A note to my fellow shooters


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HIPOWER
January 6, 2003, 06:14 PM
Hi folks. I write this post with a deep respect and admiration for all of you who enjoy our second ammendment rights responsibly. No doubt there is a brotherhood of shooters that not only share the same hobby but also many important values and morals. I hope to do some good to our community by posting this following concern.

I have been an avid shooter all my life. When I was a kid my brother and I would disappear into the woods on sunny summer days and just enjoy shooting...all kinds of long guns, handguns and every caliber under the sun. We were taught safety and responsibility with firearms, and I am thankful that we were. But the one aspect of safety we were never taught was the imporatance of hearing protection. I now wince as I remember how many times I shot without any ear plugs but never thought anything about it at the time.

Now at the ripe old age of 31 I have significant hearing loss and tinitus (ringing in the ears). I have learned to live with this fact, although the tinitus gets me down from time to time. Now I don't even clean a firearm without earplugs in! My brother and I still enjoy our sport together, but now I always double up with earplugs and muffs. Can't afford to lose any more hearing.

I learned the hard way, and my plea to you as fellow shooters is to remember this important aspect of firearm safety before it's too late. Especially you younger folks getting started. Please believe me that not protecting your ears will catch up with you. Don't worry about how "cool" or "uncool" it is to wear muffs. Protect your ears! Your hearing is a precious thing.

Thanks for hearing me out. Stay safe, and protect those ears.

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Larry Ashcraft
January 6, 2003, 06:28 PM
I was talking to my son (25) about this just Saturday. I'm 53 and when I was a kid my dad and his buddies would take us to their shooting sessions and fire their .270's, 06's and 300 Win mags and nobody used hearing protection. Couple that with many hundreds of shotgun rounds hunting birds.

I have that constant ringing in my ears (all the time, day and night) and my dad (75) is almost stone deaf. I always use hearing protection now and have for 25 years, but its too late to get back what I lost. :(

BamBam
January 6, 2003, 06:44 PM
Hipower,

You make a good point; too bad many wont heed your advice.

I'm a contractor and never run grinders, hammer drills, etc. without hearing protection. I can't remember the last time I saw anyone else wearing any.

I also notice that some of my friends don't wear protection when shooting.

ruger357
January 6, 2003, 06:59 PM
Well put point.

Spackler
January 6, 2003, 07:07 PM
Very good advice. My Dad also has tinitus, and has lost a great deal of his hearing. This is due to four years in the Army, and forty plus years of working in manufacturing plants. Although he wore ear plugs, that many years of constant noise has taken it's toll.

I wear plugs when using the lawn mower, weed wacker, power tools, etc. Safety glasses too. Protect your hearing and your vision. Do it now so you don't regret not doing it later.

Dennie Suman
January 6, 2003, 07:12 PM
I can remember so well the times my dad, brother, and I went to the range and spent hours shooting .357 magnums with no ear protection. Should have known that it wasn't normal for your ears to ring for a week afterwards!
Certain ranges of my hearing are gone forever, and I too have the constant ringing in my ears.
I am 56 years old, and one of my most used words is........huh?
I certainly recommend hearing protection any time you are around any loud noises.

St. Gunner
January 6, 2003, 07:17 PM
HiPower,

Amen. I am 27 and in the same boat, I don't have the constant ringing, but pretty good amount of hearing loss, those little quiet soft womans voices I don't hear so good. I started out and always used hearing protection to practice but neglected it hunting. After to many years in the dove fields and duck blinds it started to get bad.

Spackler,

Good deal on the shooting glasses, I bought some yellow lensed glasses and wear em all the time. I shoot some older guns from time to time and never trust em totally. I've found that the yellow really makes things look sharper. I know my iron sight shooting has really improved.

I got my first eye scare a couple years ago when I flipped up my welding mask and got smacked in the eye by some grinding sparks from my helper. Scared the crap outta me. I wear em all the time now, even to hammer nails when I do that.

Blackhawk
January 6, 2003, 07:21 PM
Excellent reminder! :D

My hearing loss and tinnitus was courtesy of military airplanes even though I always wore ear plugs and helmet.

If something doesn't get your hearing, something else will. What breaks my heart is that so many people have profound hearing loss from loud music. :(

Shootin? Ear plugs and muffs, always!

Zander
January 6, 2003, 07:26 PM
What breaks my heart is that so many people have profound hearing loss from loud music. Indeed...we are raising an entire generation of young folks who have permanently damaged their hearing.

'Course, listening to bad poetry set to boring music played at high-decibel levels will do that...

AZTOY
January 6, 2003, 07:35 PM
What breaks my heart is that so many people have profound hearing loss from loud music.

I 'm one of them:( .

Lord Grey Boots
January 6, 2003, 07:42 PM
I learned early and avoided damage. I have some high frequency loss due to exposure to high speed impact printers almost 20 years ago.

These days, I use ear protection whenever shooting, or using any sort of high speed power tool (circular saw, lawn mower, leaf blower etc) and eye protection as well.

I like hearing the voices of young ladies, and being able to see them....

Redlg155
January 6, 2003, 07:51 PM
Lost a bunch of mine in Artillery. You can't wear them 24/7 there and sometimes you are asleep during firemissions so you of course can't put them in. It's amazing how a tired soldier can sleep through a battery of 155mm Howitzers firing and swear no one shot a round when you woke up. :D

Now an unprotected shot from a .357 mag can set my ears ringing for days.

Protect your hearing folks.

I'd be a terrible Mall Ninja candidate. I couldn't hear a foe attempting to do a stealthy approach through a cornflake factory.:D

Good Shooting
RED

Average Guy
January 6, 2003, 07:56 PM
I'm sure I shot lots of .22 outdoors w/o protection, but I'll tell you--it only took one shot from an AR-15 to convince me of the need for plugs. Now I double up at the range, too.

And about those loud concerts--amazingly, they sound even better with plugs. :)

Mauserlady
January 6, 2003, 08:00 PM
This is one thing that hubby stressed and still does since teaching the girls and I to shoot. NO ONE fires without first checking to see if EVERYONE has "their ears on"...

What I'm curious about is military... Do they/you wear ear protection during training? What about in real combat situations?

Redlg155
January 6, 2003, 08:11 PM
What I'm curious about is military... Do they/you wear ear protection during training? What about in real combat situations?

Answer to 1. Yes. Do we always or is it practical? No.

Answer to 2. On the ground..No. Ear protection is limited to dirty fingers in the ears whenever you hear "FIRE!" or "FIRE IN THE HOLE!".

Good Shooting
RED

Mauserlady
January 6, 2003, 08:20 PM
Thanks for answering Red, pretty much what I thought...

RobW
January 6, 2003, 08:38 PM
I was playing in a Rock-Band from the mid to the late 60s (not good, but VERY loud) and lost nearly hearing on my left ear (where my position at the speaker was) with the constant tinnitus.

Sins in the early years will be retaliated! There is NO Dorian Grey painting!

Wide brim hat, glasses, and ear-protection are a MUST if you don't want to wear hearing aids, a white cane, or some scars in the face.

Yohan
January 6, 2003, 08:39 PM
http://www.standox.com/images/standote/arbsich/S1502.jpg
http://www.jcind.com/mailers/images/thumbs%20up.jpg

JPM70535
January 6, 2003, 08:41 PM
Me too.


When we grew up in the Fifies it wasn't cool to wear ear protection just to shoot a few 22s, they"re not loud . HUH!

If we didn't need to protect our ears shooting 22 rifles, then we certainly didn't need them for 32 cal.revolvers. Couple that with discharging 12 ga. shotguns while in hunting mode , ands it is no wonder my friends and I all suffer from tonitis. It's just a good thing I've got a "Hearing Ear Wife"

On a serious note. I won't shoot anything without hearing protection and I make it a priority to see that my sons do the same. I miss hearing the squirrels barking from up in the trees>

Greybeard
January 6, 2003, 08:41 PM
Yep, great advice. Or, in a crowd or with any other type of background noise, start learning to read lips early. :(

Island Beretta
January 6, 2003, 08:45 PM
I always have one within earshot.. I also take annual ear tests!!:)

CAP
January 6, 2003, 08:55 PM
I learned early from working in cabinet shops and running all kinds of saws and the like that hearing protection is a MUST.

All the old timers I used to know are as deaf as belfry bats now. :uhoh:


CAP

sm
January 6, 2003, 09:05 PM
Good advice, reminder for all.
I always for the most part wore something, as a kid, wax plugs, cotton. Exposure to something years ago affected for a while, pretty much ok now, still hear tones some don't, don't hear some I should...Doc said I was in normal range..surprised becaused once lost not regained. My body does weird stuff like that anyway.

Uncle Ethan
January 6, 2003, 09:12 PM
Lost all my upper range and have tinnitus from shooting, racing cars, and loud music. It was fun but it wasn't worth it. Now I do this :neener:

Guyon
January 6, 2003, 09:13 PM
I didn't take up hunting until the past few years, so I avoided the larger calibers without ear protection as a youth.

But I too shot .22 rifles without hearing protection. No telling how much hearing I lost because of it.

Butch
January 6, 2003, 09:24 PM
When I was a kid ( about 40 years before Moses left Egypt ) we shot 22's every day & lots of them . Never shot much of any thing larger til I got drafted into Unc's army but my hearing was damaged beyond hope . I can't, quite literaly , hear it thunder now.
Use the protection , even for 22 rifles, they will destroy your hearing.:uhoh:

King
January 6, 2003, 09:24 PM
"Hearing" you guys loud and clear........protect your ears!

dairycreek
January 6, 2003, 09:38 PM
I can't tell you how many of my friend who are now in what is euphemistically called "later life" suffer from impared hearing. Each have a common story. That is, when they were faced with situations (shooting, loud work space, etc.) and had the opportunity to wear ear protection ----- and didn't!! Now they are sorry --- really sorry. Protect your hearing!! Good shooting:)

dairycreek
January 6, 2003, 09:44 PM
I can't tell you how many of my friends who are now in, what is euphemistically called "later life", suffer from impared hearing. Each has a common story. That is, when they were faced with situations (shooting, loud work space, etc.) and had the opportunity to wear ear protection ----- and didn't!! Now they are sorry --- really sorry. Protect your hearing!! Good shooting:)

jrhines
January 6, 2003, 09:55 PM
Go into any pro-music store that caters to rock musicians and you will see a large selection of ear protection. Look carefully at any performing musician surrounded by big speakers, and you will notice they are wearing them, especially the older guys. I saw my cousins go deaf from working with chainsaws and poaching deer (meat in the pot). My stepdad is almost stone deaf from a cabinet shop...I wear ear protection in my shop, outdoors working, on the range, never without 'em. Gave my son my good pair of electronic muffs, he shoots more than me!

J.Rhines
Seneca, MD

whoami
January 7, 2003, 09:29 AM
hehehe....if I had a choice, I'd prefer to have done it by shooting.....

I have a consistent slight ringing noise in my ears, enough so that with much background noise (like, say, at a cocktail party) I tend to not hear clearly higher pitched voices. And how did this wonderful event occur?

When I was 19 or 20 (26 now), my family was boarding a plane in Europe. We were flying to somewhere else in the same local, and it was a somewhat older plane...the one's where you can get on from the front, or from a stairwell that drops from the tail of the plane. It's engines were not on the wings but extended outward from the sides of the tail. Well, here I am, stuck with most of the family luggage...two bags in each hand and my own heavy backpack. They decided to board the plane from the rear...RIGHT IN BETWEEN THOSE TWO RUNNING ENGINES!!! I had no way of covering my ears, and they hurt like hell for about 3 days following. Ever since then I've had the noise........

If I'm outdoor, I do with a pair of muffs (31db)...indoor it's always double up with plugs and muffs. I figure I got off rather lucky, and I don't want to make things worse.

NewShooter78
January 7, 2003, 10:17 AM
Ever since I was a young aspiring musician I have more than not worn hearing protection. I always remembered the stories from famous older musicians that wished that they had worn some form of hearing protection back in the 60's and 70's but didn't because it just didn't look cool. I'm glad that I heeded their warnings. When I got into shooting it didn't take me long to buy my own set of "ears" after going to the range and not liking the one's that were there because they didn't cancel out enough noise. I don't even listen to the music in my car that loud, and reprimand my friends who try and turm my stereo up louder than I allow. They always tell me you can't hear the music as well when it is at a low volume, and I say no, you just can't hear it anymore because you've always listened to it too loud.

And ditto on the eye protection as well. After reading enough stories on TFL about bullet fragments coming back at people, I'm not going to take that chance either. But then again all the ranges I've been to absolutely do not allow you to shoot without both eye and ear protection.

10-Ring
January 7, 2003, 12:25 PM
Great advice! I have met many who have some level of hearing loss from either shooting or loud music (mostly the latter). I am currently trying to train my 15 y/o son to wear ear plugs at the music events he attends...shows, practices, etal.

NewShooter78
January 7, 2003, 12:36 PM
10-Ring

If your son feels a bit embarrassed, one of my old teachers told me that you can cut the foam ear plugs in half if they stick out too far and they should still be effective. Plus there are custom molded ear plugs that greatly reduce dbl levels even more than regular foam earplugs, but they do cost quite a bit more. Since your son is probably still growing these might not be the best choise for another couple of years, but it is probably worth consulting a hearing specialist about to get some price quotes on them.

PATH
January 7, 2003, 12:47 PM
Plugs and muffs. I have been told that muffs are necessary because the mastoid process has a hand in hearing. I double up all the time because hearing is a gift that can be lost forever.

KMKeller
January 7, 2003, 12:56 PM
My boy wears hearing protection to shoot his Red Ryder... mostly I think it's so he looks like dad :cool: , but it's a good habit to get into.

Russ
January 7, 2003, 04:22 PM
HIPOWER,

Sorry you had to learn that lesson the way you did. I've double up on the plugs and muffs for years. I guess I can thank my Father for that. I'm 47 and he taught me to protect my hearing when I was first starting out.

Sure hope they find a cure for tinitus soon. Lots of hard core rock and rollers have developed the same problem. I have heard interviews with a number of people with it and it sure sucks.

MR.G
January 7, 2003, 06:02 PM
When I was young, I shot a lot without hearing or eye protection. Now I have some hearing loss and ringing in my ears, probably partly due to shooting. Now I tell anyone who says that they want to try shooting that the first thing to do is to buy a very good set of shooting glasses and hearing protectors. Until then, don't fire a shot. The price of the best hearing and eye protection is a lot less than the cheapest doctors.

Jesse H
January 7, 2003, 06:14 PM
I cannot agree more.

When I first started out I was using those foam disposable ones that work quite well. Then I realized I was shooting more often so I went and bought some re-useable earplugs.

For a long while my shooting never improved. I flinched alot despite dry-firing fairly often.

Finally got a set of good Peltor muffs. Groups really did tighten down.

Jesse H
January 7, 2003, 06:14 PM
I cannot agree more.

When I first started out I was using those foam disposable ones that work quite well. Then I realized I was shooting more often so I went and bought some re-useable earplugs.

For a long while my shooting never improved. I flinched alot despite dry-firing fairly often.

Finally got a set of good Peltor muffs. Groups really did tighten down.

mnealtx
January 8, 2003, 02:02 AM
I was born with a high frequency loss (was 3 months premature). I don't recall a time in my life where I DIDN'T have tinitus.

Growing up shooting a .22 rifle, always had some sort of plugs, usually those wax things. Always use plugs or muffs at the range. Still, due to on-the-job noise I've lost a bit more. (no way to "plug up" when equipment alarms are, to me, faint beeps - I'd never hear them plugged!)

I'm now trying to get information about hearing aids with the suppressor circuitry built in. Won't help with noise at work, but I can turn the volume down then.

One of the first things I taught my daughter when she started shooting was that EVERYONE wears "eyes and ears" - and she makes sure that we all have them on when we leave the gunshop to head to the firing lanes. Now that she's getting even more into music, I'm going to have her start wearing plugs along with the muffs.

<edited to correct bonehead spelling errors>

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