So... does hearing damage still occur or accrue WITH hearing protection?


PDA






BHPshooter
June 28, 2005, 01:58 PM
I cannot claim to have ever had perfect hearing since I've started shooting (I did landscaping-lawnmowing for 10 hours a day for 2 summers in high school, with the headphones on over that for entertainment; a concert here and there, working on cars with no exhaust -- I knew no better). I have shot once without hearing protection when I was young, but never since I have owned my own guns (excluding hunting :uhoh: and I haven't hunted in about 5 years).

But it seems like the tinnitus has changed in the last month or so.

It seems like the ringing doesn't last as long, but comes on in differing ways now. Sometimes low tones/keys, sometimes high... sometimes it lasts for a few seconds, sometimes a few minutes...

Do you still get hearing damage (even though it may be very small amounts) when you wear hearing protection while shooting?

Wes

P.S. I usually wear either Radians Electronic earmuffs or banded earplugs that seal so good I usually have to read my buddies' lips. Do I need to double up?

If you enjoyed reading about "So... does hearing damage still occur or accrue WITH hearing protection?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Pilgrim
June 28, 2005, 02:22 PM
In short, yes.

With muzzle blast volumes up around 140 decibels, hearing loss setting in at levels above 85 decibels, and quality hearing protection only reducing sound by 25-29 decibels, you can see there is a small gap in protection. That is why people who have suffered significant hearing loss try to protect what hearing they have left by wearing both ear plugs and external ear protection.

Pilgrim

JohnBT
June 28, 2005, 02:31 PM
The skull transmits vibrations to the middle and inner ears as does the mastoid bone behind each ear. Large muffs cover some of the mastoid bones, but not all.

Tinnitus is aggravated by caffeine, aspirin and lack of sleep among other things. Avoid indoor ranges and covered outdoor ranges if they're busy.

John

nickthecanuck
June 28, 2005, 02:34 PM
what?

nickthecanuck
June 28, 2005, 02:36 PM
Seriously though, I notice my ears ringing after time at the indoor range with either plugs or muffs. Never when I double up though.

sssteinkamp
June 28, 2005, 02:39 PM
I wear plugs and muffs. I also keep my mouth closed when I shoot.

Of course, when I was young and stupid, I did a lot of damage to myslef. :(

Tinitus isn't so bad once you get used to it...

Shane

El Tejon
June 28, 2005, 02:45 PM
Sure does!

*ahem, shamelessly plugs own legislative proposal* Move suppressors to Title I now and include federal preemption!

DarthBubba
June 28, 2005, 02:57 PM
Yes some damage can still occur,

Not only can some nerve damage still occur from loud noises, you may also get some concussive damage to the chain of bones and cochlea depending on the size and suppression method of the gun being fired.
No suppression on a large rifle or hand gun equals more concussive force from the bore in most cases.
You can gain some extra protection by doubling up but if you follow some of the OSHA guidelines as well, like removing yourself periodically from the area of concussion for a period of 10 minuets in order to give your ears some rest you will have years of trouble free enjoyment of the best sport on earth shooting.

Have fun and do not over do it,

DarthBubba :D

Lennyjoe
June 28, 2005, 03:37 PM
Tinitus isn't so bad once you get used to it
Only time I notice it is when I climb into bed for the night. The ringing is there but not enough to drive me batty.

osteodoc08
June 28, 2005, 03:43 PM
It is always a good idea to double up on hearing protection while shooting. There are 2 kinds of hearing loss. Conductive and Neural.

Conductive loss is the most common and can be alleviated with hearing aids. Damage is from the external ear to the inner ear. Most often the scarring causes a decrease in sensitivity to sounds.

Sensorineural loss occurs in the inner ear and/or the auditory nerve. In the chochlea there are tiny hairs called stereocilia. These stereo cilia are different lengths, kind like a set up of piano strings. Each vibrate at a set frequency. These "hairs" can break off and don't vibrate when they are supposed to, so hearing is impaired.

The reason I go into this is two-fold. All of the younger shooters need to be aware of this to protect thier hearing so they don't lose it later. Remember hind site is 20/20. Secondly, so all of the older generation can prevent further loss. Tinnitus is associated with deafness, so if this tinnitus can't be traced to other causes (medications, ear wax buildup, etc) then you need to get it checked out.

My father is losing his hearing, but he denies it. The radio/tv is always loud and he keeps damaging his hearing without realizing it. Guys, please take these early warning signs seriously.

osteodoc08
June 28, 2005, 03:44 PM
It is always a good idea to double up on hearing protection while shooting. There are 2 kinds of hearing loss. Conductive and sensorineural.

Conductive loss is the most common and can be alleviated with hearing aids. Damage is from the external ear to the inner ear. Most often the scarring causes a decrease in sensitivity to sounds.

Sensorineural loss occurs in the inner ear and/or the auditory nerve. In the chochlea there are tiny hairs called stereocilia. These stereo cilia are different lengths, like a set up of piano strings. Each vibrate at a set frequency. These "hairs" can break off and don't vibrate when they are supposed to, so hearing is impaired.

The reason I go into this is two-fold. All of the younger shooters need to be aware of this to protect thier hearing so they don't lose it later. Remember hind site is 20/20. Secondly, so all of the older generation can prevent further loss. Tinnitus is associated with deafness, so if this tinnitus can't be traced to other causes (medications, ear wax buildup, etc) then you need to get it checked out.

My father is losing his hearing, but he denies it. The radio/tv is always loud and he keeps damaging his hearing without realizing it. Guys, please take these early warning signs seriously.

Andrew Rothman
June 28, 2005, 04:42 PM
I love The High Road.

Where else can you find such high-quality information in such abundance, all for free?

Thanks, Doc. And thanks, Oleg.

Waitone
June 28, 2005, 05:12 PM
A simple and straightforward mitigation is to have the federales permit us knuckle-dragging baby killers the ability to use suppressors on our firearms.

Never happen, too simple.

Cesiumsponge
June 28, 2005, 05:29 PM
Hearing damage in general occurs after a certain duration of exposure at a given SPL. Granted everyone's ears may be tougher or more sensitive, but there are studies and charts that give an estimated exposure-til-damage chart. Different firearms have different sound pressure levels but most sources say it is 140dB-160dB, and the human threshold of pain is right around 120dB. Each 3dB gain is a perceived doubling of intensity since the decibel scale is logarithmic in nature. So 30dB protection will drop the perceived intensity by a factor of 10. Doubling up can give you about 60dB or so which would drop the intensity by a factor of 20, and put the sound you hear in the 80-100dB range.

Based on an industrial noise "fact sheet", it suggests "Regulations" (OSHA?) state no more than one hour per day of exposure to SPLs of 99dB, 2 hours of 96dB, 4hours at 93dB, 8 hours at 90dB...or 30 minutes at 102dB, or 15 minutes at 105dB (you can see the logarithmic nature in the pattern). Note that this is continuous industrial noise, not impulsive noises like gunshots. Still, it wouldn't be a bad idea to give your ear a rest every hour or so of shooting. You'll cramp up anyhow sitting on those wooden benchrests. :D

I switched to using ear plugs and muffs at the range if I'm not trying to zero anything or shoot at my maximum concentrated ability since the muffs can and do get in the way of a good cheekweld unless you have low profile ones. Using 33dB reduction foamies and a set of cheap amplifying electronic ear muffs that were rated 27dB reduction (before I added more acoustic fill, I'd guess ~30dB), it is very comfortable when shooting casually outdoors.

When I crank up the electronic muffs I can still do a good job making out what people are saying around me at a normal or elevated voice level even through the foamies are there. When shots are fired and the circuit clamps the amplifier, everything is almost silent. If I shoot with the muffs turned off, everything seems creepily quiet.

Try to double up with plugs and a muff, shoot for a while, then take off the muffs while retaining the plugs and shoot some more. The SPL difference will likely surprise you and will probably feel uncomfortable.

osteodoc08
June 28, 2005, 06:06 PM
Hey Cesiumsponge, I thought since it was a log base 10, that a 20 db change is a 10x SPL change and a 40db change is a 100x SPL change.
I looked up the equation in a physiology book and it states SPL=20 log P/Pr where P is the sound pressure and Pr is the reference sound pressure (usually 1). Regardless of all this mathmatical junk, it is best to just double up as stated above.

Standing Wolf
June 28, 2005, 06:10 PM
Hearing loss is inevitable to one degree or another. Being male makes one more likely to lose more hearing than women. There's a genetic factor involved—or several, more likely.

I believe the best hearing protection on earth will only reduce the damage cause by gun shots—but any reduction is for the better.

osteodoc08
June 28, 2005, 06:30 PM
but any reduction is for the better.
Yeah, its funny that you mention that. I just read an article the other day that selective male hearing syndrome actually exists! It is precluded by nagging wives and what not! We learn to tune out common frequencies and I guess that can include our significant other. You only hear them when they get pissy and by then its too late!!!!

Mongo the Mutterer
June 28, 2005, 06:55 PM
Yep the hearing issue goes with MALE CONGENITAL DIRT BLINDNESS. Remember guys ... we are Victims :neener:

Funny, I went to an outdoor range with a buddy, just him and me. I decided it had been too long since I popped a clip through the Kimber without "ears". I did. Ears rang for about an hour. Dumb.

We do have to be aware that in a personal defense situation we won't have time to get ears... :what: Need to adjust to the blast.

MechAg94
June 28, 2005, 07:03 PM
I used to work every day in a chemical plant with lots of big compressors. You used hearing protection everywhere outside or else. All the older guys had some hearing loss. I guess that experience makes me more sensitive or something. I have to double up when shooting at the indoor range I frequent or my ears ring or hurt.

My Dad has hearing loss from Vietnam and from working at Chemical plants back when all they offered you was cotton. My brother has some also from head phones. It can sneak up on you if you don't protect yourself.

Joejojoba111
June 28, 2005, 07:09 PM
The gun rags say that you can't add the db rating of the plugs and muffs together, and subtract it from the muzzle report. I think it said there's some redundancy, so you get maybe 80% value of your two protection devices.

Cesiumsponge
June 28, 2005, 07:21 PM
Hmm I just realized with a refresher that I made a mistake and used intensity and sound pressure interchangably. Both can be solved to units of decibels.

One will give us intensity over a given area (watts over square meters) and one will give us pressure (newtons of force over square meters). In that case, the square root of sound pressure should be proportional to the sound intensity. Then if the SPL is doubled, the intensity is raised 6dB. If the SPL is tripled, the intensity is raised 9dB.

It gets confusing because decibels can be used to represent intensity, and SPL can be represented in decibels as well. Add further confusion because a doubling in intensity is not a doubling in perceived loudness in a human being. Add to this that the response curve of the human ear from 20hz-20khz will vary, and that this response curve is not constant but changes with intensity!

If I don't have it right by now, I'm too lazy to go back and revisit it :D

I believe the best hearing protection on earth will only reduce the damage cause by gun shots—but any reduction is for the better.

On paper, if you can reduce the decibels of a gunshot to levels of those encountered in daily life, like a busy street, then the gunshot does no more damage than walking along the sidewalk on a main road. Of course, someone previously mentioned energy transmission through solid structures like bone structures. It ends up as a huge dynamic that is hard to account for everything.

Either way, there have been a few recent threads on hearing protection and most have agreed that doubling up is the way to go.

hso
June 28, 2005, 07:41 PM
All of us should be trying to get the greatest Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) that can be put together. NRR 30 plugs with NRR 20 muffs will give you an effective NRR 45 (add plugs and muffs, then subtract 5). If noise levels are 160 dB this gives you an exposure with plugs and muffs of 115 dB. The acceptable exposure time for this is 15 minutes total for the day. If the noise levels are 150 dB the resultant acceptable exposure time with the given plugs and muffs is 1 hour and 4 hours if the noise level is 140 dB. You're not going to find unsuppressed noise levels below 140dB with gunfire.

If you are shooting by yourself, roughly 100 rounds of 140 dB instantaneous noise in a day should not produce hearing damage. Put your plugs and muffs on and you get to shoot up to a thousand rounds without damage (louder ammo/gun and the allowable drops by a factor of 5). Shoot with other people and you have to add all the rounds shot cumulatively (10 people shoot 100 rounds and everybody's done for the day; toss a handcannon or 30 cal rifle in and your back down to 200 rounds cumulative) If you shoot on an indoor range then all the rounds fired while you are on the range go into your total. So you can see that it doesn't take very long on a range to have a thousand rounds popped off around you.

If you want to know what the noise level you are exposed to is you can rent noise dosimeters that you can wear. They will record the total noise exposure and present the information to you as dB. You can then subtract the adjusted combined NRR of your hearing protection to determine if you're getting too much exposure.

GT
June 28, 2005, 10:56 PM
This hearing loss thing must depend on the person.

I played drums in rock bands for years in my youth (if you have ever stood next to a drum kit while someone is playing you will understand the incredible loudness) and that also included monitor speakers blasting in my ears while we were rehearsing and playing.

Went to a lot of concerts and always stood in front of the stage or next to the PA.

I also worked one summer in a tin lid factory loading boxes next to massive steel punches....that was loud.

I also did a lot of photography at NASCAR races both in the pits and in the turns with no hearing protection.

Had my hearing checked a few years back and there was no loss....go figure.

And yet I still can't hear anything my wife tells me... it's kinda like the adults in those Charlie Brown cartoons (waa wa waaaaa waa waaaaaa wa waaaa).


G

PinnedAndRecessed
June 28, 2005, 11:51 PM
like removing yourself periodically from the area of concussion for a period of 10 minuets

A "minuet" is like a dance, or something, isn't it? So if we go to 10 dances we're o.k?

:D

Seriously, to remove oneself from the noise for 10 "minutes" after how long shooting?

PinnedAndRecessed
June 29, 2005, 12:05 AM
There have been several interesting threads about shooting and hearing loss.

One THRr actually gave a formula: "NRR 30 plugs with NRR 20 muffs will give you an effective NRR 45 (add plugs and muffs, then subtract 5). If noise levels are 160 dB this gives you an exposure with plugs and muffs of 115 dB."

Question: does anybody know what the various calibers produce in dB? The only charts I can find simply say that gunshots produce between 150-167dB.

I assume the lowest number is probably 22 long rifle from a rifle. But does anybody have a link to a caliber by caliber breakdown? (I only shoot 44 special velocities in 44 mag cases; 38 special velocities in 357 cases; and 45 midrange ammo.)

Thanks.

BHPshooter
June 29, 2005, 05:00 AM
Actually, I did change medications recently, so that may be it. Overall I'd say the "chirping" has reduced, it just concerned me that it was changing.

I guess I'll start doubling up from now on. The ringing is already about enough to drive me nuts at bedtime... I can't imagine how veterans must feel. :(

Wes

Zach S
June 29, 2005, 01:01 PM
Doubling up is a good idea, especially indoors. However, I have to admit that I dont always double up, except when shooting my AR15. I shot it indoors without doubling up exactly once... My thompson is amazingly quiet (I actually think the bolt is louder than the report), however it is a low-pressure round out of a 16" barrel.

I prefer earplugs over muffs, if I can only have one. I use these (http://www.e-a-r.info/_products_classic_superfit.htm) while punching heavy metal at work and at the range. I also used them when I ran mills and chainsaws at previous jobs. They're far from comfortable, but they work.

I just googled and found this webstore (http://shop.store.yahoo.com/earplugstore/eclsupvcfopl.html) that has them pretty cheap, they also offer trail packs with different styles and sizes of ear plugs, might be worth looking into.

gulogulo1970
June 29, 2005, 01:57 PM
I used to just use muffs. But now I double up (muffs and plugs), because every time I didn't my ears would ring for most of the day.

I injured my ears when I was 18 shooting a 12ga about 50 times without any protection. Stupid!

JohnBT
June 29, 2005, 02:22 PM
Heck, I'd done more damage than that by the time I was 5 or 6. :what: There was usually something to do like watching the men shoot the big shotguns; plinking with the little .22s or bolt action .410s; following the men around while they shot groundhogs with a .222. When I got a little bigger they'd let me finish them off with a .22 if they needed it. That .222 was a noisy sucker.

Then there were the firecrackers. Lots and lots of firecrackers.

John

roo_ster
June 29, 2005, 03:14 PM
I double up: foam earplugs & cheapie electronic muffs turned up full blast..

How cheap? Well, take a gander at this:
Twenty Dollar Electronic Ear Muffs (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=46798)
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/photos/46700-46799/46798.gif

No, they aren't stereo. No, they aren't built like a tank. And, no, they aren't the latest technology (they clip the sound off when it exceeds a certain level).

But, they are cheap and they do work for my purposes.

Using just plugs or just muffs seem terribly loud to me, nowadays.

redneck2
June 29, 2005, 06:10 PM
Standing Wolf saysBeing male makes one more likely to lose more hearing than women

The one making the noise doesn't go deaf. It's the one on the receiving end that goes deaf

:D

If you enjoyed reading about "So... does hearing damage still occur or accrue WITH hearing protection?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!