Are dB levels a factor in home defense weapons?


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Evil Monkey
August 8, 2007, 03:06 AM
I've been thinking about this alot lately.

Alot of people say they use shotguns for home defense but I suspect it would be VERY LOUD. You'd probably get hearing damage, right?

You can't suppress a shotgun but you sure can do that to a rifle or pistol caliber carbine. But what if your state doesn't allow suppressors? Would you put hearing loss aside and go forth with your rifles and shotguns or would you opt for a 9mm or 45acp carbine of sorts because they're quieter?

I learned that a 3dB increase is doubling the perceived noise. I've also read somewhere that an MP5 produced 157dB and that an M4 produced 165dB.....that seems like a huge increase! This means that the M4 is more than 4 times louder than the mp5, right? :what:

So if you couldn't get suppressors in your state, would it be logical to just use the rifle because your going to damage your hearing either way, or would it be logical to use a pistol caliber carbine to reduce hearing damage and the chance that you will sustain any hearing damage?

BTW, any body have dB levels for SBR's like HK53, AKSU, Colt commando, etc.?

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Feanaro
August 8, 2007, 03:23 AM
Alot of people say they use shotguns for home defense but I suspect it would be VERY LOUD. You'd probably get hearing damage, right?

Not probably. One hundred percent certain. Hearing damage sets in after 15 minutes at 100dB. Most firearms are in the 150dB range. Every 3dBs halves the permissable exposure time. Carry it out.

Prince Yamato
August 8, 2007, 03:28 AM
For hearing's sake, I'd use a handgun. I've heard handguns fired without hearing protection (outdoors). They are unpleasant, but tolerable. Ever hear an AR-15 without protection? It's a VERY loud *pop*. I find that different guns seem to emit different "vowel" sounds. Listen with headphones on and you can usually tell which guns will be the most unpleasant w/o.

Nomad101bc
August 8, 2007, 03:28 AM
Cops know if you use supressors you cant just screw them out of the weapon and be like "yep shot him no supressor". You see supressors slow the bullet down and make it hotter leaving distinct burn marks. There would also be the whole issue of nieghbors not hearing any sort of boom and then it makes self defense seem rather suspicous. One loud shot of even a .45 acp or a 12 gauge will not perminantly damage your hearing and its very rare you have to use your weapon for HD typicaly a 12 gauge is enough to stop any pistol wielding bad guy without having to fire it.

I can tell you at one point i was in a very loud heavy metal band and i could literaly hear the drummers symbols split my ear drums. Guess what i did it many times went to the doctor recently no hearing damage. Therefore by that logic one or two shots will never cause perminant irreversable hearing damage.

Regolith
August 8, 2007, 03:40 AM
A couple of shots in the house with no hearing protection will probably do some damage, but its not going to be a whole lot. You'll still be able to hear after, and probably almost as well as before you shot. However, if you fail to defend yourself, you could end up dead. Me, I'll take the hearing damage; I'm not a big fan of being dead.

kd7nqb
August 8, 2007, 03:50 AM
Upwards of 90% percent of defensive handgun uses DON'T involve pulling the trigger. My theory is the 10% of invaders who don't stop when you point a loaded weapon at them are the same people that you want the biggest gun possible for. So pump 12guage for HD is my choice, alive with a hearing aid is FAR better than dead.

Gord
August 8, 2007, 04:25 AM
Any caliber on down through .22 in an enclosed space can damage your hearing. Is there a bigger risk of that with, say, a .45 or a shotgun? Probably.

Am I going to make "gentle on the ol' eardrums" the prime criteria for selecting my home defense firearm? Hell no.

By the way, Google "cochlear implant." If a hearing aid won't help ya, a cochlear implant can. I know - I have one.

I agree that alive with a hearing aid is a lot more useful than dead at any rate. If it doesn't make a lot of noise, it's probably not generating enough energy to put a bad guy on the floor.

mjrodney
August 8, 2007, 04:32 AM
Since I use quality stereo electronic headphones at the range, it makes sense to store them near the firearm I consider the "home defense" weapon.

With the volume turned up, I hear better than I can with the naked ear and it takes the potential hearing loss out of the equation.

joab
August 8, 2007, 04:40 AM
Loss of hearing is not the big issue with sudden sharp noises

It's that extra hearing that you get, and it can be debilitating

With that in mind I believe a boom is preferable to a crack

Rovi
August 8, 2007, 05:06 AM
You can't suppress a shotgun...HUSHPOWER (http://www.saddleryandgunroom.co.uk/hushpower.htm)
Possibly not the most practical home defence weapon. :rolleyes:

PercyShelley
August 8, 2007, 05:58 AM
You can't suppress a shotgun

Sorry to be pedantic, but you can suppress a shotgun.

http://www.sai.dk/silencers/shotgun.php

It's essentially a barrel extension surrounded by the suppressor with holes in it. Not as efficient as a rifle suppressor, but it does keep the wad and sabot from getting caught up in the baffles.

Word on the street is that the sonic boom from multiple shotgun projectiles is loud enough that most shotgun suppressors only provide a few dB of noise reduction, so subsonic loads are a must.

I agree with most of the sentiments here; that noise level is a secondary consideration to the efficacy of the weapon. Noise level could become a consideration, however, if you are facing multiple home invaders and you need your hearing to locate them.

I like mjrodney's suggestion about electronic ear protection.

buttrap
August 8, 2007, 06:17 AM
actully if it gets to where I have to actully shoot a person in the house ringing ears and a loss of hearing is not on my top 10 worry list.

U.S.SFC_RET
August 8, 2007, 06:23 AM
I agree, Temporary hearing loss is not on my top ten list of things to worry about either. Death to me or my family is.

benEzra
August 8, 2007, 08:00 AM
Would you put hearing loss aside and go forth with your rifles and shotguns or would you opt for a 9mm or 45acp carbine of sorts because they're quieter?
Handguns are pretty much as loud as long guns; the comparatively short barrels make up for the lower gas volume and velocity. There may be slight differences in the frequency spectrum and in pulse duration, but the peak dB is similar.

Here are some data for some common guns. For long guns, note the correlation with barrel length. Not sure if these figures are straight dB or dBA.

http://www.freehearingtest.com/hia_gunfirenoise.shtml

Table 1. SHOTGUN NOISE DATA (DECIBEL AVERAGES)

.410 Bore 28" barrel.....150dB
26" barrel...............150.25dB
18 _" barrel.............156.30dB
20 Gauge 28" barrel......152.50dB
22" barrel...............154.75dB
12 Gauge 28" barrel......151.50dB
26" barrel...............156.10dB
18 _" barrel.............161.50dB

Dr. Krammer continues to say that shotgun noise averaged slightly more that 150dB. This is approximately 14dB beyond the threshold of pain, and more than sufficient to cause sudden hearing loss with complications.


Table 2. CENTERFIRE RIFLE DATA
.223, 55GR. Commercial load 18 _" barrel.....155.5dB
.243 in 22" barrel...........................155.9dB
.30-30 in 20" barrel.........................156.0dB
7mm Magnum in 20" barrel.....................157.5dB
.308 in 24" barrel...........................156.2dB
.30-06 in 24" barrel.........................158.5dB
.30-06 in 18 _" barrel.......................163.2dB
.375 — 18" barrel with muzzle brake...........170 dB

Krammer adds that sound pressure levels for the various pistols and ammunition tested yielded an average mean of 157.5 dB, which is greater than those previously shown for shotgun and rifle noise levels. There was also a greater range, from 152.4dB to 164.5dB, representing 12 dB difference, or more than 10 time as much acoustic energy for the top end of the pistol spectrum. It should be noticed that this figure of 164.5 dB approaches the practical limit of impulse noise measurement capability inherent in most modern sound level meters.


Table 3. CENTERFIRE PISTOL DATA
.25 ACP...........155.0 dB
.32 LONG..........152.4 dB
.32 ACP...........153.5 dB
.380..............157.7 dB
9mm...............159.8 dB
.38 S&W...........153.5 dB
.38 Spl...........156.3 dB
.357 Magnum.......164.3 dB
.41 Magnum........163.2 dB
.44 Spl...........155.9 dB
.45 ACP...........157.0 dB
.45 COLT..........154.7 dB


For those who don't grok decibels, it's a logarithmic scale (usually log10); a 3dB difference equals twice the radiated acoustic energy, and a 10dB difference is ten times the radiated acoustic energy. The ear perceives a 10dB difference as a doubling in volume, and IIRC the average person can just barely distinguish a 1dB difference. A car interior at highway speeds is 60-70 dB, a vacuum cleaner in the 80's to 90dB, I think.

Contrary to popular belief, there doesn't seem to be a huge difference between shotgun, pistol, and rifle noise levels, although the sound spectrum is undoubtedly different. There is a correlation with caliber (e.g., .30-06 is louder than .223 and .357 is considerably louder than 9mm or .45), but the most striking difference to me is how much louder a muzzle brake makes a hunting-caliber rifle (nearly 6 dB louder than an unbraked rifle, using an 18" .30-06 as a comparison, or translates to approximately 4 times the radiated acoustic energy). There's a tight correlation with barrel length (shorter is louder for any given caliber), but also less correlation with velocity than I expected (i.e., a slowpoke .30-30 round out of a 20" barrel is a smidgen louder than a faster but much smaller .223 round out of an 18" barrel). For all the 7.62x39mm shooters out there, I'd assume the sound levels would be about the same as .30-30, which it resembles.

foghornl
August 8, 2007, 08:12 AM
Hmmmmm

Now, if I could get a .45ACP carbine (Hi-Point, Marlin Camp 45 etc), and suppress it, used with standard power 230-gr ammo (NO +P or +P+)....

I have some done shooting without plugs or muffs {My bad! :o :o}, so I'll take any help I can get. At least partly why my "Bedside Table Companion" is the Springfield "GI-45", instead of my short-barrel Vaquero in .357Mag

Dave P
August 8, 2007, 08:36 AM
Like Joab said about a crack vs a boom: a 45 ACP is sub-sonic, so it will boom. My 357 sig will be supersonic and generate a sonic boom (crack).

I reach for the 45 first.

NoirFan
August 8, 2007, 08:58 AM
Hello,

I don't think noise level is a significant level in home defense. I have had an ND with a Federal hydra-shok .357 magnum where the side of the gun was about 8 inches from my head, close enough that my face got side-spray from the cylinder gap. It generates a painful ringing but you can still hear your immediate surroundings, like voices and movement. My ears rang for 4 days before returning to normal. Not something I'd do for fun, but I doubt the noise level will matter if you are in that situation.

Double Naught Spy
August 8, 2007, 09:03 AM
Not probably. One hundred percent certain. Hearing damage sets in after 15 minutes at 100dB. Most firearms are in the 150dB range. Every 3dBs halves the permissable exposure time. Carry it out.

Feanaro, you didn't do the math, did you? At 150 db, there will be hearing damage. Your suggestion that there won't be damage is wrong.

To quote from the article below...
That is, short-duration sounds of sufficient intensity (e.g., a gunshot or explosion) may result in an immediate, severe, and permanent hearing loss, which is termed acoustic trauma. The degree of hearing impairment seen after acoustic trauma varies and may range from a mild to profound hearing loss.

If you went by the standard you suggested, 100 db at 15 minutes to 150 db would mean 17 (rounded) graduations reducing the duration by half with each. 15 minutes is 900 seconds.

So for shooting a 150 db firearm, we take 900 seconds and divide each cycle by half, right?
db Seconds of Duration Before Damage
100 900
103 450
106 225
109 112.5
112 56.25
115 28.125
118 14.06
121 7.03
124 3.51
127 1.75
130 0.878
133 0.439
136 0.220
139 0.110
142 0.055
145 0.027
148 0.014
151 0.006


Check this link ...
http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?ID=2052

Here you see many handguns, rifles, and shotguns produce noise in the 150-160 db range, so continuing the chart from above...

154 0.003433 seconds
157 0.001716 seconds
160 0.000858 seconds

So, given that gun reports may last anywhere from 1/10th to a quarter of a second (initial impluse), you may experience instant hearing damage at as little as about 136 db. Now, combine that with the fact that the duration of the noise event of a gun fired inside is prolonged by noise reflection (echo) from walls, floor, ceiling, etc., then you have an event where you actually get multiple fast sequence (and sometimes combined) impulse events.

Say you are in a room and fire a 151 db gun. You will get minimally 6 initial reflections (floor, ceiling, 4 walls) in addition to the actual shot. Even though each reflection will be less than the original shot, they are insults. For example, say the floor and ceiling on came back with 145 db each. The walls to your side with 142 each. The wall directly in front of you with 148, and the wall behind you with just 130 db. This means that one initial insult caused immediate hearing damage as did 5 of the reflected impluses off of the walls. The 6th from behind you did not produce immediate hearing damage, but it did add to the damage as well because of the cumulative nature of hearing loss. Keep in mind that these are ONLY the first reflections. You may suffer several cycles of secondary reflections that will each be less in intensity, but still adding to the damage.

FIRING GUNS INDOORS, EVEN ONE SHOT, CAN AND WILL PRODUCE HEARING DAMAGE

So with shot number 1, you have maybe as many as 6 hearing loss events. Say you decide to double tap the intruder. Now you have 12 hearing loss events. Say the intruder attempts to shoot you as well. Then there are still more events.

Also see testing done by folks used in a precondition/postcondition test in regard to firearms qualification...
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/pagerender.fcgi?artid=1501543&pageindex=1#page

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The purpose of the long explanation was to provide information so that folks can make informed decisions. As others have stated, I am willing to trade a little bit of hearing loss to save my life. Hearing protection is not my primary concern in home defense, although I do keep electronic muffs and other gear near the bed. If I have a chance to use them, great. I do use them when investigating the proverbial bumps in the night. In an immediate crisis, there won't be time to put on muffs. Such is life.

arthurcw
August 8, 2007, 10:00 AM
Not probably. One hundred percent certain. Hearing damage sets in after 15 minutes at 100dB. Most firearms are in the 150dB range. Every 3dBs halves the permissable exposure time. Carry it out.

Feanaro, you didn't do the math, did you? At 150 db, there will be hearing damage. Your suggestion that there won't be damage is wrong.

DNS, I don't think Feanaro was suggesting what you think he was suggesting. I took from his post that it is, One hundred percent certain that you will get hearing damage.

benEzra
August 8, 2007, 12:26 PM
Like Joab said about a crack vs a boom: a 45 ACP is sub-sonic, so it will boom. My 357 sig will be supersonic and generate a sonic boom (crack).

I reach for the 45 first.
The shock wave from the supersonic bullet starts at the muzzle and travels forward attached to the bullet, not to the rear. So whether the bullet is supersonic or subsonic doesn't really play much role in the dB level at the shooter's ear, though it could affect what somebody would hear in the downrange direction.

The more significant factors in the .357 vs. .45 ACP noise difference (164.3 dB vs. 157.0 dB) are the barrel-cylinder gap of a revolver (source of a lot of radiated noise--compare a .22 revolver to a .22 semiauto of similar breech-to-muzzle length) and the much greater gas volume produced by the .357.

Ghost Tracker
August 8, 2007, 12:57 PM
There are some strange (unscientific) effects that happen during a gunfight. In post-shooting interviews (or de-briefings) participants often report not even hearing the sound of fired shots. And recall no "ringing-in-the-ears" immediately following the suspension of gunfire EVEN WITH THE EVENT HAPPENING INDOORS. I've often wondered if, within the parameters of actual, life-threatening gunfire, these people who claim to remember hearing NOTHING still suffer (what we believe to be) unavoidable hearing loss. I have, unfortunately, been twice subjected to .45 caliber handgun fire within a confined, indoor location. My ears rang for HOURS like I had been Front Row at a Who Concert.

nate392
August 8, 2007, 01:21 PM
In my opinion in the case of me or my family being threatened by that kind of danger, temporary deafness is something that I can live with with when I walk away with my life at hand.

Feanaro
August 8, 2007, 01:36 PM
One loud shot of even a .45 acp or a 12 gauge will not perminantly damage your hearing

Yes, it will. Anything above 120dBs will cause instant hearing loss.

Feanaro, you didn't do the math, did you? At 150 db, there will be hearing damage. Your suggestion that there won't be damage is wrong.

I think someone was posting before their morning coffee. Though I do admit to not doing the math. Pointless when you know the answer. ;)

I've often wondered if, within the parameters of actual, life-threatening gunfire, these people who claim to remember hearing NOTHING still suffer (what we believe to be) unavoidable hearing loss.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss is caused when the cochlea are "overloaded" by an intense soundwave. This soundwave exists whether we hear it or not. I very much doubt these people escape without hearing loss. It may not be noticed immediately, or ever, but there's no reason why it shouldn't occur.

ServiceSoon
August 8, 2007, 01:41 PM
The louder the bang the more likely a neighbor will send help.

Prince Yamato
August 8, 2007, 02:43 PM
Take into account that unless you have marble floors, walls, and ceilings, your rug and other furniture could act as an acoustic dampener and reduce the overall loudness of the firearm.

To relieve some fears here: you're not going to go completely deaf after discharging a firearm. So relax.

Fosbery
August 8, 2007, 03:09 PM
I've had a .357 mag go off near me without hearing protection (slipped off! :banghead:) and it made me wince, but I didn't have ringing and I don't believe it damaged my hearing. Just my 0.002p.

striker3
August 8, 2007, 03:18 PM
I do not know much scientifically about hearing loss, so I will just speak from experience. I have been around firearms alsmost my entire life, but did not start wearing hearing protection until I was in my teens. When I enlisted in the Marines, I had above average hearing. In the 8 years I have been an infantryman, I have been exposed to a lot of gunfire and explosions, both inside and out, not to mention the noise level of armored vehicles and helicopters. I rarely used hearing protection. I could not stand having something stuck in my ears for long periods of time, so I just went without. While I can tell that my hearing has diminished, it is not something that affects my day to day life. In fact, according to my last audiogram, I am still within the acceptable loss range and do not yet qualify for a percentage of disability.

There is a phenomenom called "Auditory Exclusion" which basically means that when your adrenaline gets pumping, your mind will filter out loud noises. I am sure that your hearing is still damaged, but from my experience, you usually do not hear ringing or have a sense of your hearing being muffled until things cool down.

I seriously doubt that hearing loss is something that you should concern yourself about when it comes to choosing a HD weapon.

kellyj00
August 8, 2007, 03:25 PM
I've met a few veterans who have fired many many rounds in combat. I know one who was a Huey door gunner. Not sure what he fired, but he's still got his hearing.

do our boys in the field wear muffs or earplugs? One would think that it would make it really tough to communicate in combat.

Brad Johnson
August 8, 2007, 03:40 PM
Never fails to amaze me that people will waste time worrying about where/when/how to deal with hearing protection when it's their life they ought to be concerned with.

If there is a bad guy in your house deal with staying alive first. Jerking around trying to put on muffs or plugs is a useless waste of precious time, not to mention it deafens you to the sounds that help you keep the bad guy located.

Brad

DMK
August 8, 2007, 03:43 PM
There is a phenomenom called "Auditory Exclusion" which basically means that when your adrenaline gets pumping, your mind will filter out loud noises. I am sure that your hearing is still damaged, but from my experience, you usually do not hear ringing or have a sense of your hearing being muffled until things cool down.Auditory Exclusion happens in the brain. Your mind filters out extraneous information so you can focus on the threat. This is to help you "fight or flight". Other examples of this phenomenom are tunnel vision and time compression (events appear to happen in slow motion).

However, the fact that you don't 'hear' the noise doesn't matter. Your ears are still exposed to the pressure from the noise. Hearing loss is physical damage.

Folks under such stress have often not felt gunshot wounds or bones breaking. However, that did not prevent the physical damage from occurring whether they felt it or not.

bigun15
August 8, 2007, 04:26 PM
I can't argue that the db levels can't make you deaf, but I plead guilty to taking out my ear plugs to hear what an AK47 sounded like in real life. No damage.

OK so it was stupid, but my shooting buddy and I are from California and we're minors and we just really wanted to know what it was like. Our verdict: Very cool.

doubleg
August 8, 2007, 04:53 PM
Rifles and Pistols always bothered my ears way more than shotguns.

ctdonath
August 8, 2007, 05:29 PM
Cops know if you use supressors you cant just screw them out of the weapon and be like "yep shot him no supressor". You see supressors slow the bullet down and make it hotter leaving distinct burn marks. There would also be the whole issue of nieghbors not hearing any sort of boom and then it makes self defense seem rather suspicous.
...um...NO.

1. Why unscrew it? So what if you keep your HD gun with a suppressor on it? I do. There's nothing wrong with making a gun inherently quieter for legitimate use in your own home.

2. NO, suppressors do NOT "slow the bullet down". A few integrated designs (mostly just .22LR) may include ported barrels to prevent the bullet reaching supersonic speeds - but most rely on the user's choice of super- or sub-sonic ammo. The suppressor itself only reduces muzzle blast.

3. NO, suppressors do NOT "make the bullet hotter". They don't touch the bullet*, and only affect the gases that follow. The bullet has exited by the time heat comes into play.

4. So what if neighbors don't hear a boom? They probably won't anyway, them being in their house and you being in yours. People can be remarkably unaware of loud, sharp, completely unexpected noises anyway. Auditory exclusion can occur in the unaware just as much as the hyper-aware.

Unless expressly forbidden in your local/state jurisdiction, suppressors ARE LEGAL. So is using them appropriately (like protecting your hearing while protecting your life.)

It generates a painful ringing but you can still hear your immediate surroundings, like voices and movement. My ears rang for 4 days before returning to normal.
Painful ringing == auditory nerves dying.
Sure you can still hear other sounds; hearing damage does not mean complete hearing loss.
Your ears did not return to normal. Assorted nerves finally died, and you got used to the tinnunitis (sp?) and absence of those frequencies.
Adapted != returned to normal.

f there is a bad guy in your house deal with staying alive first. Jerking around trying to put on muffs or plugs is a useless waste of precious time
That's why you put a silencer on a HD gun before you "need it": making the gun inherently quieter saves time and improves your perception during the incident.

Prince Yamato
August 8, 2007, 05:48 PM
I think a couple shots and you'll be OK. If it makes you all feel better, here's a real life example:

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is a famous German Baritone. He also served in the Germany Army during WWII. I'm guessing he shot a few guns. He's still singing today, in-tune and has no hearing problems. So :neener:.

Now, as far as his chain-smoking affecting his career... that's another matter.

ctdonath
August 8, 2007, 06:33 PM
I think a couple shots and you'll be OK.
If you think hearing damage is OK. Seriously guys, exposure to gunshot-level noises causes damage (if it doesn't, you're lucky; if you rely on it not, you're ...).

While I no longer notice the damage caused by having no hearing protection too close to the wrong end of a .308 firing, I won't contend there was no damage and won't consider it "OK".

He's still singing today, in-tune and has no hearing problems.

You sure he has no hearing problems? Auditory damage does not mean unable to hear and unable to carry a tune.
FWIW: Beethoven was seriously deaf.

Prince Yamato
August 8, 2007, 06:49 PM
FWIW: Beethoven was seriously deaf.

First, he had perfect pitch, which makes it possible to hear actual pitches in ones head

second, scholars are debating the degree of his deafness. There's talk that it is over-exaggerated for emotions sake. Much of this has to do with recently found letters between he and Schiller (his assistant).

Back on topic, I think what everyone is getting at is that you still have functional hearing after shooting a gun without protection. You may not have noticeable loss. So I think people need to relax a bit. Just like smoking a couple cigarettes won't cause you cancer, you're not going to go stone deaf after shooting a couple shots without hearing protection.

carpediem
August 8, 2007, 06:52 PM
*sorry, accidental post*

ArfinGreebly
August 8, 2007, 07:15 PM
Please also see this thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=209164), with special attention to post #4 by hso, and follow his links.

Progressive (cumulative) hearing loss is not something I'd want to entertain.

If I had to choose between slightly degraded hearing and slightly dead and buried, I'd take the degraded hearing.

Doesn't mean I'd want to set myself up for it.

If it's at all possible, I'm wanting to protect my vision and hearing.

Yes, I'll protect my life first, along with the lives around me, but if I don't HAVE to damage my hearing, then I won't.

Double Naught Spy
August 8, 2007, 07:22 PM
Sorry Feanaro, from your sentence structure, it appeared you were saying that there probably would not be hearing damage. You posted the query...

Alot of people say they use shotguns for home defense but I suspect it would be VERY LOUD. You'd probably get hearing damage, right?

then responded
Not probably.

So I thought you were saying there would not be hearing damage and justified it via some facts and then said,
Carry it out.
like it was okay because there would not be hearing damage.

However, you are right, no coffee. Mountain Dew and I had plenty of it before the math.

PercyShelley
August 8, 2007, 07:36 PM
Hearing loss is usually not perceptible until it becomes very bad indeed. Loss of visual accuity is similar as well. The brain is remarkably good at coming up with a fairly convincing account of what is going on, even if it's largely guessing. You won't miss it until you realize that, after all those years of shooting without protection, you suddenly notice one morning that you can't hear songbirds anymore.

Is life more important? All the deaf people I know have a very definite answer, that's for sure.

Of course, if the firearms community could get its act together and flex some muscle to get suppressors deregulated, we wouldn't have this dilemma!

obxned
August 8, 2007, 08:11 PM
I like them load. It may further disorient a BG who was not expecting to be shot at. Between the noise and the combination of muzzle flash and high intensity flashlight, it's the closest thing to a flash/bang I can get.

Daemon688
August 8, 2007, 08:21 PM
Bad guy breaks into my house. I have a shotgun in hand and I'm sitting there wondering "man, my ears sure are going to hurt when I fire this!". I think some of you guys have priorities in the wrong place. Noise levels don't matter to me when my life is on the line.

p.S. I've got a buddy in Iraq who doesn't wear hearing protection. Last time I saw him, I didn't have to scream out every sentence for him to hear me.

Double Naught Spy
August 8, 2007, 09:28 PM
I've got a buddy in Iraq who doesn't wear hearing protection. Last time I saw him, I didn't have to scream out every sentence for him to hear me.

Yes, but he probably will have troubles with high register or high pitch sounds. If he has been exposed to much small arms fire, he will have tinnitus.

Feanaro
August 8, 2007, 09:34 PM
Just because you can't tell there is damage doesn't mean it isn't there. Someone touched off a 7.62x54 round right next to me. My ears didn't even ring. But I did experience some faint ringing at odd moments after that.

Sorry Feanaro, from your sentence structure, it appeared you were saying that there probably would not be hearing damage.

Well, I guess I can see your point. I'll forego my vengeance, this time. ;)

Mountain Dew

That explains everything. Quit drinking that, take up smoking. Its safer.

PPGMD
August 8, 2007, 09:46 PM
That's why my USP Tactical 45 has a supressor attached to it.

Junkyard Dog
August 8, 2007, 09:55 PM
re: Auditory Exclusion

I have an auto salvage yard and one slow day we decided to see what a car
air bag was like being deployed. We hooked up some wires about 40ft away
and touched it off. To me it sounded very much like a 12 gauge shotgun. I
thought to myself what would that do to someones hearing inside a car with
the windows up and both bags going off. I thought for sure that the people inside would be deaf for a week. Last year I was involved in an auto accident
when someone ran a stop sign. When I hit him the bags deployed. I didn't
realize until a few hours later that I had no problem with my hearing. All of the
windows were up and I could not believe that I was not deaf. I don't know about physical damage but I can tell you that the brain does block the hearing in an adrenaline charged incident. I had heard about it before but until
I had experienced it I guess that I didn't think it was possible. My .02

PercyShelley
August 8, 2007, 10:34 PM
Just to clairify; your brain blocks out the perception of the loud noises. That I've experienced for myself. When I was but a wee lad of... 12 I think it was, I shot at my first elk, and have no recollection of the gunshots being loud, even though I was shooting a 30-06 with a 22 inch barrel. The noise might as well have been from a popgun. The excitement of the moment completely drowned out everything else, including the fact that the crosshairs where placed nowhere near the elk in question.

Hearing damage occurs regardless, alas. It is a physical mechanism that doesn't care at all whether or not you were in a mental state to pay attention to loud noises.

Junkyard Dog
August 8, 2007, 11:18 PM
Percy
Thanks for the info, I think. I already have tinnitus. This getting
old stuff sucks.

joab
August 8, 2007, 11:39 PM
though it could affect what somebody would hear in the downrange direction.But aren't the walls of the house going to redirect that supersonic crack right back at you

After 3 years of working in tug boat engine rooms with the constant low range boom boom of the engines I had lost much hearing to the point that I can not hear a telephone if it is held to my left ear
I could hear conversations fine but high range sounds were inaudible
When I took my hearing test I was amazed at my level of deafness

Also after a few years of carelessly not using ear plugs I have an annoying little ringing in my ears that has not gone away for about ten years
I can tell you the exact day and time it became noticeable
I shot a .45 while standing between two steel sheds
The pain it caused would have rendered me at least momentarily incapacitated in a real gunfight

As a result of it my wife and I can not sleep in the same room
I can not be in a quiet space and she can't sleep with the TV or radio on
Something for you younger more rambunctious bucks to think about

I'm still not going to let that deter me from using a gun in a HD situation
But it just may perhaps maybe might make me hesitate for that all important split second while I brace myself

XD Fan
August 9, 2007, 02:01 AM
Hear damage vs. violent assualt or worse?

Go with the most powerful gun you can in the situation you are in.

My $.02.

Double Naught Spy
August 9, 2007, 09:30 AM
Just to clairify; your brain blocks out the perception of the loud noises.

Just to clarify, your brain MAY block out the perception of loud noises. Auditory exclusion is part of the fight or flight response. It is a weird response that is not consistent. Some people never hear gunshots, but hear the sirens of the police in the distance. They don't hear their own shots, but report the bad guy's gun BOOMED at them. In battle, folks have reported hearing their own gun, but wondering why nobody else was firing along side them only to then realize they were, but the noise had been mentally filtered. Others have reported thinking their gun malfunctioned or failed to fire properly because they didn't hear the report. Weird.

PPGMD
August 9, 2007, 10:28 AM
Also just because your brain blocks out the sound, it doesn't mean that it still isn't damaging your hearing.

Ghost Tracker
August 9, 2007, 10:37 AM
All these reports of repeated (combat) live-fire experiences with NO corresponding loss of hearing. So Auditory Exclusion, while a emotionally-triggered response, MUST have the effect of lessening the PHYSIOLOGICAL results of loud noise exposure? How else would you explain it?

I have hearing loss attributed to exposure to repeated, unquieted small-arms gunfire. My cousin (USMC Artillery Officer) does as well, but from obviously larger calibers. Does that mean we were too "calm" during the excitement?

And yeah, everyone agrees that concerns over potential Hearing Damage WILL NOT STOP us from protecting ourselves & our families.

striker3
August 9, 2007, 08:09 PM
All these reports of repeated (combat) live-fire experiences with NO corresponding loss of hearing. So Auditory Exclusion, while a emotionally-triggered response, MUST have the effect of lessening the PHYSIOLOGICAL results of loud noise exposure? How else would you explain it?

I wouldn't go so far as to say that there is no physiological effect. Like I said in my post, I do have noticeable hearing damage. I have tinninitus, and have trouble holding conversations in areas with a lot of low level background noise, such as crowded rooms. My ears are also more sensitive to loud music and continuous loud noise than others around me.

What I was trying to get across was the fact that with all of the hearing damage I have probably suffered up to this point, it does not really affect my day to day life. If it doesn't affect my day to day life, then I wouldn't use hearing loss as a consideration for a home defense weapon that I may only hear fired without protection a few times in my life.

SpeedAKL
August 9, 2007, 08:22 PM
Meh, better to lose a little hearing than to lose your life or that of your family.

Having said that, I find the blasts of some guns much less tolerable than others. Any rounds that break the sound barrier and thus make that loud CRACK - centerfire rifles, magnum-caliber handguns - are far more abrasive to me than something like a shotgun, 9mm, .45ACP, etc. The dumbest thing I ever did around a gun was on one of my first trips to the range. I though I'd be a tough guy and not put the headphones on until we started shooting, even though other people were firing away. The range was outdoors but the firing stations were under a roof. As I was walking by a guy set off what appeared to be a Remington 700PSS (likely chambered in .308 given the noise) right beside idiot me:banghead:. One of the loudest noises I've ever heard (aside from maybe the B-1 bomber that flew very low over the football stadium on full afterburner). Seconds later a 12-gauge and an AR went off:banghead:. The headphones went right on.

Another thing to consider is muzzle flash - a large-caliber handgun, for example, will create much more flash than, say, a 9mm, which could disorient you more and waste small but critical amounts of time if you need a follow-up shot or need to duck and cover....

ctdonath
August 9, 2007, 09:51 PM
I think some of you guys have priorities in the wrong place. Noise levels don't matter to me when my life is on the line. Meh, better to lose a little hearing than to lose your life or that of your family....along with other such posts.

What's with these non-sequitors?

That one's life is on the line at a given moment does NOT mean that you can't prepare for some extra protection for your ears ahead of time. Suppressors are legal in most states, so consider getting one for your HD gun before you touch a round off indoors. Consider making your gun inherently quieter without affecting power. Get active hearing protection so that, given enough warning, you can put on muffs that will save your hearing AND improve it at the same time.

If using a gun for home defense without certain safety accessories meant losing a knuckle, would you ignore at least the option of using such accessories? The issue at hand is little different: you likely won't lose your hearing completely, and may not even notice any damage, but there is a degree of maiming going on.

Hearing damage is not an all-or-nothing issue.
Protecting your hearing during home defense is not a life-or-ears choice.
Get a silencer. If not legal in your jurisdiction, ask your legislators why.

Daemon688
August 9, 2007, 10:02 PM
Well, until *ahem* certain laws get removed, I will never own a suppressor. It's not worth the tax stamp or all the hassles. Now if they were say, $80 out the door, no waiting period, no messy paper work, I'd get one for every gun. Hearing protection at the range and the unlikely event where I will have to use my weapon for defense, sound gets an "oh well" response from me.

SpeedAKL
August 9, 2007, 10:50 PM
A silencer would certainly be something to consider, and they're legal in my state.

brashboy
August 10, 2007, 12:26 AM
This is a really good thread. I have got to check out that shotgun suppressor. The thing I get is that subsonic rounds are better. I always wondered what anyone but a hit man really needed a silencer for, but if there was ever a place for a suppressor, HD is it. I've got tinnitus already. Forget the muffs. Those are useless unless you hear the BG coming through a door or window and have time to put them on.

My 357 loaded with 38 Sp is under the pillow with the butt exactly were my right hand falls naturally. The sawed-off 16-ga. is next to the bed. Ah NEED a suppressor!

benEzra
August 10, 2007, 03:43 PM
But aren't the walls of the house going to redirect that supersonic crack right back at you
Greatly attenuated, and it will be very small compared to the redirected muzzle blast and cylinder-gap blast that the walls also reflect back. A bullwhip (also a supersonic crack) is loud, but not nearly as loud as the muzzle blast of a .357 fired in an enclosed hallway.

Also, since the angle of reflectance of a shock wave equals the angle of incidence, if you are shooting down a hallway, the shockwave reflections off the walls will reflect down the hall, not back at you, until they reach the end of the hall and bounce back, but the intensity decays with the square of the distance.

TEDDY
August 10, 2007, 05:01 PM
am I missing something.if you get in a gun fight the last thing you want to worry about is your hearing.worry about that could get you killed.my hearing is bad I m 83 and I was a AOM3C shot 50s and 30 mg plus I shot springfield 03 before hearing protection.but my hearing gradually went. :uhoh: :)

Evil Monkey
August 10, 2007, 05:07 PM
I often wondered, what if you fired a round indoors with your Eustachian tubes open, would you still get hearing damage? With the tubes open, the pressure equalizes in the inner ear. Would that help in reducing damage?

I have the ability to open up the tubes at will. I wonder if that would be tactical in a shootout. lololol :D

kurtmax
August 10, 2007, 05:31 PM
I wouldn't worry about hearing loss in choosing a defensive weapon. That is, unless you are shooting home intruders every evening. If that's the case it's either:

1. Zombie apocalypse and you don't have much time to live anyways. So who cares about hearing?

2. Time to move.

Also, why would cops care if you shot an intruder with a suppressed firearm. As long as it's legally tax stamped and all it should be A-OK.

Bazooka Joe71
August 10, 2007, 06:42 PM
Once and only once I was at the range by myself, and I stopped to take a break for a couple of minutes and took my plugs out...

Reloaded some mags, popped one in, took a shot before I realized I forgot my plugs and muffs(it was a .40s&w w/ a 4 inch barrel).

My ears rang for a good little while and I remember thinking to myself how loud it would be and how much hearing loss I would have gotten if I would have been indoors...Not to mention theres a good chance that if I actually had to fire one shot inside, multiple shots would probably follow.

ctdonath
August 12, 2007, 02:53 PM
am I missing something.if you get in a gun fight the last thing you want to worry about is your hearing.There's a suppressor on my HD rifle precisely because my hearing is the last thing I want to worry about in a gun fight - having prepared suitable tools ahead of time, noise won't be a problem.

igor
August 12, 2007, 03:32 PM
The given dB numbers in this thread seem IMHO so high that I would guess that they were measured around the muzzle end/direction of the gun. There is a considerable difference to what the shooter behind the gun will hear. My own experience as 3-gun RO would support this (muzzle-braked .223 SBRs in a concrete floored shooting stand, anyone? Double protection is a minimum standing behind the shooter's shoulder.)

Obviously, the difference between, say, 140 and 160 dB isn't nearly enough to eliminate damage, but there is sufficient difference to limit the extent of damage if a single or just a few individual shots are considered. To the point of the thread, this argument alone helps little, but altogether I would say that any gun will be doggone loud indoors and that's that. Other considerations in a HD setting will be hugely more important.

BTW, I also have experienced rapid-fire drills as the loader of the Finnish 95mm recoilless AT device. The loader's head when firing that weapon is in a spot where the noise has been measured to exceed 180dB! With the triple protection of plugs, muffs and thickly gloved hands the blasts are almost tolerable... but no damage remains.

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