inside gunfire effect on hearing


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dadof6
November 19, 2010, 01:02 PM
A lot of discussion takes place about defending the home.... what-if??? Mostly about tactics and choices of defensive tools.

I am wondering about the reality of lighting off a round, or a few, from a pistol or longgun, inside, with no hearing protection. I have on one or two occaisions, fired a round from a pistol, and once from my AR, down at the range which is outside,but covered, without hearing protection. Not a pleasant experience. it gives me pause for concern about the idea of doing that inside 4 walls.

Please spare me the argument about making a choice between hearing loss and loss of life. I understand that. But I am talking about the reality of indoor shooting.

Has anyone ever had to experience that, and what has been the outcome?

thanks for your input.

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kingpin008
November 19, 2010, 01:09 PM
Whatever people might say, the bottom line is that with the possible exception of a very few calibers and configurations, the report of an un-suppressed gunshot is enough to cause hearing damage.

Now, the shooter may not experience a great deal of pain or immediate reduction in hearing, but the thing about hearing loss is that it is cumulative and permanent. Just because you did it once or twice indoors w/out protection and weren't deafened at the time, doesn't mean that you haven't sustained damage.

I pesonally double up when shooting. I'm 29 years old, and already have a great deal of hearing loss (including near-constant tinnitus) because in my teenage years I thought I was invincible, and stood too close to the speakers at too many punk shows. :banghead:

A.H. Fox
November 19, 2010, 01:10 PM
A lot of discussion takes place about defending the home.... what-if??? Mostly about tactics and choices of defensive tools.

I am wondering about the reality of lighting off a round, or a few, from a pistol or longgun, inside, with no hearing protection. I have on one or two occaisions, fired a round from a pistol, and once from my AR, down at the range which is outside,but covered, without hearing protection. Not a pleasant experience. it gives me pause for concern about the idea of doing that inside 4 walls.

Please spare me the argument about making a choice between hearing loss and loss of life. I understand that. But I am talking about the reality of indoor shooting.

Has anyone ever had to experience that, and what has been the outcome?

thanks for your input.
what?...WHAT?...

Robert
November 19, 2010, 01:11 PM
What?

So couldn't stop myself. I have fired a round inside, indoor range in a training environment, and it was not pleasant. I can fire my K98 without hearing protection with no pain or ringing... That is not a good thing. Between my poor use of hearing protection as a younger man and my playing bagpipes I have lost a portion of my hearing. Just ask my wife...

The reality is that you will loose some hearing and it will hurt, but a little loss of hearing is better than the alternative.

mcdonl
November 19, 2010, 01:13 PM
Please spare me the argument about making a choice between hearing loss and loss of life. I understand that. But I am talking about the reality of indoor shooting.

What answer are you looking for than? I could care less, it is a calculated risk. I hunt without hearing protection too. I take the risk

788Ham
November 19, 2010, 01:27 PM
How are you going to hear where the BG's at if you have your range muff's on? When the PD officers arrive, are you going to hear their order to "Drop your weapon and raise your hands"?, since they don't know whom the perp is? I have permanent hearing loss due to younger days of "knowing it all" too, and years of working on a rail crew, but knowing I have the chance to remove this BG, before he removes me or mine, this is a chance I'll gladly take. Yes, I know a .44 mag with 300 gr slugs is going to be one hell of a blast inside the house, but I knew that the day I bought the thing! So, you either loose some hearing to protect your family....... or you sit smug with your hearing protection over your ears, your call.

MikeNice
November 19, 2010, 01:31 PM
I have a friend that bought a cheap pair of active ear muffs and stores them on top of his handgun "safe." Both items are on his nightstand. He claims he can put on the muffs and turn them on in the time it takes his biometric safe to unlock.

Seems like a possible solution. Just make sure you don't have a "power on" led shining.

mfcmb
November 19, 2010, 01:37 PM
I've seen a number of posts to the effect that 'I was attacked, I fired, I didn't hear it' but none of them have then added a comment about the long term effects.

Personally, I'm just assuming that if I have to defend myself, whether inside or outside, that I won't have time to protect my hearing and that permanent hearing loss will be part of the cost of staying alive.

I've also wondered if there might be any circumstances that would allow me to sue the attacker for the loss of hearing...

mcdonl
November 19, 2010, 01:39 PM
He claims he can put on the muffs and turn them on in the time it takes his biometric safe to unlock.

Can he do it at 2:00 in the morning with screaming coming from the other room, gun shots and a flashlight shining under his door.

My opinion is KISS - Self defense needs to be simple. The more you need to fumble with, the more complicated it becomes.

mcdonl
November 19, 2010, 01:42 PM
Ooops... wrong thread...

mstrat
November 19, 2010, 01:50 PM
If you find yourself in a position requiring you to fire indoors without hearing protection, you are not going to care about hearing loss.

I realize you acknowledged that... but I had to say it anyway.

And I don't think there's any disputing that it's going to affect your hearing. I don't think it's going to be sudden and dramatic. But it's a cumulative contribution to hearing loss.

In the Army I fired my rifle many times without hearing protection, mostly outdoors but occasionally in buildings. I can still hear normal conversations just fine, but it no doubt reduced my hearing and had permanent damage. But that's a small price to pay - and I've never met anyone who's complained about it.

Narwhal
November 19, 2010, 02:04 PM
I've fired a .40 caliber pistol in my house out of a 3" barrel without hearing protection. There's no need to get into the details of why :uhoh: . The noise was not that bad. I didn't have much ringing in my ears, just a temporary bit that only lasted a minute or so. Granted I may already have a bit of hearing loss but it's still at normal levels for my age (30-ish).

If anything, the smoke and smell had more of a sensory effect than the sound.

So sure, it's not good, but you're not going to go instantly deaf from firing off a pistol indoors. I'm sure a hunting rifle or shotgun would at least give you a half hour's worth of ringing though.

tomaz45
November 19, 2010, 02:04 PM
Kingpin is right on the mark when he points out "cumulative" damage. I too suffer the effects of a misspent youth. Today, when in the field shooting birds or setting in a blind, I make sure I'm wearing my ear protection. However, when still hunting I don't. The single shot in the open field, vs. multiple shotgun blasts, or the report from inside the blind is the determinate factor. In the home defense situation, the priorities have changed. The minimal sound blast exposure doesn't even register when focused on stopping the threat. In training situations and target shooting, there is no excuse to not wear your hearing protection, and when coaching or serving as RO I most often double-up, with both plugs and muffs. That way I can enjoy the time after the match, without a constant ring in my head.

Kleanbore
November 19, 2010, 02:10 PM
Please spare me the argument about making a choice between hearing loss and loss of life. I understand that. But I am talking about the reality of indoor shooting.

Has anyone ever had to experience that, and what has been the outcome?

Addressing the question, I have fired guns indoors and outdoors without hearing protection (this, when I was too naive to know better) and the effects, in terms of permanent noise induced hearing loss, were substantial, particularly in my left ear. Enough to fail a selective service physical, though they were prepared to make an exception. By the way, I think it was made worse by spending about six hours in a sheet metal fabrication hammer room one day.

So, fire a gun that is loud enough anywhere, and you are going to experience some impairment, and it will be permanent; the effects will be much more secure indoors. Don't take into account auditory exclusion. That has to do with how the brain works.

That's not something I learned from Google, though you can confirm it there. I studied the subject of permanent noise induced hearing loss in an engineering course in college.

So, what to do? Putting on muffs doesn't seem like a good idea, and you cannot simply ask an intruder to step outside if the pint of a gun hasn't persuaded him to do it....

Personally, I would steer clear of ever firing a .357 Magnum indoors, and I'd be leery about setting off a hot twelve gauge load in a short shotgun indoors. I do remember shooting skeet with a guy who was using a
Winchester Model 97 riot gun, and it was a whole lot louder than my 26 1/2 inch twenty gauge over-under.

Here is some worth while data. Note that a .357 Magnum puts out about six times the sound energy of a .38 Special, and a short 12 GA., about three.

No wonder we hear numerous reports about hearing loss as a result of firearms including acoustic traumas that take hearing completely as a result of one shot.

According to Dr. William Clark, Ph.D. senior research scientist in charge of the NOISE LABORATORY at the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, the damage caused by one shot from a .357 magnum pistol, which can expose a shooter to 165 dB for 2msec, is equivalent to over 40 hours in a noisy workplace.

...shotgun noise averaged slightly more that 150dB. This is more than sufficient to cause sudden hearing loss with complications.


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

By the way, carpet and drapery will help a little if you have them.

In case anyone hasn't made the connection, leaf blowers, power mowers, and load car stereos are also a serious threat. I was too dumb to consider that in the first two.

My hearing aids cost over $7,000.

MikeNice
November 19, 2010, 02:21 PM
Can he do it at 2:00 in the morning with screaming coming from the other room, gun shots and a flashlight shining under his door.


It probably won't come to that extreme. A hardened exterior is the first line of defense and gives you advanced warning. Set up your security so that you have pre-alarms and secure your doors and windows. If it is at the point of gun shots and screams in the other room, chances are you've all ready lost.

Of course, I am ambivalent about his decision.

bigfatdave
November 19, 2010, 02:32 PM
As an industrial worker and former bubblehead, I've been dealing with the threat of hearing damage for a long time.
Auditory exclusion will not prevent hearing damage*, it will just be a momentary mental loss of sensory input, the physical damage will still occur.

* (I don't think you believe that it will, Kleanbore, just clarifying for other readers)

Keeping plugs or muffs handy is an obvious no-go (this has been covered MANY times right here on THR) for a variety of reasons, unless you have active hearing protection of some kind. The obvious solution would be a sound supressor, many other nations have rational regulations on such devices, here in the US we have silly hoops to jump through to make a gun quieter, but if you run an internal combustion engine without a similar device you're in big trouble ... write your congresscritters on the subject, please.

As to the actual effect of lighting off a round indoors, you may notice nothing, you may have ringing for a while, or you may be partially deaf to some degree for a bit.
Gun/load/environment will affect the duration and severity of the immediate effects, the permanent effects will be minor for a single round, but they add up and you NEVER get hearing back.

I keep silicone plugs in with about every stored gun, they fit me and they go in quick. This is more of a saturation plan to prevent not having HP at the range, but it has the side benefit of giving me the option to pop in plugs given a chance. But I know I probably wouldn't get the chance in a real defensive situation, and I don't have plugs when I'm carrying, either.

hso
November 19, 2010, 02:42 PM
A single shot may not do noticeable hearing loss, but more than one is likely to.

As you pointed out, if the question is loss of life and loss of hearing the choice becomes easy, but understanding the hazard allows you to take measures to mitigate the hazard.

Perhaps someone can find some data on different kinds of firearms and loads to take into account.
Noise levels of firearms:
.22 caliber rifle 130dB
.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. In 18" barrel 163.2dB.
.375 18" barrel with muzzle brake 170 dB.
.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.
.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.

Kleanbore
November 19, 2010, 02:47 PM
I have edited my above post to include a link to some data for different guns.

CruzR
November 19, 2010, 02:47 PM
I agree with Kingpin008's assessment of cumulative hearing loss. The reality is that if you are forced to use any firearm inside your home to stop a threat from an unwanted intruder, you will be so amped up on adrenalin that you probably won't remember pulling the trigger, much less feel the effects of the firearmís discharge. I would be more concerned about losing your night vision due to muzzle blast than effects of the discharge. I had a flash bang go off three feet in front of me while conducting active shooter training with my agency. It was supposed to go off prior to our entering a long approximate five foot wide hallway. We had no hearing protection and although we certainly felt the effects, were able to work through the scenario.

benEzra
November 19, 2010, 03:28 PM
As far as gun choice, most centerfire defensive caliber guns are surprisingly similar in terms of peak dBA, clustering the upper 150's. For any given bore diameter and chamber pressure, shorter barrels are louder than longer barrels, revolvers are louder than semiautos, and brakes are louder than standard muzzles or flash suppressors.

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


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 ó 18" barrel with muzzle brake...........170 dB


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

Harley Quinn
November 19, 2010, 03:28 PM
You will lose hearing ability, it is a given, might not be noticable, but a hearing test would disclose it...

http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000501/2749.html

Regards

DoubleTapDrew
November 19, 2010, 03:56 PM
Those dB charts must not take into effect the frequency of the noise or something because according to that, a 9mm is substantially louder than a 5.56, and my own unscientific test of shooting without ears on was quite the opposite.

Electronic earmuffs that amplify quiet sounds and cut out loud stuff (like peltor or howard leight) would probably be a good thing to have if you've got time to put them on. If you don't have the time to do that, well, hearing loss will be the last thing on your mind.

Kleanbore
November 19, 2010, 04:00 PM
...most centerfire defensive caliber guns are surprisingly similar in terms of peak dBA, clustering the upper 150's.True, but most people do not thinks in terms of decibels, which are stated in terms of base 10 logarithms.

So, in terms of sound pressure, as I try to (struggle to) recall what I studied in a physics class shortly after the 1964 model cars had come out, ...


The 9MM is about twice as loud as the .38 Spl.
The .357 Magnum is about twice as loud as the 9MM
the .45 ACP is a little over half as loud as the .9MM


....depending, of course, on barrel length, porting, load, etc.

...but it has been a very long time.

ChCx2744
November 19, 2010, 04:12 PM
I've been inside a range house when some knuckle-head ND'ed a muzzle loader .45 cal rifle behind the counter; floor looked like a rat had dug a hole doggy-style lol, a little crater with a little pile of dirt on each side. Aside from that it kind of sounded like a very loud thunder clap, not a loud pop. Regardless, I was shaken and had that "flat line" sound buzzing in my head for the rest of the day. I don't know if it had any lasting effects, though.

kingpin008
November 19, 2010, 04:16 PM
I was shaken and had that "flat line" sound buzzing in my head for the rest of the day. I don't know if it had any lasting effects, though.

That "buzzing" sound is called Tinnitus, and yes, it's a sign that lasting damage was done. Probably not serious damage, but as has been mentioned, hearing loss is cumulative. Once it's gone, even if it's a little bit - it ain't comin' back. :(

MikeNice
November 19, 2010, 04:53 PM
Klean, a 3db increase means the amount of energy that goes in to making the sound was doubled. To actually make something sound twice as loud takes 10db.

I might be wrong on the 10db part, but I know I am right on the 3db bit.

benEzra
November 19, 2010, 05:10 PM
So, in terms of sound pressure, as I try to (struggle to) recall what I studied in a physics class shortly after the 1964 model cars had come out, ...

* The 9MM is about twice as loud as the .38 Spl.
* The .357 Magnum is about twice as loud as the 9MM
* the .45 ACP is a little over half as loud as the .9MM
Well, our hearing is logarithmic too (not linear), so twice the sound pressure isn't perceived as twice as loud. As a rule of thumb, a 10dbA change equals a doubling in perceived loudness (even though it represents a tenfold increase in power), and a 1 dBA change is barely noticeable by the human ear, so a 2-3 dBA difference would be noticeable but not huge.

There is some interesting discussion downthread here:

http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/eng99/eng99325.htm


Those dB charts must not take into effect the frequency of the noise or something because according to that, a 9mm is substantially louder than a 5.56, and my own unscientific test of shooting without ears on was quite the opposite.
I believe those are dBA figures, which do take frequency into account, but they are *peak* dBA, not total radiated power integrated over time. It is possible that .223 has a longer off-peak duration, for example. Also, the lower frequences do less damage to hearing and are weighted less heavily on the dBA scale than higher frequencies, so it is possible that a .223 could be deepier and "boomier" than a 9mm without having a higher intensity in dBA.

http://www.eie.fceia.unr.edu.ar/~acustica/comite/soundlev.htm
http://www.eie.fceia.unr.edu.ar/~acustica/comite/abc.gif

Also, there is a tight correlation with barrel length, and that .223 figure is for an 18" barrel. A 16" .223 will be somewhat louder (probably comparable to 9mm), and a 14.5" .223 will be more like a .357, I suspect.

dBA does correlate pretty well with hearing damage.

Kleanbore
November 19, 2010, 05:46 PM
Posted by MikeNice: Klean, a 3db increase means the amount of energy that goes in to making the sound was doubled. To actually make something sound twice as loud takes 10db.

You are correct. That's why they call them "decibels". :)

I was imprecise in my comments above, in that I improperly described the ratio of sound pressure as "loudness"." I didn't want to appear too scientific.

However, I think it is the the pressure increase that is relevant to the discussion of physical damage. I think we are not concerned with the subject of how loud someone senses one sound to be vs. another, but with the pressure that impacts the sensory system.

Of course, frequency and duration will figure in, in addition to amplitude.

It would seem to me that firing indoors increases the duration of the sound over what happens outside, when the wave propogates away from the sound source without being reflected back and reflected yet again until the energy dissipates.

Your thoughts?

Posted by benEzra: Well, our hearing is logarithmic too (not linear), so twice the sound pressure isn't perceived as twice as loud. As a rule of thumb, a 10dbA change equals a doubling in perceived loudness (even though it represents a tenfold increase in power), and a 1 dBA change is barely noticeable by the human ear, so a 2-3 dBA difference would be noticeable but not huge.Very true indeed.

So, the question is, regardless of what we "hear", what is it that does damage, and how much of it matters?

I haven't worked with any analysis or testing of the physics of sound for about forty five ears, and I haven't done any in depth work with logarithms for about fifteen, so I am not the guy to figure these things out. However, going back to the link to the study above,

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 [.32 Long] to 164.5dB [.357 Magnum], representing 12 dB difference, or more than 10 time[s] as much acoustic energy for the top end of the pistol spectrum.

Krammer refers to the tenfold increase in energy, rather than to a doubling in loudness.

My takeaway from that is that there is a substantial difference among handguns in terms of their potential to cause permanent noise-induced hearing loss, and that the .357 Magnum, particularly with a short(er) barrel, is among the worst.

Erik M
November 19, 2010, 06:08 PM
I was in the room about 5 feet away from a ND out of a Glock 30. My right ear rang and ached for 4 days and I went to my doctor because I was scared it would be permanant. The fact that we were in a closed room with no windows seemed to make it worse in my mind.

merlinfire
November 19, 2010, 06:24 PM
I shot a shotgun (bolt action 20ga mossberg) for the first time with no hearing protection, I had a headache for 3 days. Learned my lesson. And that was outside, at that

o Unforgiven o
November 19, 2010, 06:43 PM
Im confused now... That link that Harley Quinn gave said this;

Based on the logarithmic scale, a 3-dB increase in SPL represents a doubling of the sound intensity.

But according to you guys that is not true. :confused:

Either way I always wear hearing protection in the form of Surefire EP4's, and if shooting centerfire rifles or handguns I wear the EP4's with Howard Leight L1's over them.

benEzra
November 19, 2010, 07:53 PM
So, the question is, regardless of what we "hear", what is it that does damage, and how much of it matters?
Hearing damage pretty much tracks with the pressure and/or power of the sound, which is what is tracked by the dBA (log10) number. Damage is not correlated very well with perceived loudness. Damage is strongly frequency dependent, though, which is why the A-weighted scale is used, to reflect the ear's frequency response.

Based on the logarithmic scale, a 3-dB increase in SPL represents a doubling of the sound intensity.
But according to you guys that is not true.
It's a little easier to see in a graph than to explain in words:

http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/dB_files/LI.gif
http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/dB.htm

Mathmatically speaking, a decibel measurement is always a ratio between two numbers (say, the power of sound #2 vs. the power of sound #1) and is expressed as the logarithm of the ratio between the two measurements:

dB difference = 10 * log10 (s2/s1)

so if sound #2 carries twice as much power in watts per square meter as sound #1, then the difference between the two sounds is just over 3 dB:

dB difference = 10 * log10 (2/1)
= 10 * 0.3010299957
= 3.010299957 dB

If the ratio between the two sounds' energies is 10 to 1 instead of 2 to 1, it would be 10 dB:

dB difference = 10 * log10 (10/1)
= 10 * 1
= 10 dB

When used as a sound-level scale, the denominator of the ratio s2/s1 is the pressure or energy of the faintest sound that a human with perfect hearing can detect in a perfectly silent room. So a .357 magnum at 164.3 dB is 10^16.43, or 26.9 quadrillion, times as intense as the faintest sound someone with undamaged ears can hear.

The perceived *loudness*, though, doesn't increase as fast as the energy/pressure; for every tenfold increase in power, perceived loudness only doubles.

Zoogster
November 19, 2010, 08:18 PM
It would seem to me that firing indoors increases the duration of the sound over what happens outside, when the wave propogates away from the sound source without being reflected back and reflected yet again until the energy dissipates.

Absolutely.
Every shot indoors is experienced at near peak intensity for a much longer duration than the same shot outdoors.
This makes hearing damage far more likely.

The sound waves will reflect back and forth from hard surfaces and continue to hammer the ears until they run out of steam. While outside they continue to travel away from the location of the shooter. The ground is the closest hard surface outdoors, but even then the intensity is diminished as the angle the waves impact the ground send most of them away from the shooter.
In a rural outdoor environment with soft soil, living tree bark, bushes, grasses or ground cover, and other soft objects the sound will be more absorbed so what does eventually reflect back has been severely diminished in intensity.
Even further reducing the overall loudness.


Indoors the walls and ceiling are often hard flat surfaces that will direct the sound right at the shooter. The floor may be carpeted, but the space is still enclosed (further increasing the effects of the pressure wave.)
The sound waves will ricochet endlessly in an enclosed space until they run out of steam.
The smaller the space the worse the effects. A bedroom would be bad. A kitchen or bathroom with all hard surfaces would probably be the worst as the sound would reflect from those surfaces with the strongest intensity.



This means a shot fired indoors without hearing protection from many calibers will be worse than several shots outdoors.

Hearing damage is cumulative though. So as a person becomes more deaf or loses hearing of various frequency ranges they are less sensitive to the pain and damage of a similar decibel loud noise.
Allowing them to further damage their hearing with less discomfort.
People partially deaf don't notice what they can't hear until it typically has progressed pretty far.
The subtle rustling of the leaves, distant chirping of birds, a small animal moving in the brush, a gentle lapping of water, the majority of such things will just be absent from their perception.
It is not until the much louder noises like a person talking in a normal tone become difficult to hear that they typically realize they have a problem.
By then they have lost a lot more than they had realized.

benEzra
November 19, 2010, 10:45 PM
Absolutely.
Every shot indoors is experienced at near peak intensity for a much longer duration than the same shot outdoors.
This makes hearing damage far more likely.
Yep. And consider that those decibel measurements upthread---all of which are way above the dBA threshold for permanent hearing damage---are very likely the quieter, outside measurements.

FWIW, there are a couple of Schlieren pics of the sound waves from a revolver and a short-barreled AK here (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3902035&postcount=46).

pfraser
November 20, 2010, 12:13 AM
Having been in a room where someone lit off a full-song .44 Magnum, I can tell you that firing indoors sucks.

Having said that, self defence situation? I don't care if I'm deaf, I'm still alive.

therewolf
November 20, 2010, 12:25 AM
I was at the indoor range one fine day, shooting my 1911.

Normally using ear protectors, I didn't give it a second thought,
until the rangemaster came up and spoke to me for a couple seconds.

I went back to my shooting afterwards, forgetting to put the ear protector back on my right ear. I was surprised to say the least at how loud the shot was.

And that was only standard 230 grain .45 ACP...

dadof6
November 20, 2010, 01:02 AM
I was not contemplating the use of hearing protection in the event of a BG coming into my house at 2 am. For many reasons, that just wont work.

I was thinking actually about being distracted by knowing what is coming if I press that trigger all the way. I shoot out of doors, but under a covered roof. I fired a .45 once, and my ar-15 once. the 45 really hurt. the AR? well, I only took one muff off. I was so startled and in pain that i scrambled to put the muff back on, as if I thought it would make it feel better :) The muzzle break really makes that thing xtra loud.

I have always used muffs, both for shooting and when i work in my basement shop. And yet I am loosing my sensitivity to sound in the range of the human voice.

I was just wondering if anyone had faced a situation where they fired indoors against a threat, and if knowing they had no hearing protection hampered their concentration. And/or, did the blast do anything to the other guy (not counting lead poisoning) to scare or stun him and allow a victory.

thanks for all the excellent replies and data. I will need to read that over more carefully.

FriedRice
November 20, 2010, 01:03 AM
During training a month ago, I forgot to put on my muffs before a drill. I use the gill type ear plugs, then electronic muffs over them. I had one gill fairly well seated in my right ear and the left ear less well seated. 20-24 shots went off around me before I got my ear muffs on. I haven't been to the doc yet but I suffered immediate pain in the ear drum (no rupture) and tinnitus off and on since then. For the first few weeks it was left ear, the last week it's been the right ear. It only lasts 10 seconds or so but the pain is often much longer. My hearing doesn't seem to be diminished in an obvious fashion but if I lose my hearing, I lose my livelihood. I will not make that mistake again. I also do not intend to shoot indoors again until the pain is gone. In addition, I'm joining an outdoor range.

Sunray
November 20, 2010, 01:19 AM
"...the possible exception of a very few calibers..." None. One shot out of any .22 LR, inside, without hearing protection, will cause permanent hearing damage.
"...the gill type..." A gill is a unit of measure.

Hardtarget
November 20, 2010, 01:25 AM
Some years ago, I shot with a club that used a range that was "open air". There were walls and back stop. and a shed roof where the shooting line was...just no roof. So, I come in, close the door and look up as the targets "faced". I think six .45s went off together! I ran back outside and put on my muffs. My ears rang for three hours. I can only imagine what its going to be like shooting inside my house! I only hope that soft furniture and drapes help soften the the blast. :what:

I've had my ears blasted four or five times in my life. Probably why they're ringing a bit right now. :D

Mark

FriedRice
November 20, 2010, 01:39 AM
They were shooter's ear plugs. They look like fish gills, that's why I called them that. I don't know how I have been able to hear without noticeable reduction since then. I'm usually in a quiet room talking 1:1. We will see how I do with ambient background noise this weekend. I'm sure I've done damage. That tinnitus is the sound of nerve endings dying. But it's not noticeable yet.

twofifty
November 20, 2010, 02:00 AM
great info here.

I am going to start a new thread on possible mitigation measures when designing & building firing line structures.

Dulvarian
November 20, 2010, 02:22 AM
I think that since silencers are legal here in SC, maybe I will just get one. That seems so much easier than worrying about the noise level.

carbuncle
November 20, 2010, 02:29 AM
I pesonally double up when shooting. I'm 29 years old, and already have a great deal of hearing loss (including near-constant tinnitus) because in my teenage years I thought I was invincible, and stood too close to the speakers at too many punk shows.

So it isn't just me! I have to double up, and wear plugs at any music show now. I'm 40, the cause of my hearing damage is exactly the same as yours, but with a decade of playing in bands added to it: next to impossible for me to make out a conversation among several people in a noisy environment now.

Back on the OP's topic, I once was shooting at an indoor range. The guy in the lane next to me was shooting a large-bore revolver of some sort, and when I turned my head for a second the edge of my earmuff lifted up at the same time the guy touched of a round: my right ear is still ringing from that, and it happened in '98. Seriously.

But from everything I've read, the bang will be the last thing you are worried about if you have to fire a gun indoors in defense...

Old krow
November 20, 2010, 03:06 AM
I think that since silencers are legal here in SC, maybe I will just get one. That seems so much easier than worrying about the noise level.

They're legal here and I'll pay the $200 tax stamp just to not have to worry about a logarithm again. :D

coloradokevin
November 20, 2010, 03:18 AM
I definitely think there is a serious risk of hearing loss by shooting indoors without hearing protection. How much hearing loss actually occurs probably depends on the individual, the weapon, how many shots were fired, and how close the shooter's ear was to the muzzle when the shot(s) were fired.

I imagine that part of the reason that this topic isn't discussed more often is simply because this ends up being a choice between the lessor of two evils: lose hearing, or lose your life. Personally, I think this subject makes a good argument for a suppressed weapon, though those aren't always easily available (especially thanks to the ridiculous $200 tax per item). I know that at least one sheriff's office in my state has suppressors on their AR-15s, which I think is an excellent idea. Unfortunately my department isn't quite so progressive, and we have regular 16" barrels with flash hiders... They're loud when they're close to your ear, even with hearing protection.

I actually carry a set of ear plugs in my uniform shirt pocket, just in case I ever end up in an environment where putting them in is advisable, practical, and necessary. In normal building clearances these plugs aren't used... I prefer to be able to hear everything during a slow/methodical clearance, and I calculate the odds of firing a shot to be relatively slim. However, I'm guessing that ear plugs might be useful (for example) when pursuing an active shooter through a building, especially given the proximity of my cover officers' muzzles to my ear during some of these tasks (but, such plans might go out the window during such a dynamic entry)! For home defense I just take the risk of hearing loss, and figure there isn't much I can do about it.

FriedRice
November 20, 2010, 03:34 AM
I realize people choose different calibers for defense but in that small dark room with me were two 40s, two 45s, and seven 9mms. Twenty plus shots at close range and I can still hear. I did not go deaf. My carry weapon does not permit a silencer however I do feel like I could probably withstand the hearing loss involved in a shooting with my 9mm. If I had an option for home defense, I might consider a silencer. I will take extra pains to protect my hearing but in a way, it was a good experience for me to have. I got muffs on ASAP and finished the drill. I got a pretty good experience of what would happen with my ears, and pushed through it.

I will report back after I see the audiologist though so others can learn. I'd already been developing tinnitus from 200 rounds/week of indoor shooting even with double protection. That was of about nine months duration.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalkze

dadof6
November 20, 2010, 08:56 AM
I was thinking that the blast, well aimed or not, might also startle the BG alot. I know when I'm pressing the trigger. it will come as a surprise to him (or her).

On occasion i have taken some kids (teens) to the range for some fun and safety lessons. one thing I have done is to have them stand away from me, out from under the canopy and take one muff off. I fire one shot.

then I ask them what they thought of that sound. then I talk to them about what they see on tv - fire fights inside warehouses and such. I want them to start to grasp the reality of firearms and break the hold that tv has on their imagination.

they are usually impressed with the reality lesson, and no harm has come to them (they stand a good ways off behind me). Puts a whole different spin on what 'cool' is.

Next im going to work on the realities of Halo on Xbox :)

leadcounsel
November 20, 2010, 09:24 AM
Use $60 electronic ear muffs. Put them on/near your home defense weapon. Noise at night, pic up your weapon and put on your muffs. Electronic ear muffs will amplify the soft noises and dampen the loud ones and benefit you.

MrWesson
November 20, 2010, 11:30 AM
I would rather be alive and deaf than dead.

I don't shoot without hearing protection but If I need to defend my home well what happens happens.

Harley Quinn
November 20, 2010, 12:13 PM
Shooting a few rounds off without protection will cause you hearing loss:what:

Erik M should be concerned, for he lost some:(

Argue about the situation all you want, it is well known in hearing aid circles, we should have been more careful:uhoh:

racine
November 20, 2010, 12:54 PM
I have electronic hearing protection by my bedside at arms reach much like my weapons of choice. Given the need for immediate action the primary tool is first and anything secondary is optional. Given any questionable issues, if time allows, having these earmuffs helps define any noises and provides lesser distraction to gunfire. I'd prefer to keep things simple but also like to have all resources available. Break ins are rare in rural communities, much less than the big city. Rare exposure to gunfire poses very little risk to your hearing than the sustained and protracted gunfights our soldiers get out there(in and outdoors). I've been to perhaps a hundred or so rock concerts and have been actively shooting 35 years and still have very good hearing. I did learn to wear plugs for the last 25 concerts and during 90% of my shooting sessions. During those 2 breakins I've encountered, I was fortunate not to have to discharge a weapon but I think that would have been the least of my worries.

106rr
November 21, 2010, 04:09 AM
I keep hearing protection with any gun used for SD. If you have a chance to protect your hearing, do so. Alive and deaf vs dead are not the only two choices. If you are at home you can easily have electronic muffs availalble. If you are on the street, the shots may not be as damaging to your hearing as they would be inside. I know that you cannot protect your hearing or your family from all losses. I strive to protect them from as much damage as I can. Hearing loss IS a loss to your family not just to you.

Mac's Precision
November 21, 2010, 05:38 AM
Well....

Here is something to think about. 40 years ago when my father was a deputy in California...they used to go to the qualification range every quarter. There was 30 guys on the line. All of them shooting .357 Magnums. NONE of them wore ear protection. Can you imagine? HUH?!?! My old man...is deaf as a post. Having a chat with Dad requires that you yell at him like a drill instructor.

When I was a kid my father used to scold me for shooting my .22 with no ear protection. I resisted to wear the mickey mouse ears. It seemed so pointless for the little .22...but I did it. I learned to never argue with my Dad.

Later in life...I was in the barn shooting pigeons with a 12 bore pump gun. I had it loaded with #9 shot and a 1/4 choke. The shotgun had a Cutts comp on it...and it was loud. I put most of a box through that gun that day. I was having some serious ringing as I wore no ear plugs. That ringing lasted for many many days. It was VERY stupid to do that.

I walked into an indoor range one day...after forgetting to put my plugs in... Someone lit a Magnum in there just as I set foot in.... WHOA! Back out the door....plugs in.

The real killer on my ears was when I was working in a car repair shop. I had a car up on my hoist. The mechanic in the next bay had a pickup truck in the air too. I was working on rear brake shoes on the car. He was installing an exhaust on the truck. He was welding up the muffler with an oxy/acetylene torch. He accidentally burned through the pipe and subsequently snuffed the torch flame. Like an idiot he was trying to relight the torch off the hot steel and ended up pumping the oxy gas mix into the tail pipe through the burn hole. He cussed and re-lit the torch and went about welding. He brought the torch back to the burn hole and it lit like a carbide cannon. The tail pipe was bent out the side just to the rear of the tire..............pointed right at my head. I was totally unaware the blast was coming. I had my right ear closest to the tail pipe that was about 6 feet away. BLAMMMMMO! I ducked like I had been shot...and lost all hearing in that ear for a little over 24 hours. I had a headache for about 3 days. To this day...I have intense ringing in that ear. I talk on the phone with the left ear.

So to answer the question posted by the op... Yes...you may suffer significant hearing damage from large bore handguns / shotguns or rifles when fired IN the house. It is something to be avoided but if the situation dictates it...let 'er rip...and then sit on the witness stand and go....HUH? Can you repeat the question? What? Sorry.

Cheers
Mac.

Harley Quinn
November 21, 2010, 12:25 PM
Yep...Even with hearing aids it is a major problem in your life and that of others who fail to comprehend...:(

Here is something to think about. 40 years ago when my father was a deputy in California...they used to go to the qualification range every quarter. There was 30 guys on the line. All of them shooting .357 Magnums. NONE of them wore ear protection. Can you imagine? HUH?!?! My old man...is deaf as a post. Having a chat with Dad requires that you yell at him like a drill instructor.

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