Potential hearing loss?


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WaMason
April 24, 2011, 04:59 PM
Went out shooting with a buddy up at Mt Baker and sighted in a couple of m91/30s.


I had purcased a pair if reusable eAr plugs and tried them out format of the day. Midway through the shoot I noticed my ear (left) was humming.
I swapped into another pair that I knew fit and worked but I fear the dg us done, two days later and ear us still "full" and humming.

Anyone had this happen and resolve?

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M-Cameron
April 24, 2011, 05:19 PM
as long as you were wearing some form of hearing protection......chances are there is no extensive permanent damage....

i know one time i was at the range, and the guy next to me was shooting a M44( indoors mind you).......i had in ear plugs and over ear plugs and it still wasnt enough..........

my ears also felt a bit iffy for a while after that......


but if it lasts more than a week i would see your doctor.............

TriTone
April 24, 2011, 07:31 PM
but if it lasts more than a week i would see your doctor.............

Sound advice. (Pardon the Pun)

Friendly, Don't Fire!
April 24, 2011, 07:35 PM
More than likely, you did cause some kind of damage. I am saying that based on experience - I now where two hearing aids all the time.

Only hearing tests will verify that, which you should get regardless of whether the tinnitus goes away or not so you have a baseline for any future hearing tests to compare to!

Drail
April 24, 2011, 07:38 PM
If you hear ringing you have done permanent damage. It may be slight but it is permanent.

PapaG
April 24, 2011, 07:44 PM
If you shoot, sooner or later you'll be exposed to more damaging sound than your ears can handle.

Thirty years or more in the machine shop, fifty five years shooting, only the shooting with protection, and I have pronounced hearing loss in the mid and high ranges.

Hearing aids are both expensive and a pain to use. They'll never replace your natural ears/drums/hearing.......Use fitted, good protection.
Shooting the big bore handguns I double up..my custom plugs and muffs.

WaMason
April 24, 2011, 08:25 PM
Thanks for the comments. Its starting to fade a bit, that or im getting used to it..

afponiky
April 24, 2011, 08:55 PM
Hopefully it is going away. Having hearing protection while it happened was the best thing you did!

I really don't think it will last you just pushed the protection factor that you were using. Sometimes I wear plugs and muffs if I know things are going to be loud.

Good luck!

cleardiddion
April 24, 2011, 09:04 PM
The ringing that I have now sure is a daily reminder that I wish I'd had someone to teach me about all this stuff back a few years ago when I first started shooting. Firing off hundreds of rounds per session with a 91/30 and some pistol in .40 S&W without hearing protecting sure puts a damper on things down the road.

General Geoff
April 24, 2011, 09:16 PM
If you have good speakers or headphones, it's possible to run your own hearing test with a program like Audacity, which has a specified tone generator for frequencies up past 20kHz. Keep in mind that everyone loses some high-frequency hearing capacity over their lives, so unless you're under 20, don't expect to be able to hear anything above 18kHz.

Paladin38-40
April 24, 2011, 10:11 PM
Mine says anytime you ring your ears with loud noise you have some damage. If you keep it up the damage is cumulative.The damaged nerves do not regenerate.

When I started shooting handguns 45 years ago ear muffs were referred to as "sissy muffs". So now I am a half deaf "he man". The ringing never goes away.

As I told my Son about several mistakes I made in life: You can learn from my mistakes or learn from your own.

camar
April 25, 2011, 05:24 AM
Back in the day(1963-1990) very few wore any hearing protection on the ranges in the USMC and Army. Some used cigarette filters and cotton balls were made available by the corpsman. Add 2 trips to Southeast Asia on top of this and I have a very loud ringing in my ears.

In the military you have to get used to the noise. Ear protection could get you in serious trouble in combat. This was back in the day. I don't know what the policy for hearing protection in a combat zone is today.

I cannot stand to be in a quiet room I have to have a radio on to take my mind off the ringing.

MtnSpur
April 25, 2011, 10:04 AM
Back in the day(1963-1990) very few wore any hearing protection on the ranges in the USMC and Army. Some used cigarette filters and cotton balls were made available by the corpsman. Add 2 trips to Southeast Asia on top of this and I have a very loud ringing in my ears.

In the military you have to get used to the noise. Ear protection could get you in serious trouble in combat. This was back in the day. I don't know what the policy for hearing protection in a combat zone is today.

I've had tinnitus since returning from duty in 1972. Multiple loud pow-pow-pow's beside me, from my own weapon and still wanting to hear every peep in the bush was cause enough I reckon. Depending on what I'm shooting I'll use in-ear plugs and OTE protection as well. When inserting your in ear pull your earlobe downward and backward while putting your plugs in, you'll get about the best "seal" possible (you may already be aware of this little trick) :)

W.E.G.
April 25, 2011, 10:12 AM
It'll be alright.

http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd7/rkba2da/humor/fudds2.jpg

InkEd
April 25, 2011, 10:23 AM
WHAT? HUH? SPEAK UP!

Anyone that does any good bit of shooting will have some degree (hopefully very little) of hearing loss. You should wear earplugs that fit properly whenever possible.

Usmc-1
April 25, 2011, 11:21 AM
I had tinnitus for about 2 years now , it is annoying but its tolerable at least for me, mine sounds like the noise you hear on an airplane , its constant , never eases up , my wife doesnt understand , she thinks its "made up" , but Ive lived in a noisy environement ,and been around guns my whole life , I dont care what kind of protection you have , you shoot more than 10000 rounds per gun your gonna have problems , add motorcycles and machine shops, factories , your gonna get it even if you wear the right safety equipment ! One thing that bugs me is Coffee the cafeene increases the hummmm for me , but I cant help it I love coffee , I lay off every few days and it drops to a real low hum , when it first appears you "freak out" about it , then like everything else "you live with it" ,I would suggest if its really loud , turn a fan on when you sleep it will drown out the humm!

teumessian_fox
April 25, 2011, 11:25 AM
years ago ear muffs were referred to as "sissy muffs

I've read that the old timers like Bill Jordan and Skeeter Skelton always yelled at each other.

MachIVshooter
April 25, 2011, 01:47 PM
If you hear ringing you have done permanent damage. It may be slight but it is permanent.

This. It sucks, and I wish I'd been more aware of it years ago. At 29, I'm hoping I can salvage what is left. I always wear plugs while shooting, riding my motorcycle, driving my deuce and a half, using hammers or any other time I believe there will be loud enough noise to cause damage. Ear infections cost me 60% of my hearing in the right ear at a very young age; I can't afford to lose any more.

And while ringing is an indicator of damage with lower pitch noises, high frequency can cause damage without that telltale sign.

WaMason
April 25, 2011, 04:28 PM
Starting to clear up quite a bit. My main concern was that I have crisp virgin ears. At 25 I have the hearing of a teenager. Or had.... When I was working at BP I took a hearing test and they thought I was cheating due to the high frequencies I was hearing.

I will run that hearing test again though. Thanks for the suggestion to use Audacity.That will work really well.

Im picking up a pair of muffs to go over the earplugs after this experience. Anyone have any good tips on a pair in the $30-50 dollar range?

M-Cameron
April 25, 2011, 04:43 PM
Starting to clear up quite a bit. My main concern was that I have crisp virgin ears. At 25 I have the hearing of a teenager. Or had.... When I was working at BP I took a hearing test and they thought I was cheating due to the high frequencies I was hearing.

I will run that hearing test again though. Thanks for the suggestion to use Audacity.That will work really well.

Im picking up a pair of muffs to go over the earplugs after this experience. Anyone have any good tips on a pair in the $30-50 dollar range?

i wouldnt worry too much.....even if you did loose some of your high frequency hearing, its not likely to effect you in every day life.......


as for ear muffs......its really kind of a personal choice, some ear muffs fit better on different people...........really any earmuff made my a reputable company will be fine.....

i currently wear a pair of Howard leight T3 (http://www.amazon.com/Howard-Leight-1010970-Thunder-Earmuff/dp/B001TAK60E)......they are a little bulky but are comfortable to wear for long periods of time and offer good protection

benEzra
April 25, 2011, 05:17 PM
Anyone that does any good bit of shooting will have some degree (hopefully very little) of hearing loss. You should wear earplugs that fit properly whenever possible.
Always wearing good plugs and good muffs together can pretty much prevent hearing damage, at least in my experience. I just turned 40 and have very good hearing with no ringing, but on the other hand I rarely listen to music through earbuds and am careful about headphone volume.

azranger
April 25, 2011, 05:26 PM
After 4 years working in and around helicopters in the AF Air Rescue and going to the base gun range every chance I got my ears are bad and I now have two hearing aids. Hell, the AF even gave us flight line personnel ear plugs to wear, but they where too much trouble to put on and take off all the time, and I nevere saw John Wayne with ear plugs when he was shooting. Lesson learned. . .just a little too late.:banghead:

crazysccrmd
April 25, 2011, 05:35 PM
In the military you have to get used to the noise. Ear protection could get you in serious trouble in combat. This was back in the day. I don't know what the policy for hearing protection in a combat zone is today.


Ear protection is required at all times on Army ranges (at least by the books and always enforced in unit's I've been in). We have 'combat earplugs' we are supposed to wear over here but it never happens. I'm not sure of the specific design, but when put in the ear one way it acts like a normal plug and dampens out all sound (such as when on a helicopter) and when flipped around it allows you to hear normal sounds such as voices but dampens sudden loud sounds, such as gunfire. I've never used them, never been issued them. If I'm shooting there are more important things on my mind than my hearing 20yrs from now.

USAF_Vet
April 25, 2011, 06:01 PM
10 years on active duty, exposure to a lot of aircraft engines, exposure to significant amounts of gunfire, including 105 howitzer and my hearing is still pretty ok. Just had a hearing test this month, have average hearing.

But then I've always worn hearing protection ,David Clarks on the flightline and in the air, foam plugs and occasionally muffs, depending if I'm bringing the M44 to the range.

At 31, it could be a lot worse.

xfyrfiter
April 25, 2011, 06:13 PM
at 59 tinnitus sucks . Too many years of guns, bikes, and boats with little or no ear pro, and now i hear ringing all the time, hearing aids are of no help either, so protect what you have, and wear plugs at the least, and double up above 100 db.

teumessian_fox
April 25, 2011, 07:20 PM
Facts on noise levels:

Decibels measure sound pressure and are logarithmic. That means that only a 3db increase almost doubles sound pressure, a 6db increase quadruples sound pressure, etc.

Gradual hearing loss may occur after prolonged exposure to 90 decibels or above.

Exposure to 100 decibels for more than 15 minutes can cause hearing loss.

Exposure to 110 decibels for more than a minute can cause permanent hearing loss.

At 140 dBA noise causes immediate injury to almost any unprotected ear.

There is also the more extreme ‘acoustic trauma’, which is an immediate loss of hearing after a sudden, exceptionally loud noise such as an explosion.

From: http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu...aring-loss.cfm

“When someone goes to a concert, cuts grass or runs a power saw, they can suffer from NIHL,” said Dr. George Hashisaki, assistant professor of otolaryngology at the University of Virginia Health System. “Afterwards, if their hearing is muffled or their ears are ringing, they have suffered NIHL. Even if their hearing comes back to what they perceive as normal, a small part of that hearing loss is permanent."

"People who are most in jeopardy of losing their hearing are those who use firearms regularly without ear protection or who are in the military and unable to wear hearing protection, such as those on the frontlines, Hashisaki said. The noise level of gunshots can reach 170 dB and is capable of immediate damage. Hashisaki recommends wearing both earplugs and earmuffs to protect hearing while target shooting."

Comparative noise levels and corresponding damage

12 gauge shotgun 165 dB Instant damage
Jet engine taking off 140 dB Instant damage
Thunder/Ambulance siren 119 dB 3 minutes
Hammer drill 113 dB 15 minutes
Chain saw/Earphones/Concert 110 dB 30 minutes
Bull Dozer 105 dB 1 hour
Tractor/Power tools 96 dB 4 hour
Hairdryer/lawnmower 90 dB 8 hours





Here are 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.

Factoid

Properly fitted earplugs or muffs reduce noise 15 to 30 dB. The better earplugs and muffs are approximately equal in sound reductions, although earplugs are better for low frequency noise and earmuffs for high frequency noise.

Using muffs and plugs together: Take the higher of the two and add 5 dB. 30 plug with 20 muff gives an effective NRR of 35.

If you are shooting by yourself, roughly 100 rounds of 140 dB instantaneous noise in a day should not produce hearing damage. Put your plugs and muffs on and you get to shoot up to a thousand rounds without damage (louder ammo/gun and the allowable drops by a factor of 5). Shoot with other people and you have to add all the rounds shot cumulatively (10 people shoot 100 rounds and everybody's done for the day; toss a handcannon or 30 cal rifle in and you're back down to 200 rounds cumulative). If you shoot on an indoor range then all the rounds fired while you are on the range go into your total. So you can see that it doesn't take very long on a range to have a thousand rounds popped off around you.

If you want to know what the noise level you are exposed to is you can rent noise dosimeters that you can wear. They will record the total noise exposure and present the information to you as dB. You can then subtract the adjusted combined NRR of your hearing protection to determine if you're getting too much exposure.

LINKS

http://www.deafnessresearch.org.uk/N...+loss+1640.twl
http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu...aring-loss.cfm
http://www.audiologyawareness.com/library.asp

WaMason
April 25, 2011, 09:33 PM
Wow. Thanks Fox this info is invaluable.

LKB3rd
April 25, 2011, 09:44 PM
As long as its just once, the damage will be small, and likely not even noticeable.

CZsp01
April 25, 2011, 10:03 PM
Scary thread.. Never fully realized the damage that could be done over time. I'm 26 and already at a bad start.

Patriotme
April 25, 2011, 10:19 PM
Great job FOX

MachIVshooter
April 25, 2011, 10:35 PM
Properly fitted earplugs or muffs reduce noise 15 to 30 dB. The better earplugs and muffs are approximately equal in sound reductions, although earplugs are better for low frequency noise and earmuffs for high frequency noise.

Using muffs and plugs together: Take the higher of the two and add 5 dB. 30 plug with 20 muff gives an effective NRR of 35.

There is a factor not accounted for here, and that is deflection. Put the muzzle of your gun through an exact fitting hole drilled through a sheet of OSB, and the noise level on the back side of that board is much lower. Same for plugs and muffs. While the measured noise reduction may only be 15-30 dB, the amount that is hitting your eardrum is a bit lower, because those sound waves are not able to channel into your ear canal the way they would an unprotected ear.

At the same time, be aware of your surroundings. While just earplugs are normally plenty for me, even with my AR-10 carbine, a few weeks ago I was sighting in for a hunt and parked my truck next to me to block the wind. The amount of noise that was being reflected off the metal sides of the truck was enough that normally adequate hearing protection was suddenly inadequate.

coloradokevin
April 26, 2011, 05:55 AM
Any chance that you just compressed some ear wax in your ear canal while using that plug? I've used earplugs almost exclusively for my entire shooting lifetime. I've had a couple of occasions where an ear plug caused some wax to be plugged in the ear canal. This resulted in a ringing/humming/buzzing type sound, as well as a very full and blocked feeling in the ear, sometimes for a couple of days.

This may not be a factor in your case, but could be something to consider.

Also, were you using the earplugs properly? In other words, could you noticeably tell that sound was reduced before you started shooting? There's obviously a difference between plugging the ear and simply placing a plug at the entrance to the ear. Most regular users of earplugs seem to use the same technique with those squishy foam plugs: Roll them thin, pull up on the ear lobe with the opposite hand, insert the plug and allow it to expand.

makarovnik
April 26, 2011, 08:21 AM
I've had horrible tinnitus caused by loud music and working in printing 15-20 years ago. It is horrible when you're trying to go to sleep.

It could get almost completely better on it's own. I notice it most of course when it's quiet, when I'm trying to go to sleep or when I'm sick. If you can no longer handle it see your doctor and he/she will prescribe something like valium. You will still hear it but you won't care. I sympathize with you.

WaMason
April 26, 2011, 07:38 PM
Colorado, The really bad humming is gone, but I do feel like hearing from he one ear is muted.

I'll give the ears a good reaming and check and see if it could be compressed wax.

Usmc-1
April 26, 2011, 07:42 PM
Wear ear protection when shooting , and lower the volume on your ear buds , trust me ,it will help , like some else said before me , when its quiet is when you will really hear it!

Quoheleth
April 26, 2011, 07:48 PM
If it sucks at 59, you should try it at 35! I'm 37 now and frequently have to ask people to repeat themselves, lose conversations in background noise, and when my ears hear repeated sharp sounds (think hammering a nail) i can actually feel my inner ear cringing.

Yeah, hearing loss is real, severe, and irreversible.

Q

icanthitabarn
April 26, 2011, 07:51 PM
A couple weeks ago, I heard of a possible, future fix for the ringing. Who knows if a true story, but thats what I read,

TXSurf
April 26, 2011, 08:00 PM
Try 29, I have tinnitus, it sucks! I hear ringing and crickets all the time! Kept me out of the Marine Corps when I tried to go in two years ago. I built custom cars for around 5 years, and never wore any ear pro in the shop. And when I went to the range I just wore the cheap plugs. Rarely ever wore it if I was at our ranch. However when I was starting off shooting, the most anyone wore was those cheap-o plugs, so I figured I was fine.

clutch
April 26, 2011, 08:12 PM
A box fan year round running in the bed room and listening to CSPAN will help you get some sleep.

The fan creates white noise and bureaucrats talking will bore you to sleep unless they hit a hot button in your political perspective. Anyway, this is what works for me. If the sat reciever turns off from inactivity, I'm up is seconds.

Clutch

Chicken321
April 27, 2011, 08:50 AM
Quote from WaMason:
"Anyone have any good tips on a pair in the $30-50 dollar range?

These Peltor muffs have worked well for me for the past two years. http://www.amazon.com/Peltor-H10A-Optime-Over--Earmuff/dp/B00009LI4K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1303904712&sr=8-2

Also, a big thanks to fox; I like to know the why and the how of things like this, and your post was a big help.

jiminhobesound
April 27, 2011, 11:02 AM
I grew up on a farm, tractor noises, I worked in a grainery, more noise, did not shoot a lot except during pheasant season, duck season and big game season. Only sighted in rifles. Shot a little trap on weekends. Worked highway construction surrounded by many loud machines. Went in the Navy and hearing was fine. Shot thousands of rounds through a Garand, with cotton in my ears. Qualified with many other weapons, 1911, riot gun, Thompson and grease gun. Hearing still OK. As a Communications Technician I spent many hours with earphones on both ears. When i left the Navy I had lost about fifteen to twenty five percent of my hearing. My point is that the hearing loss may be a genetic thing in some instances. My wife, now seventy, just developed tintinitus? and she had not been around any noise for forty five years.

hermannr
April 27, 2011, 02:46 PM
The worst thing that ever happened to me was when an idiot borrowed my buddy's 44 mag. I had my muffs down and was turing around to get back behind the shooter and he let it rip, about 5 ft from my left ear.

I felt sound for about 2 weeks after that and could not properly hear a thing, but my hearing did eventually come back to almost normal. I was 19 then.

After 8 years in the military and 50 years of shooting, I now wear electronic noise canceling muffs whenever I shoot. Too bad they didn't exist earlier.

The electronic noise canceling muffs are expensive, but they make shooting much more pleasant. You can hear normal conversations and noises just like you did not have any hearing protection on, but when there is an impulse noise, on any noise over 85db they blank it out to below 85db.

hso
April 27, 2011, 02:53 PM
See a specialist.

Wear properly inserted plugs under muffs.

Electronic muffs help you have them on when you need them instead of sitting on somewhere off to the side.

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