth with any new shooters I am introducing to the sport. There's no reason to screw things up any worse than they need be.

June 7, 2005, 01:02 AM

Sorry to hear the poor diagnosis.

Recently I went to a ear doc myself because I have lots of trouble picking words out of people's sentences and I have that nasty ringing in the left ear (the one usually pointing more or less forward when I shoot a rifle, a shotgun or even a pistol using my stance). Funny thing is the doc said I have no hearing loss, I guess his equipment knows better than me constantly having to ask people to repeat themselves because I would have sworn I did not hear what they said. Sure I can barely hear those audible beeps through a head set in a sound proof room, but that does not make it any easier to hear what anyone says to me.

Oh well most of my problems probably stem from working at an airport for 15 years and guns. The thing is I almost always use hearing protection and I often double up while shooting. I use both foam ear plugs and an ear muff type set of hearing protectors. The reason I use both is, as I have been told, because a lot of sound it transmitted into the inner ear not only through the ear canal but through the area around the ear. The muffs help prtect from this sound somewhat. The added foam ear plugs also help if the muffs get knocked out of place, such as when shooting a shotgun. Who knows maybe that is why I can hear those darned beeps so well. Now if only I could figure out how to stop the incessanr ringing in my left ear I would be a happier man.

All the best,
Glenn B

June 7, 2005, 07:47 AM
Dave, I'd like to know how the tinnitus medication works out if you decide to try it. Mine is so bad I can't hear a tree full of locusts - not entirely a bad thing come to think of it.

Cutting down on the caffeine and aspirin helps some.


June 7, 2005, 11:02 AM
Dave, the North-South skeet tournament is at PG Trap & Skeet this weekend, and I am sure there will be a big vendor turnout. You might want to consider going by there and dropping the $35 - $40 for a set of custom-molded earplugs. They definitely attenuate sound more than the over the counter foam plugs and similar, and will last a few years if taken care of. I have been very happy with mine.

June 7, 2005, 11:24 AM
I am sorry to hear that anyone has to put up with the hearing problems talked about on this thread. I have a couple of friends in the same boat and luckily they could afford some very expensive hearing aids that have given them back a degree of hearing where they can enjoy life a lot more.

As a note to the younger shooters,Hearing Protection Works! I have always been sensitive to load noises so I wore hearing protection for my comfort and not because I knew better. Luckily at almost 59, I can hear a deer walking long before most people can see him.

This is after four years of working on the flightline with the Marines and 32 years of Aircraft maintenance for a big airliner and a lifetime of shooting.

So Kids :D Always wear hearing protection. Muffs and plugs are best but anything is better than nothing.

Dang, My wife is calling me. Time to pretend I can't hear again! ;)

June 7, 2005, 11:39 AM
Huh :confused: :D

It doesn't help when the young people talk 90 mph and drop out their consonants :(

June 7, 2005, 08:35 PM
I make it a point to speak clearly and look at the person I'm talking to, especially older people.

I wear plugs while shotgun shooting but double up when I shoot pistols. I think the noise is why many people flinch, and anything to avoid that is worthwhile.

Dave McCracken
June 7, 2005, 08:51 PM
Chris, I shot on the 1000 yard range. I was alternate on the Base rifle team. But enough thread drift....

John, it's unlikely that I will take meds for the chirps and whistles. I'm on a massive amount of drugs now. Cardio Doc says I take more stuff than any other patient he has or had. I take aspirin on command, but caffiene and I are splitsville since the angioplasty last July. FYI, knocking off the java was harder than cigarettes.

I hate to add anything else to the list that doesn't deal with a life threatening situation, I've been fortunate in avoiding adverse interactions so far.

An aside:

This Doc told me the stent they installed came with a lifetime guarantee. That sounded good until I thought about it....

TR, I've been ducking noisy parties for years because I can't follow a conversation. That's not good, I'm a gregarious soul.

As for custom plugs, I may go that way to preserve what's left. Both of the docs in the thread start say hearing aids will not help.

Billy Sparks
June 8, 2005, 07:27 AM
Dave take a good look at the custom molded ear plugs. I have a set and hear them when shooting rifles and shotguns. Altough I am not quite 40 yet and got into shooting late I can tell I have lost some hearing. In case no one has noticed over the years they have started moving the sirens and airhorns off the top of firetrucks and ambulances to the bumper, etc. I started my second life in the fire/rescue service at a VFD in 1980 back then we plopped a 100 watt siren speaker directly over your head, then you had to turn the radio wide open to hear anything.

June 8, 2005, 08:48 AM
Besides guns, I was into hard-rock music (still am), and racing cars...So I'll just reinforce what Dave said to all the younger shooters out there...WEAR HEARING PROTECTION...My kids still don't get why I'm paranoid about them wearing hearing protection, but they know that I'm half-deaf, so that helps...But worse for me, anyay, than the hearing loss, is the CONSTANT noise(s) I have to put up with(was that the doorbell? Oh sorry, guess not!)

Now, of course, I always wear hearing protection, but its a matter of too little too late.....

Suspect alot of people in our age group are suffering with this, but let's not let the new generation of shooters do so....Its for the children!

Dave McCracken
June 8, 2005, 08:55 PM
Custom plugs it is. Will advise.

To our younger shooters. Let this be a lesson......

June 8, 2005, 09:07 PM
I don't know if I have enough of a hearing loss to register at the doctor's checkup. I've gone through that little audio machine with the beeps and came out fine according to him. I've even checked with a tone generator to see if I have full range of hearing without fading in the upper frequencies and it sounds fine.

However after one too many loud rock concerts, I've had ringing for many weeks which eventually died down to a very, very faint buzz that I can only hear in the dead of night when I'm trying to sleep. My ears will also sometimes spontaneously start ringing for a few minutes and die down again. It causes me to jerk and look around because it can be startling and I get looks sometimes.

At 22 years of age, it's scary enough that I double up indoors now. Outdoors the sound intensity drops off quite a bit and traditionally I only used cans and it deadens the sound very well. I also added additional stuffing to my cans so it adds a little more protection. However, I'm going to start doubling up outdoors or move to some high-end plugs since big cans are a pain to get a cheekweld.

In the military, do you get hearing protection during basic and your selected MOS/school training? I'm planning to go this route and I was curious (and nervous)

June 9, 2005, 01:29 AM
I had a friend of mine in the army who let loose with a 200 round belt of 7.62mm NATO out of an M240B machinegun. One belt, 70% hearing loss in his right ear. Almost kept him from going to Iraq...almost...

I've concerned about my hearing, and wear the best I can. My electronic muffs muffle 30db of sound, which is respectable, while still allowing me to hear conversations. I occasionally wear my 19db behind-the-head ones when I wear a hat or need the slimmer profile (i.e. when shotgunning).

I'll have to check with the local gun shops, the next gun show (I know they do this), or some of my industrial-worker friends to see where they get custom-fitted earplugs. I'm looking at both "passive" plugs just to dampen sound as well as "active" electronic ones that would allow me to hear things anyway. Combined with suitable electronic muffs, I should be able to hear everything around me without a problem, but be protected from shots. Even if the batteries die, I'll still be protected.

I'm only 22 and want to preserve my hearing as much as possible. I'm doing the best I can to preserve that, even mostly sticking to outdoor shooting (indoor shooting is a pain, literally).

June 9, 2005, 02:08 AM
As someone just getting into the sport who already has very slight hearing damage (too close to the speakers at way too many rock & punk concerts) what kind of hearing protection should i be looking for? (at the moment im just borrowing some random muffs from a friend of mine) Any recommended brands, etc? Or should i just be looking for the highest decibel rating i can afford?

June 9, 2005, 05:08 AM
Any recommended brands, etc? LEIGHTNING L3 (http://www.envirosafetyproducts.com/html/leight_hearing.htm)

June 9, 2005, 08:08 AM
Ill second the recomondation for Leightning EAr Muffs. I double up with those and foam plus. I do a lot of shooting at indoor ranges, so I will take what I can get protection wise.

I am considering getting custom plugs to use instead of the foam disposables, but will probally wait until after I graduate to worry about it.

Out of curiosity though, how many of us worry about hearing loss outside the shooting sports? While mowing the grass or doing other loud projects, do you wear hearing protection?

June 9, 2005, 08:44 AM
Originally Posted by ZenMasterJG
Any recommended brands, etc?


I just ordered two sets from their site.....being a musician, I'm already doomed from too many days around marching bands.....hopefully with these and a good set of molded plugs I can put off the eventual decline.

Thanks for the heads up!

June 9, 2005, 11:03 AM
I use the 32db foam plugs you can get at the pharmacy section of the grocery store and I use those big blue Peltor 10s which are supposedly good for 30db reduction. I picked up a pair for about $15 each from CDNN a few years back.

Even with the above, my ears start to ring during shooting, indoors or out. My ears start to hurt from the foam plugs as well.

The ringing stops after I take the plugs out.

Anyone have any idea what might be going on? Is the foam plug agitating my ear canal? Is the double protection not enough or is there going to be ringing no matter what and just having double protection on blocks out enough of the surrounding sounds so you can hear the slight ringing?

June 9, 2005, 01:12 PM
Dave (and all),

Thanks for the good reminder and for sharing your story. I usually double up with plugs and muff, but am now going to look at getting the molded plugs and some better ear muffs.

This has reminded me that I also need to use them when using some loud powertools and outdoor equipment. I have a gas powered hedge trimmer that will have your ears ringing after using it (you're holding that loud 2-cycle engine up closer to your head).


June 9, 2005, 02:42 PM
Even with the above, my ears start to ring during shooting, indoors or out. My ears start to hurt from the foam plugs as well. I know my tinitus is accentuated whenever I put plugs in, but it's not really noticable - maybe I'm used to it. Foamies should not hurt. You may be putting them in too deep, or another brand may work better.

I too almost always use double hearing protection (mickey mouse ears + foamies).

Dave McCracken
June 9, 2005, 03:51 PM
Got a set custom made today. I'll pass on how they do after a range session or two. Cost, $40. Db attenuation is, according to the installer, about 20 at vocal frequencies and nigh 60 up on the high end. We'll see.....

June 9, 2005, 04:13 PM
Good friend of mine is fighting this same problem for the past two years. One thing he is doing that is different is, mandable surgery, and wearing braces for teeth. He says this has cut down on the popping and crackle he was hearing. He rides motorcycles and races. He got the molded earplugs last year and talked me into it. Noticeable difference when riding or shooting. Still has the ringing but is better than befor. Hope it goes well for you.

June 9, 2005, 07:22 PM
Where would I go to get custom plugs? There's far worse things to spend my money on.

June 10, 2005, 12:21 AM
Most audiologists can fit custom ear plugs. Mine cost $65.00 and work very well. I use "Sordin" muffs. These are Mil Spec and cost about $265.00. They have enough amplification that I can hear range commands and normal conversation through the ear plugs when they are set on max amplification. They are also contoured to fit under helmets and clear gun stocks.

June 11, 2005, 02:13 AM
Thankfully I don't have tinnitus but like many of the other posters, I've been around loud music and other hi-dB sources all my life. Most of my damage is left-ear upper frequency stuff, which I believe is due to loud sport & race cars. The left side is dramatically worse than the right...

I use passive Peltor 'muffs at the range but will definitely start doubling-up with plugs too. The other day there was a guy testing a 12ga with magnum loads (indoors) a couple lanes over and that was pretty intense. I've already started wearing plugs at the racetrack, too.

June 11, 2005, 03:22 AM
Look for the highest Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) in both plugs and muffs. Foam plugs can be commonly had with NRRs of 30-33 and muffs come as high as 30. You can not stack an NRR 30 muff with NRR 30 plugs and get a total effective NRR of 60. Instead, you add them and then subtract 5 dB to get an effective NRR of 55. This means that the 150dB shotgun blast (most firearms have a 120-150 dB noise level) will only be reduced to 95 dB if using very effective hearing protection giving and NRR of 55. 90 dB is currently considered to be a "safe" noise level for an 8 hour day of exposure, but studies indicate that damage to hearing may occur as low as 70 dB exposure for a full day.

What company to buy from is less important than getting the maximum NRR and wearing them properly. The most effective muffs are the over the head variety. Foam or customs are the most effective plug types. Muffs need to be centered and cover the entire ear with the pad in full contact with your scull. Plugs must be inserted well into the ear canal and must expand to seal the ear canal (you don't have to shove them into your brain, but you do have to have them in the canal). Do not use noise canceling electronic muffs like those from Bose because they work on relatively continuous sound instead of pulse noise from gunfire. They're great with aricraft, but ineffective for what we do. Don't use the ones with radios in them that allow you to listen to music. They usually have low NRRs and you're just adding more noise into your head. I personally like electroinc muffs with clipping circuitry that cuts off the gunshot noise, but allows "normal" sounds under 85 dB. I wear the Peltors with NRR 33 foam plugs under them.

June 11, 2005, 04:28 AM
Another hearing conservation tip: Avoid indoor ranges when using high-power weapons. The sound energy bounces around and can hit you more than once. Double up on plugs and muffs and go to an outdoor range where the sound must travel a lot farther before it echoes back.

Dave McCracken
June 11, 2005, 12:47 PM
I went to PGC and shot a few trap rounds up on Range 12. The plugs work well, at least as well as Silencio Christmas Tree style plugs and better than the foam jobs. I recommend them highly.

June 11, 2005, 07:45 PM
Good to hear (har-de-har-har) that you like the new plugs. Mine are a few years old, and I think need to be replaced. I shot about 150 targets this morning, and my ears are ringing worse than normal right now. I noticed that I was having some trouble keeping the left plug sealed perfectly, and that's the ear which is ringing quite a bit.

I'll try my doc on Monday and see if he can clean out my ear canals... and then I'll have some new plugs made.

Dave McCracken
June 11, 2005, 08:11 PM
Play on words noted, TR. Good luck. The guy that made mine said they're good for a couple years.

June 11, 2005, 08:13 PM
Interesting reading. At 36 I have a touch of tinitus myself. Mostly from too much time blasting music with headphones, but also from shooting. My plugs slipped out at a poor moment a couple of years ago as the guy next to me touched off his .45. I can tell the difference in my hearing since then. I find myself using the subtitle function on DVD's more often these days.

A little digging around for higher rated plugs & muffs than I see at the local Wally World found these:

Foam plugs rated for 33NRR (http://store.yahoo.com/earplugstore/esobluffopln.html)

Silicone plugs rated for 33NRR. (http://store.yahoo.com/earplugstore/silnatrubear.html)

Earmuffs rated for 29NRR. (http://www.utilitysafeguard.com/s.nl;jsessionid=ac112b1d1f438373f9876d4a42499697def103acd2fa.qQvJq2PEmlnva30P-BbQmkLz-ATzr6Lzn6rzqwTxpQOUc30KaNDNo6XKq6zInRmLa3iL8QzIr6Lyp3aQa2TDpBfG-kfGaNmK8N4TbhqRbhmTc3exf2bCpQPz8QfznA5Pp7ftolbGmkTy?sc=25&category=3206&it=A&id=3077)

Another (a bit cheaper) brand of 29NRR rated muffs. (http://www.utilitysafeguard.com/s.nl;jsessionid=ac112b1d1f438373f9876d4a42499697def103acd2fa.qQvJq2PEmlnva30P-BbQmkLz-ATzr6Lzn6rzqwTxpQOUc30KaNDNo6XKq6zInRmLa3iL8QzIr6Lyp3aQa2TDpBfG-kfGaNmK8N4TbhqRbhmTc3exf2bCpQPz8QfznA5Pp7ftolbGmkTy?sc=25&category=3206&it=A&id=3076)

I like that for the plugs they have sampler packs for three different sizes to help you find the ones that fit your ears best.

Does anyone else have any recommendations for hearing protection? Especially on the affordable end?

June 12, 2005, 01:10 AM
Another thing to checkout is the ear cushions on your muffs,ordering gell filled gives a better seal around the ear.

June 12, 2005, 04:34 PM
Bryan -- excellent website on the foam plugs -- thanks!

June 12, 2005, 07:42 PM

Just for the record I've never purchased from them so I have no idea what their service is like. I just did some quick searches for 33NRR rated plugs and that was one of the first to pop up. Same for the site selling the earmuffs.

June 13, 2005, 02:18 PM
OK -- I'll let you know how they do! :D

June 13, 2005, 02:39 PM
I'm only 20 and my hearing is fine, but I'm still angry at my father and grandfather for not making or even suggesting I wear hearing protection when shooting .22s, because 'you don't need hearing protection with those little guns'.

Blue Jays
June 14, 2005, 12:20 AM
Hi All-

Another thing to keep in mind is that hearing damage is cumulative. The loud Judas Priest concert you attended without hearing protection in 1984 has had a negative impact on what you're hearing now. Same thing with the lawnmower you used as a kid. For that reason, protect your ears whenever you can. Commuting to work by train followed by a walk through city streets? Plugs in your ears until the moment you enter your office.

Going to the movie theater? They're notorious for extremely loud volume settings. I put plugs in before the previews start.

Going to see Judas Priest on the Retribution 2005 tour? Plugs should be in before they dim the lights.

Enjoy riding motorcycles? Secure the best NRR foam plugs. Wear beneath your full-face helmet...which will also help cut noise. Good luck!

~ Blue Jays ~

pete f
June 15, 2005, 12:54 PM
When i started being a union carpenter many years ago, it was against union rules to wear ear protection because you were deemed to be Unsafe from not hearing a yelled warning, (it was actually because the oldtimers thought you were a pansy to need them) so after many months of nailing baseboards in empty apartments with a pnuematic nailer I was getting ringing in the ears every night. After a trip to the doctor, I was given Dr. orders to wear ear protection and given drops which helped greatly. Tinninitus (sp) is caused by echos in your head which would not happen if you had not destroyed the tiny hairs which used to deaden those echos.

Forcing all people around to wear ear muffs or plugs is big. I have noticed that not all loads make the same sound, or generate the same SPL. I recently switched to Inter. clays for my shot gun powder because it is significantly less loud than other powders, do not konw how but it is. stand behind a trap range and listen to the various guys shooting and you may hear as i did one guy who is a good bit quieter than the others then ask him for his load data. I have also found that titegroup is less loud in my 45 too.

The navy now has a pill that supposedly reduces the impactof noise on the human ear.



June 15, 2005, 09:22 PM
Order placed with the web vendor linked above...will report on what and when. S&H was very reasonable -- about $3.50 for US Mail.

June 16, 2005, 01:27 AM
I do Civil War Reenactor(sp?). On the line I have noticed that once the battle gets going (the shooting starts) the hearing in my left ear will go to crap. whats got me confused is why regardless of where I am in relation to the others on the line it just happens in the left one.

Why is this?

Blue Jays
June 16, 2005, 01:50 AM
Hi Silent-Snail:

Please tell me you're making a break from historical accuracy and wisely using earplugs!

~ Blue Jays ~

June 16, 2005, 01:54 AM
The left ear is the first to go in right handed people, because it's the ear closest to the muzzle.

June 16, 2005, 02:07 AM
Dang...im really sorry about that. :what: :eek:

Ive got to get soem hearing muffs now...for what little shooting ive been doing ive been using foam earplugs...they make a noticable sound difference, but its obviously not enough.

I dont think ill go shooting again until i get some muffs to use with plugs!

I wouldnt go shooting again in two weeks anyways, so i may as well...

June 16, 2005, 05:12 AM
At the time of the last event I was able to attend I did not use protection. However the next time and on I will be.

June 20, 2005, 08:58 PM
Order placed with the web vendor linked above...will report on what and when. S&H was very reasonable -- about $3.50 for US Mail.

Order arrived today by first class mail (my choice; was cheap). That's five days and only three business days since my order. Got exactly what I ordered -- 50 pairs of the Leight 33dB foam plugs. Great service and reasonable cost...hard to get too excited about a big padded envelope full of earplugs... :D

confed sailor
June 22, 2005, 06:53 PM
bagpipes, cannons, and shotguns.

im 22 and already have occasional bouts of tinnitus,
as the bass drummer in a scottish bagpipe band, 20 pipers will surrounded me and blasted me with a hurricane of sound in multiple ranges, couple that with a few near concussions from cannon blast, and a good 7 years of skeet

i pay oh lord do i pay.

now i double with plugs and muffs,

July 4, 2005, 01:04 AM
The first gun that I ever shot was a .410 (I believe) shotgun at a YMCA camp over 40 years ago. We weren't given any eye or hearing protection. I shot guns for years after that with inadequate hearing protection, and I certainly have hearing loss (not the selective type, as my wife says, but bonafide hearing loss). I wear the heavy-duty non-electronic Leighting muffs at the indoor range but do not also wear ear plugs because my hearing is impaired, and I cannot hear any conversation or anything at all with the muffs unless someone is practically screaming at me. I am seriously considering getting a pair of the Sordin Supreme PRO electronic muffs. I know that at $235.00, they cost twice as much or more as the Peltor and comparable muffs. Has anyone had experience with them? Is it worth the price in my situation?

December 29, 2005, 02:26 PM
As a kid I not only fired a .22 and a .410 outside sans ear protection, but the NRA range that I used for target practice never recommended any ear protection. I also used to ride on top of the weed sprayer, behind the tractor, as a cloud of 24D wafted up around me... without even thinking about a mask. I wonder if this explains why I sometimes leap three feet out of bed an night during a sound sleep, for no particular reason? And all this time I thought the Lord was calling me to some task that demands great agility...

Seriously though, I don't see why the technical problem of noise reduction is much greater for "pulsed sound" than for a continuous sound like a jet engine? The only issue would be response time, because one gun report is about the same as any other. The details of the sound signature can't be that unique, so if the electronics were fast enough it could be triggered by any sound above a certain decible level and then progressively "dialed in" within a matter of microseconds. Such circuits are certainly technically feasible, although it might be prohibitively expensive to develop them for such a small customer base.

January 4, 2006, 12:31 PM
Like many others here I started shooting in another time. Those early rounds plus chainsaws, lawn mowers and rock music took their toll. Then I joined the Navy and fired more guns. Usually we used these fairly inadequate christmas tree like plugs when qualifying with .45ACP 1911A1 and M-1 Garand, but off the training range I fired a Thompson SMG and 12 ga. riot guns w/o hearing protection. The combined effect of the above was that I had tinitus by age 22.

I started wearing serious hearing protection for shooting in 1978 and remember taking my muffs off only to discover a speedloader I'd missed. So I loaded the gun and fired one round of full house 158gr .357Mag from a 4" Ruger -- wow, that physically hurt. My ears were ringing the rest of the day. By this time (age 26) I still had tinitus and hearing was about 55 dB down at 6KHz. Now I'm about 60 dB down and anytime I choose to listen, the ringing/chirping is there.

These days my typical hearing protection when shooting clays is a set of fitted plugs which work very good with shotguns. When I shoot high power rifle I wear the plugs and a pair of Peltor Tac-6 muffs so I can hear range commands. For handguns (indoor) I wear the plugs and a set of serious muffs. At work on the flightline I wear just the fitted plugs and when I fly I wear the foam type plugs under my headset. Adjust the volume up to account for the 22 dB reduction and it works quite well.

Recently I bought a Noise Reduction headset for listening to music or DVD sound when I watch a movie on the laptop -- they're great. The ambient noise is significantly reduced which allows me to reduce the headset volume and still hear better.

January 4, 2006, 02:04 PM
Thanks for the heads-up, Mr. McCracken.

*runs off to buy another set of muffs and a sack of earplugs from Wally-World*


Spec ops Grunt
January 4, 2006, 09:03 PM
I'm sorry. I'll listen to your advice.

January 4, 2006, 10:23 PM
one more in the boat, between hunting with various 12 guages and a muzzleloader, and 5 years of military service so far I've lost just enough hearing in my left ear to be just below the official deaf range, although its only across a certain freq. range. my right ear is perfectly normal though, makes sense being right handed. I tell you what, sitting next to a Ma Duce as the assistant gunner is physically painful even with foam plugs and hands over the ears.

Oleg Volk
January 5, 2006, 02:02 PM

January 5, 2006, 06:51 PM
wow, only 2kHz? ouch.
i bought some "christmas tree" style baffled plugs at bass pro on the last trip. hated them. they hurt like hell, so i went back to the old foam jobs.

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