Perforated Eardrum and Shooting


July 25, 2007, 10:56 PM
Okay, so I found out a couple of days ago that I have a perforated tympanic membrane (aka eardrum from what I've found). This has me worried about taking up quieter hobbies like fishing and *gulp* golf. :uhoh:

What I'm curious about is, has anybody else here had this happen? And other than doubling up on my hearing protection and excercising extra caution, should I be worried about possible re-injury after healing? (Like will I have to shelve my big-boomer .45-70 and .50-cal muzzleloader for tamer things?)

Thanks in advance all, and yes, I have asked the doctor and she said just make sure to use my hearing protection. Of course, I thought of the physical forces of shooting the big-guns AFTER the visit.

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July 26, 2007, 12:07 AM
Have you tried active cancellation earmuffs? The electronic kind that use audio interference to reduce noise?

July 26, 2007, 12:08 AM
Or better yet -- get a silencer ;)

July 26, 2007, 12:09 AM
Ask more specific questions of your doctor and if she can't help, find another. I would not take medical advice from THR. (And I love THR!) As a person with some minor hearing loss, I can tell you it sucks bad.

July 26, 2007, 12:57 AM
You never stated what type of ear protection you use. Do you double up? I always do in indoor ranges. I have already lost half of my hearing in one ear (not related to shooting) i dont plan on lossing more, i always double up at the indoor range, and when shooting highpowered rifles out side too.

I have never heard of someone getting hearing damage shotting rifles or pistols with 33+ ear muffs and 33+ ear plugs fitted in your ears the Proper way, and fitting over your ears the Proper way

July 26, 2007, 01:12 AM
I've got partial loss in one ear from playing drums in school. I didn't help it when I foolishly decided to fire my 40cal without, just to see what it was like. Ringing for three days, and pretty sure a bit more permanent loss. Now I wear muffs (-33dBl) for anything involving loud noises. I don't double up indoors because there isn't enough getting through to bother me. If I were wearing -33 plugs, I'd probably have an issue. The muffs, though sweaty, help a lot.

July 26, 2007, 01:19 AM
Uhh,were you wearing hearing protection BEFORE you had problems?

July 26, 2007, 01:35 AM
I also forgot to add. Make sure you buy quality hearing protection. This is one thing to spend money on dont go cheap. Also earmuffs do wear out fall apart over time. So make sure to replace then, once in awhile.

the ones that live outside Orange County and the Bay area So what you dont think there are alot of gun lovers in Orange county, Well all my friend like guns lol.:neener:

July 26, 2007, 03:04 AM
The question is wht caused the original perforation? Was it infection, trauma, or noise?
Secondly, is it old, or recent.
If trauma and failry new, you can expect it to seal. Maybe. Kids have repeated perfs, and heal just fine. Some have lots of scars ont he membrane, at it loses some elasticity. Yes you can reperf.
Wear plugs AND muffs.
I have severe, but not profound loss, due to firefights (where you just can't wear any protection. I used cotton balls when we got on a helicopter, or made a jump (noisy damn C130's), but that wasn't much help. Wear the gear.
If you really want to spend some money, get custom fitted plugs. They are really nice.
I have a set of hearing aids that have no airhole. They shut off when the sound goes over 80 dB, and go back on when it drops below that level. Pretty cool. They cost 600 bucks apeice, but I think the fancy muffs work as well for a lot less.

July 26, 2007, 03:18 AM
Have you seen the new ear muffs.

They have 6 mics to pick up sounds, gives you surround sound, directional pick up.
Volume control
Increase low level sounds up to 250%, "super hearing"
Auto shut off when it gets above a set loudness.
Ipod hook up
Radio jack
led lights
Am/Fm radio
Oh and they stop loud noises

For around $70 and up. Not bad.

July 26, 2007, 09:40 PM
No idea how the perf was caused, and the doctor told me she couldn't tell how old it was specifically. It started bothering last Friday morning, and after talking with her about that day she seemed pretty convinced it occured then. Still unsure of the cause.

I have religiously used hearing protection while shooting for a long time now. As preference, I like muffs over plugs. I also have a set of custom molded silicon plugs I bought out at Camp Perry 2 years ago. After visiting the doctor, I picked up a comfy new set of 29-dB muffs I had been eyeballing for a month anyway. (Doesn't that figure? :mad:) The big issue with doubling up is that most people at the range don't like to speak up very much, so I don't always use both.

Guy B. Meredith
July 27, 2007, 01:49 AM
Unless your doctor tells you to worry, don't. Just take the normal care.

I have had both eardrums perforated--one twice--from wax buildup by the time I was 22. Painful experience until I found out what was going on and learned to prevent it. I have more hearing loss in the once perforated side.

My ears are still very sensitive to loud noises and I feel uncomfortable even a few hundred feet away from the firing line. I shoot all the time and double plug around handguns, some rifles, but can single plug for the Garand.

the ones that live outside Orange County and the Bay area

The Bay Area has as fine an array of indoor and outdoor ranges you could hope for in a citified environment--6 within 35 miles of my house.

It is a shame the state is overrun with transplants/immigrants, the real Californians would have a pretty nice place there without them.

Yeah. As kids this native and my brother dreamed of a six lane freeway either to the East or into the ocean for those out of state invaders. Conveniently forgetting that our folks were from Oregon and Oklahoma.

July 27, 2007, 02:43 AM
wanderinwalker - as somebody who has had the same thing happen before here's the deal:

often times it is caused by large rapid pressure differences such as diving into water, skydiving, etc.

Mine was caused by diving.

Depending on how bad it is, it could heal and it could not. If the doc said it would, then it's probably a minor perf. Mine was big and wasn't going to heal on its own. If that's the case there is surgery you can have to fix it (especially if it gets worse). It's called Tympanoplasty. I had it and all is well, I have almost perfect hearing (good enough to do studio recording, sound engineering/design, and write music as a hobby).

The downside to the surgery is there is a risk factor. For one you can have permanent partial face numbness if they accidentally sever a certain nerve during surgery. Fortunately, modern technology makes the risk much less than it was when I had the surgery nearly 17 years ago. Also, it is kind of scary to know people are cutting into your head. However, I highly recommend it as it makes life MUCH easier (your life goes back to normal!)

As far as hearing protection goes you'll want to maximize it.

Yes, you can have a reoccurance. Although as it was explained to me, because the whole thing is usually caused by large pressure differences I doubt going to the range would be enough. Sound pressure is large enough to cause hearing loss (and bear in mind that's usually due to mid-high frequencies) but I doubt you'll perf it again with good hearing protection. Probably without it and with the gun next to your ear - yeah that'll do it.... but with protection and the gun out in front, I doubt it.

[I'm not a doctor, this is all my opinion based on what I've learned from having this myself in the past and listening to my doctor - but none of this is professional medical advice, nor am I qualified to give professional medical advice]

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