Ears Ringing from the range!


August 27, 2008, 07:09 PM
We went to the range Saturday (4 days ago) and everything was fine until we went to leave. We packed up everything and got into the truck, and took our ears off. Parking is right behind the firing line at this range. Then my friend noticed he left his coke out and went to get it. He opened the door and took about 6 steps then BOOM. They has a few people there shooting louder rifles (8mm, 7.62X54 MN, and a 300 wim mag). Anyway, the ear facing the door is still ringing. Im looking for an ear doctor to see how bad it is.

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August 27, 2008, 07:14 PM
should go away, you might have damage but tinnitus (ringing) will usually fade unless you've done permanent damage

August 27, 2008, 07:17 PM
I took some friends to an out of state range when we went camping. I hadn't anticipated much shooting (save for shooting attacking wildlife, which I figure wasn't gonna happen, and it didn't), so I didn't bring my ears.

Well, we got to the range, and hearing protection was required, and the guy who worked at the range was nice enough to give us some earplugs. They were kind of worthless, because by the time we got to my M1A, I had taken mine out because they didn't do much and just plugged my ears when my friends were firing.

I fired a few shots with that thing shouldered, and I couldn't hear out of my right ear properly for about 2 days. Dayum.

August 27, 2008, 07:18 PM
How often do you expose yourself to such noises. A few times and you'll be fine. Regularly...you're done. Invest in Fans...they reduce the amount of ringing you hear when you're settling in for the night.

August 27, 2008, 07:37 PM
I've blown out my ears at a outdoor shooting range and SCUBA diving.

The best thing is to always double up on hearing protection: plugs and muffs.

Visit the doctor to see what's the problem. On a positive note, your ear drums will heal.

August 27, 2008, 07:42 PM
I've had tinnitus for a good many years. It sucks.

For people who don't understand what it is like...

Think about a quiet summer night with about 100 to 200 crickets in the yard going full bore. Then think about hearing that all your waking hours.

It all adds up, a little loss, a big noise or two, a little more loss.

There are voice tones I can't hear, at 2-3 feet away!

Always use plugs, always, even when hunting, even if it's the last thing you do before shooting.

August 27, 2008, 07:45 PM
I've had tinnitus for a good many years. It sucks.

+1 and saying it just sucks is putting it mildly. And yes, ear plugs + muffs.

August 27, 2008, 07:55 PM
One time? One shot?

you're fine. leave the doc alone.

I get a milder kind of tinnitus from riding motorcyles long distance. When I get off the bike, I have a casino full of slot machines ringing in my head. It's gone by morning. Never seen a doc for it.

That takes hours and hours of continuous road, wind, and exhaust noise. One bang from a rifle is nothing.

Didn't you ever partially lose your hearing for a day or two from fourth of july fireworks as a kid?

- J -
August 27, 2008, 07:58 PM
The ringing means that you're losing frequencies in your hearing. You'll get used to it and stop noticing it, so "it will go away", but the damage to your internal ear sensory cells is permanent, and the loss of ability to perceive those frequencies is also permanent.

We can hear many frequencies so your life won't be affected for losing one or two... but people repeatedly exposed to loud noises start accumulating "holes" in their auditory spectrum, and that can be really problematic as the years go by. Gunblast saturates ALL of our audible frequencies (and more), which is extra problematic for us.

This reminds me of my girlfriend's dog: he had to lose the ear canals because of a severe infection, and he got "bird ears", new, narrow canals drilled but not linked to the external ears. Now you can ring a bell next to his head that he won't move a hair, although he'll jump if you call his name or snap your fingers. It's all in the frequencies, and he lost the very high ones (I need to get a dog whistle and test it on him).

August 27, 2008, 07:58 PM
Ahh, the relaxing sounds of tinnitus.

I have "minor" tinnitus. Usually, it is little more than the slight, but annoying, electronic type tone you hear when you go to the ear doctor. It happens fairly often, but usually for no more than a day or two (and then goes away for a couple days). Sometimes though, I get the louder ear doctor type tones but they rarely last for more than a few hours. I am not 100% sure if it is from the loud music and concerts from my teen and young adult years, from our last range trip in basic training when I lost my ear plugs and was afraid to tell the drill sergeants (big mistake, 200 or so M16s going, some semi fire some full auto, for several mags gets loud), or from a combination of the two.

Invest in Fans...they reduce the amount of ringing you hear when you're settling in for the night.

I've found the best thing to help me not notice it so much is music, luckily I like to have music playing almost all the time anyway.

August 27, 2008, 08:12 PM
Reminds me of the time my friend decided it would be cool to fire his Dad's 30-06 with a blank round inside his bedroom. That was probably the loudest thing I can remember hearing.

Another time 3 of us took turns firing a S&W 9mm (don't remember what model it was) years ago from under a covered porch. Three magazines later my ears rang for 2 days! It will go away eventually.

August 27, 2008, 08:17 PM
"You know that ringing in your ears? That 'eeeeeeeeee'? That's the sound of the ear cells dying, like their swan song. Once it's gone you'll never hear that frequency again. Enjoy it while it lasts."

Julian, from "Children of Men."

Seriously, it's not that big of a deal. I've gotten zapped and it's the prolonged, consistent injuries like loud traffic noise that will deafen you in the end. I do make a point of wearing double protection. Disposable plugs go in first, then muffs. The muffs come off as I leave, but the plugs don't come out until I'm well away from the gunfire.

August 27, 2008, 08:20 PM
Cosmoline +1

Plugs in the ears until I am driving away. I had Plugs and Muffs on and I didn't understand why people didn't like my Mosin Nagant M44...

I also wear hearing protection mowing the lawn, working in a shop (air handlers, air compressors, saws, welders, etc.), long time with a carpet cleaner...

One time you should be fine. I couldn't hear right for a couple days after an especially loud concert and it went away. But I am not a doctor and my internet advice is worth at least as much as you paid for it...maybe double!

August 27, 2008, 08:50 PM
Wear your hearing protection at the range, it is your friends fault for not adhering to this.
1 minute 2 minutes no diff, Blame the range I don’t think so.

Hard way to learn personal responsibility

Prince Yamato
August 27, 2008, 09:03 PM
You know when you get hit hard right on the bone? It swells up, right? And it doesn't go away instantly, right? The bruise lasts a couple of days. Well, your ears were injured, they need a couple days to heal. Avoid loud noises. Go on auditory rest for a couple days.

August 27, 2008, 09:52 PM
Blame the range I don’t think so.

Nobody is blaming the range.

August 27, 2008, 09:54 PM
Think about a quiet summer night with about 100 to 200 crickets in the yard going full bore. Then think about hearing that all your waking hours.

I hear ya -Its especially a pain in the Butt when you try to go to sleep in a quiet room -I run a fan to cover the sound -Bless Me it not all the time Just ocassionally---ANY loud device will damage your ears --I worked at an airport fueling jets Thats louder than any shooting range
Wear your plugs and muffs ==PLEASE!

August 27, 2008, 10:10 PM
Use care in selecting and using earplugs .. beware impacted ear-wax and ear infections.


August 27, 2008, 10:30 PM
Go to GNC and pick up a bottle of N-acetyl cysteine ("NAC"). It has been shown in some studies to reduce the severity of hearing damage even when administered after exposure (keeps the sound sensing cells in the cochlea from dying from oxidative stress after the damage occurs, allowing them to survive and heal themselves).

August 27, 2008, 10:57 PM
On an interesting sidenote:
I used to work in a factory where our hearing was tested annually. An informal survey seemed to indicate that a number of people who had more hearing loss in their left ear, compared to their right ear, were the people who liked to drive with their windows down.
Back on topic though, your hearing is a lot like your teeth. Take care of them, or you suffer premature loss.

August 28, 2008, 01:35 AM
Good quote Cosmoline, I own that movie.

August 28, 2008, 03:43 AM
Yeah I too suffer from tinnitus. mainly forget about it until its real quiet. Then it just kind of lulls you to sleep.

August 28, 2008, 07:03 AM
Quitchurbitchen.... Ah never mind - I edited it all out!

August 28, 2008, 07:51 AM
i have the perpetual crickets too....it is okay in the summer...
i think i actually might be hearing some crickets or peepers

but in the dead of the winter, you know it really isnt anything
except "in your head"

i use the plugs mowing the lawn and snowblowing too

and the loud music isnt as common as it used to be
and when it is, it is more controlle and subdued (darn!)

but, most of my hearing loss is from good 'ole rock and roll
in my youth.....i try to remind kids of the danger of loud music
and the more present danger to them is the darn earbuds that the
run at dangerous levels

August 28, 2008, 09:13 AM
The squishy plugs work very well for me, when I get them put all the way in. I've found that if I work my jaw while inserting them I actually have to be careful not to let them go in too far.

August 28, 2008, 09:32 AM
I know I have heating loss from my younger days. About 4 years ago I have 4 12" Rockford Falsgate punch hx2s that hit about 157 db, AND I WOULD RIDE AROUND LIKE THAT UNTILL IT MADE ME SICK!!!!!!! I had to replace the rear 1/4 panel glass twice because it would vibrate loose.

This is a whole different kind of hearing loss.

August 28, 2008, 09:54 AM
Road wild,
After a trip to the range, I always have trouble hearing words like mow, trim, clean, take, out, gargage, change, and diaper....:D It seems to last until the next range trip.....Maybe I need to see a Dr.

August 28, 2008, 09:59 AM
Way back in the day. We used to go shooting all the time. Without ear plugs. In fact they werent even mentioned. You hardly saw guys wearing ear plugs. At the end of shooting yep i remember those ringing ear days. it could last up to a week but mine always went away.

- J -
August 28, 2008, 12:02 PM
scrat, don't forget to come back in, say, 25 more years (you're still young) and let us know how your hearing is. I've seen many old school shooters with premature deafness of varying intensities. One common diagnosis is shouting when talking. People just can't hear themselves, lack ear-larynx nervous feedback, and speak up to compensate, like a teenager will do when using headphones.

Ear damage is normally underestimated because as it's cumulative, it grows very slowly and it's not noticeable for decades. It's the opposite of "fire-burns". You'll only burn your hand once, and you'll learn the lesson. You associate it instantly, every animal learns that way.

But this is different. Like casting lead with poor ventilation, it can take months or years before you notice you're poisoned.

J Star
August 28, 2008, 01:16 PM
+1 for fans at night.

As a young child, I had several dozen ear infections, mostly in my left ear. If I concentrate, I can tell that my left ear feels muffled all the time.

Aside from the hearing loss due to infections, as a teenager and 20-something, I played in bands and was "too cool" to wear earplugs.

Now I get to listen to a constant tone in my ears. It's not bad during the day when there is noise, but if I don't have a fan at night, it keeps me up and makes me nuts.

I don't usually wear muffs and plugs, though, because the plugs I have are rated a lot higher than most store bought plugs. When I pull out the M44, however, you bet I double up. I can't imagine Russian soldiers shooting that thing with no protection at all. Half their army was killed, the other half was deaf. :scrutiny:

August 28, 2008, 01:55 PM
Back in the 70's i shot pigeons every weekend. It was not unusual to fire 200 cartridges at a time useing no ear protection. Now I'm a deaf old git who's ears ring. Has the TV turned up to loud and when there are a group of people talking i don't bother listening. I always wear ear protection now . Lesson learned.

August 28, 2008, 05:07 PM
Good thing suppressors are tightly controlled and punitively taxed in this nation.


August 28, 2008, 05:19 PM
Makes you think about the military folks who get tangled up in "stuff".
There was a program on TV a few days ago about the Vietnam war and they interviewed some vets...some had hearing aids....If one or two shots do this...try a firefight...
A few times...probably no big deal. More than a few will probably have some level of effect.

Vern Humphrey
August 28, 2008, 05:24 PM
A major cause of hearing loss was land mines -- try running over an anti-tank mine in an APC! Everyone in the track winds up either deaf or with ruptured ear drums.

August 28, 2008, 05:30 PM
I never had the "lucksury" of running over a landmine...but I heard from folks who did - my biggest hearing discomfort was close proximity to claymores and behind (in-directly of course) to RPG7's...my hearing is not what it used to be...but mine was not caused by a one(or few) off thing...I may need a hearing aid in 10 or so years...

Vern Humphrey
August 28, 2008, 05:33 PM
We're off target, but contact the VA. Hearing aids cost literally thousands of dollars, but with a Purple Heart you have priority -- they will do the test, and if your hearing is below a certain level, you get free hearing aids -- and free batteries.

August 28, 2008, 05:44 PM
I don't even notice the "crickets" anymore they have been chirping so long. That is until I think about them. When I saw this post I started hearing them and they are loud. As soon as I get my mind on something else and forget about them they won't bother me until I think about them again.

Carry on a conversation with any background noise. Forget it. I can only understand about every fifth word.

Vern Humphrey
August 28, 2008, 05:47 PM
Same here -- but hearing aids really help.

My aunt, who passed away about a year ago, lived in Texas near Austin. I went to visit and noticed whole valley bulldozed -- the chaparal and scrub oak there is not easy to clear.

Then she told me the story -- she was grocery shopping and on the way home there was an 18-wheeler right on her bumper. It followed her home -- she could hear it.

When she got in the house, she put in her hearing aids and heard a siren. But there aren't any sirens around there.

Turns out what followed her home was the tornado that devastated Jeral, Texas.:D

August 28, 2008, 07:02 PM
I winter in Yuma Arizona where I shoot weekly with about 30 other Timeless Classics, all of us over 60 and some over 70. EVERY ONE has some hearing loss, at least half wear a hearing aid and a couple are almost totally deaf. Wear that ear protection, guys, you only get two and there are no more issued!!

August 28, 2008, 09:46 PM
I've had tinnitus for a good many years. It sucks. Yup, me too. ALWAYS double up. Do everything not to let it happen again or get any worse.

Remember, you just don't get it back when you lose it.:(

August 28, 2008, 10:06 PM
My Dad has lost some of his hearing, but he thinks the majority of it was working in chemical plants back when they just put out a pile of cotton rather than good ear plugs. He does think the army took care of some of it though.

He got ear plugs a while back and was pleasantly surprised to hear birds again.

+1 on doubling up if you can.

August 28, 2008, 10:14 PM
It's quite funny, I'm on the range on a daily basis in my job and the best earplugs I have found to work AND be comfortable after a few hours on the range to be the 3 dollar stanley construction earplugs at walmart.

I have tried a few of the expensive brands but they were either uncomfortable or didn't work well at all.

August 28, 2008, 11:09 PM
I always wear both plugs and muffs actually you can get a better noise reduction from plugs than from muffs ! I work in noisy invirons so I use both when i shoot !

August 28, 2008, 11:13 PM
Anybody know how well the SureFire EP3's work?

August 28, 2008, 11:22 PM
used to work in a VERY LOUD work enviroment .The company provided us with top of the line custom fit earplugs called "noisebreakers". They cut out all noise above 85db.
I walked into the local indoor range wearing them and before I took 2 steps it was get the H out of there !

August 28, 2008, 11:54 PM
i was using a .22 powder nailer in my basement to secure some footers into concrete. i said to myself...self, ive fired a .22 outside without ear proctection, its not that noisy. this can't be that loud. i was wrong. one shot later my ears were ringing like crazy and i got my ear protection.

my ears rang for about a month from that little adventure.

August 29, 2008, 04:01 PM
As a kid i went to a gun show at a local range with my father. He gave me a set of ears to wear and made sure i put them in but after a while i got tired of not being able to have a conversation with some of the vendors so i took them out. I was about 200 feet from the firing line where they were shooting everything from .22 shorts to belted magnums. My father noticed this about 30 min later and made me put them back in but a t the time it didnt sound very loud but when i laid down to go to bed that night and the room went silent i could still hear a loud ringing and gunshots. it sounded like there was a war a mile or so away and the ringing was VERY loud and annoying.

the "ghost sounds" of the gunshots i was hearing lasted almost 12 hours and the ringing almost 24 hours. Now i ALWAYS wear hearing protection unless im just shooting a .22 rifle. Even though i should my .22 rifle sounds no louder than a good air rifle.

August 29, 2008, 04:17 PM
A .22 rifle is in the 140-150dB range, FAR above the danger limit. Put on your muffs even for .22!

Vern Humphrey
August 29, 2008, 09:02 PM
when i laid down to go to bed that night and the room went silent i could still hear a loud ringing
If you have ringing in your ears -- even if it goes away after a while -- you have suffered permanent hearing damage.

Always wear hearing protection!

August 29, 2008, 09:24 PM
Ok, we've discussed hearing protection to deaf around here and the consensus of the professionals on this board is that you should always wear plugs and muffs when you shoot. Any time and every time.


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