Those who served


July 30, 2007, 02:54 AM
Yea another question, this time something more than speculation.

Guns are LOUD, I mean I wear hearing protection all the time and there were a couple times where I didn't. I was outside shooting a 12Gauge and a 45 and I'll tell you all it took was one round and my ears were ringing.

For those of you who have seen action, did any of you go deaf? does the army issue earplugs? I mean you see all these movies and they never talk about that, and you never know what its 'really like'.

I would think after seeing some combat your ears would not be the same again, ever, unless you were wearing at least ear plugs.

thanks for your time.

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July 30, 2007, 02:56 AM
What? :scrutiny:


Stop muttering and speak up!:neener:

July 30, 2007, 04:19 AM
Army hands out some really neat earplugs that let people hold a conversation in a normal voice yet strongly decreases the perceived sound energy from firearms, trucks, and similar things.

If those are uncomfortable (one size fits most! ), one's only recourse is those uncomfortable yellow ones which are available everywhere.

M1 Shooter
July 30, 2007, 05:36 AM
Yes, when I was in the Army Reserves (1992-1993) we were issued earplugs. Of course they don't work if you don't have them in.

I posted about this in the "What is the most stupid thing you saw somebody do with a weapon in the military?" thread. I lost a good percentage of my hearing in my right ear when a so-called buddy decided it would be funny to fire off a full 30 rd. mag of blanks on full auto (we had M16A1's) next to my right ear. Needless to say, I didn't find it very funny. I was discharged shortly after for hearing loss, among other reasons.

Back when my Dad was in the Army (1965-1971) they weren't issued ear plugs. My Dad has been hard of hearing for as long as I can remember. My Grandpa is a combat vet who served in WWII and Korea and he has been hard of hearing for as long as I can remember also. They both attribute their hearing loss to their time in the Army.

July 30, 2007, 06:14 AM
My son suffered a bit of hearing loss; exactly how much, I don't know. However, he did verify that in a gunfight, you go through auditory exclusion--it still damages your hearing, but you don't realize this.

The incident that damaged his ears the most (besides howitzer fire) was when he and another Marine entered a room in Fallujah, Iraq. It was a fairly small room, from what he told me. There were two insurgents inside, armed with AK's.

No, he didn't give me details--but he said that he and his fellow Marine walked out of the room.

The insurgents didn't.

July 30, 2007, 06:27 AM
The Army issues combat earplugs, equivilant to electronic earplugs as you know it on the outside.

July 30, 2007, 07:12 AM
Glad yours does!

I forgot to put my ear defs on when working on a turret a coupla months back.
the Vehicle next to me started firing (30mm) and it took me a couple of minutes to clear my head

July 30, 2007, 08:30 AM
Flashbangs indoors especially in concrete buildings are very loud. Actually come to think of it I probably did the most damage to my ears indoors. Although I was issued hearring protection in the Army there were many times when it just wasn't safe to wear due to my need to hear commands. I guess the irony is you don't put in plugs so you can hear commands and once the shooting starts all you can hear is the ringing of your ears.

July 30, 2007, 08:35 AM
My first experience with earplugs was the remains of two camel cig's that I shoved into my ears while on tank ranges. They kinda worked. sorry, gotta go,,the phone's ringing and somebody's at the door.:D

July 30, 2007, 10:15 AM
While in Bagdad the first time an IED went off next to my 1114 I was temporary deafened. After a day I went to the TMC because my head was still ringing. The PA asked if I had my combat earplugs in. I thought he was joking, like "what is the color of your combat blank adapor". Then he gave me a pair of green and yellow earplugs. Yellow in your ear for combat and green in your ear for training. The next time an IED went off (car bomb) the earplugs blew out of my ears. After that I just stopped wearing them. Last week the VA said I probably had tramatic brain injury. At least the ringing in my head drowns out the voices.

July 30, 2007, 12:26 PM
I was in the field artillery in Vietnam and spent most of my time in a firing battery. I was assigned to a 8"/175 Self-Propelled (M110 and M107) and 105 Towed battery. There were the cheap push in ear plugs avaliable but you couldn't use them on the self propelled guns because you had to be able to hear instructions over the din of the 8V71T engine running to provide hyrdaulic pressure. There was an electric motor that was supposed to provide hydraulic pressure but ours never worked.

The 175 shot a 147lb projectile to about 32,000 meters and if I remember correctly with a charge of about 90 lbs of powder. You were not supposed to fire this charge standing on the gun due to the concussion and were supposed to use a 50' lanyard.

I've been on gun crews firing 1000s of rounds of 175, 8", 105 and probaly exposed to at least hundereds of thousands of rounds of small arms fire without hearing protection. I retired after over 30 years in LE and had been exposed to gunfire without hearing protection on numerous occasions. I have 80% hearing in my left ear and 50% in my right. I guess I didn't do bad as the Chief of Firing Battery (chief of smoke) had been in the artillery since 1940. When I met him he had nearly 30 yeras in the artillery (WWII, Korea, and this was his 2nd or 3rd tour in Vietnam) and you had to shout for him to hear you.

he did verify that in a gunfight, you go through auditory exclusion--it still damages your hearing,

This is true anyone who thinks the auditory exclusion saves your hearing is dreaming.

July 30, 2007, 12:29 PM
Helicopters did it to my hearing. Now I have imaginary cricket friends that hang out with me all day and night.

Nomad, 2nd
July 30, 2007, 12:56 PM
Me and one other guy wore the earplugs which shut out loud noised but let you talk...

After the first burst we were the only ones who could hear.
They were uncomfortable, but wearing them almost ALL the time you got used to it.

He and I are the only ones out of my Plt who came back from Iraq with 'No preceptable hearing loss' Everyone else has hearing loss and 'ringing' in their ears.

July 30, 2007, 09:51 PM
We sometimes had ear plugs or even muff-type hearing protection available when we qualified. Still, I wound up with 5% disability due to hearing loss in my right ear. :uhoh:

I remember one time, right before an IG inspection, we were all issued earplugs and told we were to always have them available should the IG ask. (As CID Special Agents, we carried weapons 24/7.) Soooo, I typed up a label for my earplug case: "Place one earplug in each ear after yelling 'Halt!' but before discharging weapon."

The IG thought it was hilarious. My boss didn't. :rolleyes:

July 30, 2007, 10:17 PM
In the USN back in the early 70's I don't know of anyone who had ear protection. And yes my hearing is damaged.

July 30, 2007, 11:05 PM
In Viet Nam, in the late 60s and early 70s, a lot of a Marine "grunt"'s
work was done at night. So hearing was a most important sense.
So, no earplugs at all for the guys in my outfit.
And when "tshtf", as it did more than enough times, there was a lot of
damage done to eardrums in a short amount of time.
Over a period of about 9 months, I had a Chi-Com grenade go off
2 feet from my head, an RPG hit 3 feet behind me, and an 81 mortar
short-round (ARVN) land about 10 feet from me. Actual flesh wounds
were minimal, nothing permanent. But my hearing is shot to hell.:cuss:
Maybe 50% in one ear, and about 10% in the other. And the constant
ringing and chirping is enough to drive you nuts.:banghead:

Semper Fi,,:D


July 31, 2007, 10:01 AM
I just got some info from Pro-Ears a few days ago and they had a story from a soldier who was using their electronic hearing protection. I'll have to find it and paste it in here. Was a good read.

July 31, 2007, 10:11 AM
Huh? What you say?

Ala Dan
July 31, 2007, 10:48 AM
While in "Uncle Sam's Army" in the (mid 60's), I NEVER was issued any type of
hearing protection; and boy, those M-14's sure were loud~! ;):D

July 31, 2007, 01:12 PM
+1 Walter and btw HUH ?

July 31, 2007, 01:21 PM
I am shipping to Fort Sills, Oklahoma to be a cannon cocker. I intend on bringing plugs for myself. :D

Rufus Pisanus
July 31, 2007, 01:30 PM
In the Italian Army in the eighties they didn't provide any ear protection so I brought my own and used it whenever I had a chance. Earplugs were also useful when trying to sleep while Leopards and M60 tanks were roaming nearby...
Probably thanks to that my hearing is still pretty good.

July 31, 2007, 01:38 PM
I can tell you alsolutely, there was no earplugs issued from Oct 63 - Oct 67. I have lost a lot of my high fq hearing, and seem to do a lot of "sorry, I couldn't hear that"


July 31, 2007, 02:25 PM
when I was at U-Tapao AB Thailand in 67. The engine trim pad was right next to the metal building where we worked on the bomb racks. Even muffs did not help when 8 J57s with water injection running full out about 100 feet away....The VA gives me enough each month to keep me supplied with good whisky.....chris3

July 31, 2007, 04:55 PM
Would regular ear plugs be good enough to prevent hearing loss with a firearm? as in the ones for a dollar, that you twist and insert?

What would you guys recommend for hearing protection, as in earplugs

July 31, 2007, 09:35 PM
I lost some of my hearing in my left ear more than my right. The thing is you really do not notice the noise as you are shooting. When it is over, there is a nice ringing in your ear, especially if someone was next to you shooting, or some close explosions happen. It is just like hunting, when a bird goes up you shoot and really do not notice any noise. At least I do not.

July 31, 2007, 10:20 PM
For me it was 400Hz generators (combined with small arms, artillery and the odd "big boom"). --not nearly as dramatic as a firefight but those mosquitoes refuse to go away. . . .

NOTE TO wideym: welcome to THR. I've listened to the voices since 1980. They don't go away but, with time, they can be accomodated. . . .

Rufus Pisanus
July 31, 2007, 10:48 PM
Would regular ear plugs be good enough to prevent hearing loss with a firearm? as in the ones for a dollar, that you twist and insert?

What would you guys recommend for hearing protection, as in earplugs

I am no expert but I would guess that they are enough in the open (and certainly better than nothing). Indoor and depending on the firearm one might well need more. Once in a practical shooting competition I had to shoot while laying within a big metal pipe and my 9mm echoed worse than a 44 mag! It was very loud despite good ear protection.

July 31, 2007, 11:01 PM
My dad was in WWII. He was a tank driver and the ear toward the gun was totally deaf by the time he was discharged.

1911 guy
August 1, 2007, 10:04 AM
What did you say?

I've got some hearing loss, but not terrible. Background noise does me in every time. I have a hard time having a conversation in public places or if there is a T.V. or radio on.

I also get a loud ringing in my ears occasionally. Probably three times a month. Nearly deafening.

As for the voices, they don't bother me. I just poke them with a Q-tip.

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