avoiding ear damage with powerful rifles


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mainecoon
April 12, 2012, 08:41 PM
I would love to shoot a .50 cal, a 338 or similar muzzle-braked rifle. But I don't know if my ears could take it. Obviously I would use ear protection. But is that enough for these guns? Is there a limit to how many times you can fire a .50 or similar really loud rifle before it's time to call it quits for the day?

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taliv
April 12, 2012, 08:50 PM
i always double up with plugs and muffs when i shoot 50s.

the noise doesn't bother me that way, but the concussion still gives me a headache after more than 20 rounds or so

SilentStalker
April 12, 2012, 08:57 PM
Yep, I double up as well. In all honesty, my ears are shot after the second round of 5.56 with regular ear plugs as I cannot ever get them to seat in my ear correctly. So, I definitely double up for the larger stuff.

jnoble87
April 12, 2012, 08:59 PM
Yep. I double up my ears with plugs and noise canceling muffs. It doesn't really hurt me, but my .30-06 is LOUD! It's enough to wake the neighbors.....

CnRnut
April 12, 2012, 08:59 PM
Yup, double up.

jem375
April 12, 2012, 09:24 PM
Too late for me...:)

TITAN308
April 12, 2012, 09:30 PM
Yep, I double up as well. In all honesty, my ears are shot after the second round of 5.56 with regular ear plugs as I cannot ever get them to seat in my ear correctly. So, I definitely double up for the larger stuff.

This is because half the people I see them with fail to use them properly. People seem to think you just push them in halfway and thats that.

You are suppose to twist them up, then reach your opposite arm over your head and lift your ear (grab the top of it) while inserting the squished up ear plug. Once all the way in you give it a few seconds and it will unsquish and create a proper barrier with no gaps.

Hold on Ill get you some pictures to illustrate.

TITAN308
April 12, 2012, 09:43 PM
Here you go...

What I see commonly... (wrong wrong wrong)
http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/8383/dscf4543t.jpg

The proper way (thumbs up)
http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/2685/dscf4546a.jpg

How to insert properly... (twist it up)
http://img560.imageshack.us/img560/5092/dscf4544yj.jpg


And yes, I just took the time to do all that... laugh it up lol

praharin
April 12, 2012, 09:45 PM
If you have to quit shooting anything because your ears hurt, you're doing it wrong. Hearing damage is permanent and cumulative. Shoot 5 rounds of unprotected .50BMG today and you'll do a certain amount of damage. That doesn't mean the next 5 rounds won't do damage, but a 6th would.

Every round, every time the damage is done, and once it's been done it doesn't repair.

If you're going to be shooting anything big with a muzzle break, get GOOD plugs and GOOD muffs and wear them with every shot.

Float Pilot
April 12, 2012, 10:06 PM
WHAT? Type louder !

Buckyt
April 12, 2012, 10:09 PM
I was weapons qualification Officer for our unit 1964-66 and was not given earplugs by the Army. I was told to use cotton. I can attest to how it feels to have a noise induced hearing loss (60+ decibel loss in the 4000-6000 frequencies.) I also have tinnitus that rings so loud that sometimes I can't sleep. or hear my grandkids.
Do yourself a favor and wear your earplugs. If you are shooting the big stuff, it is wise to double up. Titan has given a good example of how to properly insert the earplugs.
Do it!

Sheepdog1968
April 12, 2012, 10:34 PM
I got lucky in my teens. I went to the Springstein Born in the USA tour. It was loud. My ears were ringing the next day. I thought that can't be good so ever since I've worn ear plugs for loud events including vacuuming, lawn mowers, and shooting.

beefyz
April 14, 2012, 05:02 PM
I wonder how our GIs had to feel who had to shoot one of those Garands all day ????? Never saw one of them with a plug or muffs on the ears. Wonder how they felt about that ?

Z-Michigan
April 14, 2012, 06:25 PM
Kudos to Titan for the demonstration.

Double up. And foam earplugs have a much higher NRR than most other styles (rubber in particular). You can get NRR33 earplugs, which are exactly twice as effective as NRR30, four times better than NRR27, and 10 times better than NRR23... you can see the benefit. But only if you insert them properly, as Titan showed.

With a little shopping you can also get muffs that are over 30db. I use Howard Leights and they only cost me $20 or so, but you have to look around for them.

Doubling up only gets you so far - NRR33 plugs and NRR30 muffs might get you somewhere in the range of NRR36-38 maybe - but that's as good as you can do. There's an absolute limit because all of your skull can conduct sound, so some hypothetical NRR100 plugs would not protect your ears much better. But doubling up you should be fine even around a braked .50.

redneck2
April 14, 2012, 07:11 PM
NRR33 plugs and NRR30 muffs might get you somewhere in the range of NRR36-38 maybe - but that's as good as you can do
This is coming from a guy that didn't use hearing protection for years. My ears ring all the time....so

Do you have any pix or examples? How do I check the rating?? I'm around industrial machines every day, so this hits home.

TIA

B!ngo
April 14, 2012, 07:18 PM
I'll add to Titan's demo.
I let the plugs stay cool before inserting. If they are warm, you cannot use the procedure (below) effectively (they will expand too quickly). So try not to carry them in your pants pocket where they will stay warm.
Roll them in your fingers as quickly as you can so as not to warm them but to compress them in to thin plugs (about 2MM in diam) about the width of a pipe cleaner.
In one deft move, holding the plug near the leading end (the end going in to the ear first) so as not to let it decompress, insert it in and up the ear canal. Yes, I was surprised at how relatively vertical my ear canals are, as are most people's. This directional requirement often prevents people from inserting them correctly.
Here's the extra secret which will sounds a bit gross but is just fine. Insert them quickly, while twisting slightly until they just touch your eardrum. Yep, that deep. Then back them out however little to remove that pressure.
'Repeat on the other side; wait for them to expand properly. If the world doesn't disappear evenly, re-do the leaky one. Then put on a pair of muffs.
I've used this technique flying aero and long-distance, long-distance motorcycle runs, karts and race cars, and shooting. It works and is the only technique I trust.

peterotte
April 14, 2012, 07:55 PM
This is because half the people I see them with fail to use them properly. People seem to think you just push them in halfway and thats that.
There's a good reason for that. Not all ears are equal. It's simply not possible for some folks to wear ear plugs 'correctly'. I know this! There are designs that can be worn by most but those are hard to find and are expensive.

The solution for loud boomer's is a mini-suppressor, shrouded muzzle brake or full suppressor. Shrouded muzzle brakes might be legal in your country, depending on the wording of suppressor control laws.

SlamFire1
April 14, 2012, 08:42 PM
Plugs and muffs are the best we have, but at some noise levels, and I don't know off the top of my head, sound transmission through your jaw bone is enough to damage your hearing.

MachIVshooter
April 14, 2012, 08:54 PM
i always double up with plugs and muffs when i shoot 50s.

the noise doesn't bother me that way, but the concussion still gives me a headache after more than 20 rounds or so

+1

I use plugs and muffs when shooting my AR-50, but like Taliv, my head starts to throb from the concussion after 20 or 30 rounds. It's amazing how much there is when shooting a braked .50 cal., and the muzzle blast will blow things off the bench.

CharlieDeltaJuliet
April 14, 2012, 09:07 PM
I shoot my BA50 with plugs and electronic earmuffs, without either is mildly painful. It rings my ears without either.

sixgunner455
April 14, 2012, 09:37 PM
I have tinnitus. I plug and muff, every shot, except when hunting, when I use electronic plugs or muffs.

I think I'm gonna invest in some suppressors.

Z-Michigan
April 14, 2012, 10:03 PM
@redneck2: the best earmuffs I've found for noise reduction are passive Howard Leights. Looks like the LR3 is currently a highly rated muff:

http://www.howardleight.com/shooting-protection/earmuffs

and they start at $11:
http://www.google.com/search?q=howard+leight+l3&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

Not sure what you want a photo of. Just wear earplugs in your ears and muffs over top. As for the maximum total noise reduction possible, I don't know my original source, but here's one article I found in a quick search:

http://earplugstore.typepad.com/got_ears_get_informed/2011/09/hunting-nrr-33-protection-when-is-it-right-for-you.html

here's a search if you want to read more:

http://www.google.com/search?q=maximum+possible+nrr&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

Buckyt
April 15, 2012, 05:37 PM
I qualified with M1 in training, and then with M14 when I was on active duty. I wish I knew how many rounds I fired with those rifles. I then was weapons qualification officer and No earplugs from the Army. No real hearing test ( whisper test) when I was discharged. They said my hearing was "normal". Now that I have tinnitus, and severe hearing loss, the VA has approved the tinnitus, but says my hearing loss was not caused by the military noise.
Please wear your hearing protection!

TITAN308
April 15, 2012, 08:26 PM
There's a good reason for that. Not all ears are equal. It's simply not possible for some folks to wear ear plugs 'correctly'. I know this! There are designs that can be worn by most but those are hard to find and are expensive.

I fail to see how a piece of foam is not completely and utterly universal.

I mean, perhaps trimming the ol' ear hairs might make the room that is needed... lol

tundraotto
April 16, 2012, 10:48 PM
just reading through this and thought of something....Does anyone else use the electronic muffs for hunting? I have used the Howard Leight amplified muffs for shooting for a couple of years and like them a lot. I want to hold on to all the hearing I have so for the last couple of hunts I have used them. I can turn them up to hear more than I would otherwise! Its been a win-win for me and was just wondering why more people didnt do it...I dont double up for the braked and Mag rifles like I should.

talldragon
April 17, 2012, 12:44 AM
I definitely double up on hearing protection when firing a Magnum rifle, especially a magna-ported one :evil:.
Seriously, hearing damage is irreversible . Protect what you have.

I know a Vietnam Vet who spent his tour on a PBR (Navy)
firing the forward mounted Twin .50's with no hearing protection.
Let's just say he has a real tough time with cellphones.....None of them are loud enough. VA denied his hearing loss claim as well.
Wear your "ears" folks :D .

peterotte
April 17, 2012, 07:17 AM
I fail to see how a piece of foam is not completely and utterly universal.Trust me. I've not only read the book, seen the movie and been there - I am there. My ear canals are narrow and not straight. Doctors and nurses struggle to see my ear drums! Yet my hearing is good. Mind you, I've always used hearing protection. I do have tinnitus but it's from something else.

peterotte
April 17, 2012, 07:20 AM
VA denied his hearing loss claim as well.There can be no question of the cause of hearing loss in the military. Aren't there lawyers ready to get rich fighting these claims? They can't lose.

Gtimothy
April 17, 2012, 05:28 PM
I lost 30% of my hearing while in the Navy. Big Guns, Missiles and Navy jets will do that to you over 20 years.

I usually double up but I've been using some coated foam ear plugs that Really do a good job! When I put them in, I can't hear anything... including my wifes snoring...I didn't say that out loud did I???:evil:

I need to get some good over the ear "Mickey Mouse" ears but I haven't found any that I like yet.

gunnysmith
April 17, 2012, 08:31 PM
I use molded in the ear plugs with an 85 db cutout filter.
Usually $75.00

SpeedAKL
April 18, 2012, 11:21 AM
I typically use standard winchester earmuffs when on an indoor range. The closest indoor range permits everything .460 Wby and below; I regularly shoot high-power rifles there. TBH, the earmuffs are a bare minimum in an environment like that. I occasionally double up with screw-in rubber units.

Outdoor ranges are a lot milder,but a SBR or braked rifle will still rock you pretty good if you only have a pair of foamies in.

FIVETWOSEVEN
April 18, 2012, 11:39 AM
When I shoot or am around a .50, I just use plugs and I'm perfectly fine. No ringing, not too loud, and doesn't hurt.

I wonder how our GIs had to feel who had to shoot one of those Garands all day ????? Never saw one of them with a plug or muffs on the ears. Wonder how they felt about that ?

You should ask one when you see one, might have to yell your question though. :D

oldpink
April 19, 2012, 11:22 AM
It's just idle speculation on my part, but I wonder if they have some sort of helmet device with integral hearing protection to reflect back sound rather than conduct it through your skull, something reserved only for the most extreme noise levels.
Sure would be uncomfortable for shooting, but I would be willing to bet you could significantly improve upon the practical NRR rating of 33 with something of that sort.

Malamute
April 21, 2012, 11:27 PM
I have serious hearing damage also. I keep foam plugs on me at all times. I wont even take a shot hunting without them, no game animal is worth losing any more hearing. For the worst offenders I use plugs and muffs. Most anything with a brake/flash suppressor falls in that catagory, as do 357 loads in a pistol. The 44 seems more pleasant to shoot.

I made one shot with a 338 in the woods and lost noticable hearing in my left ear. Never again. That wasn't the only thing I've lost hearing from, but I knew the instant I fired that something was wrong. That deer was absolutely NOT worth losing any hearing over.

338's don't need brakes in any event. I wouldnt have a braked gun for a field gun. Just my preference. If I couldnt get it tamed by proper stocking fit and a good pad, I wouldnt shoot it in the field. I still use plugs when hunting tho, just put them in when I'm about to shoot. If I lose the shot, oh well, there will be another one of whatever. I dont recall losing a critter from not being ready tho.

oldpink
April 22, 2012, 08:42 AM
Malamute, you don't really have to insert plugs just as you're about to shoot.
There already are electronic plugs that cut off with gunfire, allowing you to hear through them up until that point.
You can simply wear them, adjust the sound amplification level (yes, they can act somewhat as hearing aids), then go hunting.
The electronics will do the rest for you.

KeithR
April 22, 2012, 01:05 PM
oldpink,
I'm new to this so could you post some product examples and/or web links. Thanks!

rcmodel
April 22, 2012, 01:11 PM
Walkers Game Ear was probably the firstest with the bestest.
They have several models and price ranges so look around their website.

http://www.walkersgameear.com/wkrs_products/wkrs_bte_dighd_01.html

rc

W.E.G.
April 22, 2012, 02:47 PM
With the foamie earplugs, I generally push them in until they are touching.

Tom Held
April 23, 2012, 09:21 AM
I've been seen a couple of times at the Starkey Institute for my gun-related hearing loss and asked about doubling up. The audiologists that I spoke to who were rifle shooters said it makes minimal difference, almost unperceptible in hearing reduction. The rest of the loss occurs through your bones in the side of your head which transmit noice to your inner ear. Nothing short of a full sound absorbing head device would absorb the noise. Not very pratical.

hdbiker
April 26, 2012, 10:43 AM
after many years of useing ear plugs and standard ear muffs,it got so I coulden't hear conservations at the range.Every time I'd lift the standard muffs to hear a conservation,someone would fire a .300 mag,OUCH. So I bit the bullet and bought a set of Walkers Power Muff Quads.Problem solved.And their great out hunting in the woods.biker

PTMCCAIN
April 27, 2012, 12:15 PM
DOUBLE PLUG...VIDEO TO FOLLOW:

http://youtu.be/vke_3G-dTT8?hd=1

agoodpeter
April 28, 2012, 09:05 PM
for those where eye gear,,, ear muffs won't do enough,, there will always be slight a gap from the eye gear,,, just anoth reson to double up

Southernsorrow
May 4, 2012, 06:11 PM
i use walker game-ears headphones for .223 and handguns can hear conversations and game moving around but blocks out the ear popping .223 round with a 12.5 barrel and when it's too hot for over ear protection i use plugs or behind the ear pro hear phones. also works with .308, anything bigger you def want plugs and or plugs+muffs

Stevie-Ray
May 4, 2012, 11:25 PM
I double-up for everything including .22LR outdoors. Never hurts to be overprotective when it comes to that. There are just some things that require doubling up with the absolute best of both. .45-70 Contenders indoors come to mind.

I've been seen a couple of times at the Starkey Institute for my gun-related hearing loss and asked about doubling up. The audiologists that I spoke to who were rifle shooters said it makes minimal difference, almost unperceptible in hearing reduction.Those audiologists, who are supposed to be professionals are downright crazy! Fire a .44 magnum indoors with one or the other and it HURTS! Now double-up and try again. HUGE difference!

I've never heard of such a thing!:fire:

langenc
May 7, 2012, 04:44 PM
Thanks for the demo on page one..

I have worked 'sight in days' jut before der season.

All kinds of characters show up-very many without plugs/muffs. When asking some about it they say "Oh we shoot 44s all the time without muffs."

Remember to wear em for 22s-still important even if they are 'just 22s'. I have heard that a lot. 22LR is about 135 dB-about the same as a jet engine.

Bob72
May 7, 2012, 05:18 PM
Standing in a hooch in Nam, didn't know a 155 was behind it , right over my head,and about to fire into a free fire zone. BLOOOOmmmmmringring ring ring ring both ear drums blown out. 45 min for right ear to have some hearing and 8 hours for the left. Have permanent nerve damage but about to get two hearing aids from VA. I still use doubles with electronic muffs. Bad as my ears are, (constant ringing and loss) protection is important so that they won't go out totally. I also get the headache after a few rounds of the 50 cal. Indoor ranges, where concussion can bound from wall to wall will also give me a headache. Take care of your ears and eyes.......with double protection you should be all right.

ladytech777
May 9, 2012, 03:38 PM
Go with "Mine Safety Appliances" or "David Clark's". Stay away from those discount $5-$10
"specials". They are regular muffs and are not overly expensive,

Ken70
May 10, 2012, 01:38 AM
My boss had to fire a quad .50 back during the Korean War, he was a little hard of hearing. I don't know how he could have done that more than once....

Another guy was on the Army shooting team in the late '50s and early '60s. He shot .300 magnums all day and had the rest of the team banging away on both sides. It wasn't until I knew him for about 3 years and he was telling me about the shooting that he mentioned he had 76db tinnitus and was a lip reader. He could carry on a conversation and never make a mistake.

It wasn't till about '75 that the military started giving ear protection to the troops. Before that it was just bear it....

I always double up, the side frame from the glasses messes up the seal. Plugs alone won't do it, came home with 24 hour headaches after a range trip.

rodregier
May 10, 2012, 11:39 AM
The best passive over-the-ear muff I have found (and use) is this product:

Peltor 97010 Ultimate-10 Hearing Protector

http://www.amazon.com/Peltor-97010-Ultimate-10-Hearing-Protector/dp/B000PW98WO/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8

NRR of 30 dB

You can also purchase replacement cushions elsewhere.

Good pricing and availability thru Amazon. I have also gifted these to others.

Ryden
May 11, 2012, 04:23 AM
I fail to see how a piece of foam is not completely and utterly universal.

I mean, perhaps trimming the ol' ear hairs might make the room that is needed... lol
Simply because everyone's ears are different.
I used to work in industrial environment with foamplugs in my ears for many years and even though I'm a big guy, 6'4, I have to use plug size small or my ear canals will hurt like h@ll after the shift.
They make different sized plugs for a reason.

And as to ear hairs, I start to resamble my grandfather. Do Black&Decker make miniature weed whackers?

OldAl
May 11, 2012, 02:12 PM
Huh? Say could you speak up, I've been shooting for years and cant hear you!

Ryden
May 11, 2012, 05:10 PM
I SAID, THAT SIMPLY BECAUSE ... e

Samari Jack
May 12, 2012, 05:39 PM
I read a study once that showed in the immediate, peri-trauma time of hearing damage from loud noises, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil (Ibuprofen) help to decrease the damage. Advil can be obtained over the counter. The over the counter tablet strength is 200 mg, dosed 400 mg every 4-6 hours. For those with strong stomachs and a good liver, this can be bumped to the prescription dose of 800 mg no more than three times a day. For tinnitis due to gunfire, a person only needs one dose ASAP after the event. It is conceivable that taking a dose just prior to the event could help.

Tylenol, (acetaminophen) is not a non-steroidal and didn't help in the study I read.

Stevie-Ray
May 12, 2012, 11:12 PM
Tylenol, (acetaminophen) is not a non-steroidal and didn't help in the study I read. Medicine has been telling us for the past 40 years that acetaminophen did nothing to relieve inflammation, but here lately they've been reversing themselves. What gives with that?

I take Meloxicam on a regular basis. It doesn't do a thing for chronic tinnitus; I wonder if it would work on acute?

KSDeputy
May 15, 2012, 11:05 AM
Many of us lost hearing in our right ear, if we were right handed. At the time, no one knew of the damage that could be caused. In addition, I had to have a right hip replacement from carrying a heavy sidearm on that side. We started with S&W .357 revolvers, and later changed to S&W 645 .45's, and later to S&W 4506 .45's. The day I retired, they gave me the new 4506 I had recently been issued. It had been to the range once, so 50 rounds had been fired through it. I keep in touch with what is going on at the office. They have .40 caliber Glocks, now. I have never owned or shot a Glock. When they were first acquired, each deputy had to attend an 8 hour class to learn about the weapon. Most of my pistols, including the Walthers, operate the same. They have a decocking lever, which lowers the hammer safely. The Smith's will not fire, even with a cartridge in the chamber, if the magazine is not in the gun. I haven't read the Walther book to know if they operate the same, as I have yet to carry them. This is a great safety feature for the peace officer. If a bad guy gets your gun and you are wrestling around trying to get it back, all you have to do is release the magazine. This buys you extra time to get it back, or to use a back up gun. Most criminals are not smart enough to figure out why the gun won't shoot. I am stuck on Smiths, I have about ten of them, many different models. I have three Walthers. I got to babbling and got off of the subject. We are required to wear eye and hearing protection now, no exceptions. If one carries under LEOSA, you must shoot and qualify the same course of fire yearly as the full time deputies do quarterly. As I am almost deaf in my right ear, I can tell you how important ear protection is. Eye protection is as well, if the shooter to the left of you is shooting a semi-auto, you are likely to get his spent brass to the side of your face, or your eye.

hso
May 17, 2012, 06:21 PM
The Walker's in ear products have the problem that they're difficult to insert properly. If not inserted properly the NRR will not reach the advertised protection. The advertised NRR comes from applying the testing procedure under ideal conditions.

If you want amplification with cutoff for shooting I recommend the use of an electronic muff (NRR 20-22) and high NRR plugs.

Make note that you can get foam plugs in sizes. EAR offers Amigos for small ear canals and Grande for larger ear canals.

TrickyDick
May 17, 2012, 10:20 PM
I've shot .50 BMG from a M2 just using foam earplugs, and put in them in just like in those photos, not a problem...

Samari Jack
May 19, 2012, 03:07 PM
Medicine has been telling us for the past 40 years that acetaminophen did nothing to relieve inflammation, but here lately they've been reversing themselves. What gives with that?

I take Meloxicam on a regular basis. It doesn't do a thing for chronic tinnitus; I wonder if it would work on acute?
Nothing wrong with taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) with a non-steroidal like Ibuprofen or Meloxicam. Their mechanism of action is different. Just be aware some OTCs combine both in the same tablet. Tylenol in excess of 4,000 mg a day can kill you. Most only recommend a max of 3,000 a day. Less if you have liver disease.

The generally accepted belief is that the non-steroidals will help in preventing damage form inflammation in addition to relieving pain from inflammation.

There is movement a-foot to take all acetaminophen products off the market. Inadvertent overdose and suicides are the cause. Suicide from Tylenol OD is an ugly way to go.

majortoo
May 22, 2012, 10:01 PM
As a grumpy, old war surplus Viet Nam veteran, I can attest to the pain from a day at the range without hearing protection. I qualified with the old M1 Garand, the M14, the M16, the M60, and M1911A1. Besides those, I got to famfire (familiarization fire) the M2 .50 Browning, the BAR, the M1 carbine, and several other toys. All great fun, but that was all back in the sixties when the Army was not sensitive to the problem of hearing loss. Some of us would spit on a wad of toilet paper and stuff that in our ears. It seemed to help some, and a recent test (taken at my wife's insistence) showed no hearing loss. (Now she thinks my hearing loss is real, but selective. Go figure!)

Saakee
May 23, 2012, 02:04 PM
I was looking at a pair of howard leight sync's and saw they said 25db reduction. I then wondered this:

If I use a pair of muffs that say 25db reduction and a pair of earplugs that say 33db attenuation, do I receive these two together and get a 58db reduction or does it get attenuated to some percentage of these two added together?

ZombieHorde
May 31, 2012, 08:23 PM
I use weapon mounted ear protection :D

oldpink
June 1, 2012, 11:56 AM
Kinda unwieldy, even disregarding all that it takes to get that extra bit of hardware fully legal, though.
:scrutiny:

LAK
June 9, 2012, 04:22 PM
Don't have time to wade through all responses but if not already mentioned avoid shooting right next to large objects like trees, walls etc. I have found that this significantly reflects the sharp report of other centerfire rifles.

Ranb
June 11, 2012, 06:12 PM
A silencer and muffs are the best hearing protection a person can use. I do not like shooting unsuppressed anymore.

Ranb

Ranb
June 11, 2012, 06:36 PM
If I use a pair of muffs that say 25db reduction and a pair of earplugs that say 33db attenuation, do I receive these two together and get a 58db reduction or does it get attenuated to some percentage of these two added together?
No, a decibel is a tenth of a Bel. It is also logarithmic. http://forum.studiotips.com/viewtopic.php?t=3300

Adding 25 dB and 33 dB give us 33.6 dB. 33 db is about six times the value of 25 dB. Adding a comparatively small value of 25 to a much larger value of 33 increases the sum very little.

While this appears to make double hearing protection more trouble than it is worth, in practice it can be helpful in case one set is not worn properly.

Ranb

Bentonville
June 11, 2012, 11:37 PM
Ranb, I wish I could get a suppressor. I asked our sheriff if he would approve the paperwork for me to obtain one and he said flat out no. He is not signing for any class 3 weapons etc. including suppressors. Too bad for me.

Ranb
June 12, 2012, 07:33 AM
Sheriffs that live in states that allow unlicensed civilians to own silencers but refuse to sign the ATF form 4 to buy or ATF form 1 to make are foolish. The fact is that it is a simple matter to create a trust to own the silencer. A trust does not require the signature, photos or fingerprints. The sheriff can decide whether he or she knows who owns this stuff or remain ignorant. the smart ones sign, period.

Ranb

m1dbob1944
June 17, 2012, 08:06 PM
I have hearing loss from the army and from ear infections both as a kid and frseveral as an adult. To protect what I have left, I wear plugs and muffs

m1dbob1944
June 17, 2012, 08:08 PM
Why are suppressors made a Class III?

Ranb
June 17, 2012, 09:37 PM
Back in 1934 machine guns, destructive devices, short barreled rifles/shotguns, gadget guns and silencers were placed under the control of the National Firearms Act. As far as I know silencers were included as some sort of anti-poaching measure during the depression.

Ranb

hso
June 19, 2012, 10:45 AM
Ranb is correct, you do not simply add the NRR for the muffs to the NRR of the plugs to get the effective NRR.

OSHA guidance says to take the higher NRR and add 5.

larry237
June 27, 2012, 09:42 PM
I have some hearing loss from military, law enforcement, and recreational shooting, as well as diving, flying, and loud music. Recently I had a poured in molded ear plug made by an audiologist and it works better than any other types that I have tried. I still double up with muffs to try to protect my remaining hearing. If plugs or muffs don't seal up correctly, they don't work as well. When using muffs, your protective glasses may break the seal and reduce their effectiveness. It is a good idea to get a baseline hearing test to see how much your hearing has been damaged and follow up tests to see how well your protection is working. It is a real nuisance to have hearing loss and tinitus, so protect your hearing as much as you can.

bergmen
June 28, 2012, 07:17 PM
I fail to see how a piece of foam is not completely and utterly universal.

I mean, perhaps trimming the ol' ear hairs might make the room that is needed... lol

Well, me for one. I can try fifty times with every conceivable method on earth and the foam plugs might work once out of those fifty times. Several different types of foam plugs, none of them fit my ears, they leak sound like a sieve. Also, in the rare circumstance I DO get them seated properly, they always work their way out, or pop out due to a cough, sneeze or yawn.

What I use (for doubling-up and especially for motorcycle riding with full face helmet behind a windshield) is silicone putty ear plugs:

http://www.medicineandmore.com/physicians-choice-silicone-ear-putty-plugs-p-1609.html

NRR of 20 db which is okay with muffs or helmet. These conform to my ears and do not work themselves out. Extremely comfortable.

I need to double-up with my M1A Scout Squad. Short barrel plus the muzzle brake (loudener) results in sharp, painful muzzle blast with just muffs. Double-up with the silicone and all is well.

Dan

GLOOB
July 6, 2012, 09:48 PM
Double up. And foam earplugs have a much higher NRR than most other styles (rubber in particular). You can get NRR33 earplugs, which are exactly twice as effective as NRR30, four times better than NRR27, and 10 times better than NRR23
Hah, I see this all the time, and it's a bit of a misconception. The decibel rating is a logarithm of the sound wave amplitude, because that's how we HEAR things. This is why the volume knob on your stereo needs to have a logarithmic potentiometer. If it was linear, it would seem like the first third of the pot did all the adjusting, and the last 2/3 didn't really make any difference.

Sound wave amplitude does not have a linear effect on perception of or damage to hearing. So this doesn't make an NRR33 twice as effective as NRR30 in any meaningful way. In other words, when you get a sound that is loud enough to cause damage, you NEED to reduce the amplitude ALOT to make a SMALL difference. The 2x times better thing is just a convenient way to illustrate on a graph of sound wave amplitude. NRR rating is either good enough for what you're doing, or not good enough.

PTMCCAIN
July 7, 2012, 09:41 AM
The most effective ear protection, for me, is using the 33dB rated foam plugs, the orange ones. I roll them up into as tight a cylinder as possible, use one hand to pull up on my ear lobe and shove them down into my ear cannel as far as I can, keep my fingers in each ear allowing them to expand as much as possible, then remove my fingers, they expand some more.

Great protection.

And, to be doubly safe, I then put on my noise cancelling muffs. My best ones are my Peltor muffs, but they make shooting rifles kind of a pain.

Here's a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vke_3G-dTT8) I made about hearing protection.

jrdolall
July 7, 2012, 10:20 AM
I use the industrial foam plugs that a few of the companies I work with provide to their employees. They are a "one size fits all" plug connected by a string that meet all OSHA requirements and are as good as can be found affordably. I then place muffs over the plugs and that is the best I can do. I have moderate hearing loss caused by diving in my younger days and recreational shooting with no protection for 20 years or so.

I have not yet found any of the Walker's type inserts that I can wear comfortably for more than 30 minutes or so as they ALL give me a headache. While hunting I keep a pair of the plugs around my neck and try to put them in prior to shooting but I admit I have forgotten to do that on occasion.

PTMCCAIN
July 7, 2012, 06:14 PM
Hope you are saving up for hearing aids. Health plans don't cover them.

razorback2003
July 8, 2012, 09:56 PM
I wear foam plugs and big thick ear muffs when at the range. Doubling up seems to be the best way. I wear plugs when I hunt. I'd like to get some sort of electronic hearing protection for hunting.

S.W.G.
August 1, 2012, 07:17 PM
I double up for anything bigger than a 22. Why take the chance?

A strange person
August 1, 2012, 07:59 PM
I'm surprised no one has suggested simply staying away from needlessly powerful cartridges.

dc.fireman
August 1, 2012, 10:32 PM
I wonder how our GIs had to feel who had to shoot one of those Garands all day ????? Never saw one of them with a plug or muffs on the ears. Wonder how they felt about that ?
My father is/was a Korean, Viet-Nam and beyond era Marine. He has such severe hearing loss, that even his VA behind the ear hearing aids are of little use to him now. My son asked him once if he wore his 'ear plugs' in the Marines. He replied similarly to what Buckyt mentioned: "They gave us cotton balls to stuff in our ears. If mortars were inbound, we used the filters from our Marlboro Reds, until the last mortar hit, and then we would pull them out, and start shooting."

When asked why, he said rather plainly - " Because you can't hear the other guy sneaking up on you with an earful of cotton balls or cigarette butts."

After hearing that little gem, I double up...

snake284
August 2, 2012, 09:00 PM
My father is/was a Korean, Viet-Nam and beyond era Marine. He has such severe hearing loss, that even his VA behind the ear hearing aids are of little use to him now. My son asked him once if he wore his 'ear plugs' in the Marines. He replied similarly to what Buckyt mentioned: "They gave us cotton balls to stuff in our ears. If mortars were inbound, we used the filters from our Marlboro Reds, until the last mortar hit, and then we would pull them out, and start shooting."

When asked why, he said rather plainly - " Because you can't hear the other guy sneaking up on you with an earful of cotton balls or cigarette butts."

After hearing that little gem, I double up...

I'm the Poster Boy of the Deaf. I have hearing aides and am looking into possible implant surgery. But my hearing loss was multifaceted. First, yes I shot without hearing protection when I was young. You're indestructable when you're young, right?

Then, I worked in the marine industry and spent many a shift in small loud engine rooms next to engines twice my heigth. Then I worked in a chemical plant for 28 years, much of which time without modern hearing protection and much of it without any hearing protection at all.

Then, on Christmas Eve 1985, they put me in the hospital with double pneumonia and gave me an IV of Erithromicin, which can cause hearing loss. The fall of 86 I experienced pain in both ears from time to time. Then, in 1987, when I had my yearly phyisical at work, I had my first OSHA Shift in hearing. I had lost a lot of frequency. That was the first of three shifts through 2000.

And last but surely not least, I inherited some of this. My Maternal Grandmother was deaf the last 10 years of her life. Of course, she was 104 when she died. But my mother is legally deaf now and she's only 89, HaHaHa!!! But she's been that way for over five years now.

I am planning on trying to go back overseas to work soon. But nobody will hire me with hearing like I have. So I'm going to an E-N-T doc now to see about either new hearing aides or implant surgery.

Now, when I shoot, I wear good soft foam ear plugs and good fitting ear muffs, double coverage.

peterotte
August 2, 2012, 09:35 PM
snake284, wouldn't it worth investing in a good suppressor as well? That will remove the muzzle blast but only an open field type shooting scenario would remove the bullet crack which can be pretty sharp if reflected back at you. I don't know what the status of suppressors is on your side but here we can get them quite expensive and poor and not so expensive as well as expensive and good.

I'm working on my own design which I will be patenting here in NZ. Then I'll make it publicly known with all its working parts so no one can claim originality in other parts of the world and lodge their own patents on it.

M.Weier
August 4, 2012, 08:52 AM
My .338 Lapua isnt hard on the ears when I'm shooting it (just muffs are fine) but when someone else is shooting and i'm standing somewhat off to the side.........I definately double up. That huge muzzle brake is painfully loud!

Malcolm35
August 4, 2012, 11:23 PM
QUOTE "I think I'm gonna invest in some suppressors."


Yeah I wish I could too, but too many 'spy movies' & laws that make no sense. Everyone's hearing could be saved with suppressors, but then Illinois is the ONLY state that doesn't have CC!! (And don't allow suppressors.)

Ryden
August 7, 2012, 04:50 AM
I've just been to the gunsmith's to have my barrel threaded for a Jaki suppressor. It'll be interesting to see what difference it'll make.
I think we have a dB-meter at work so I intend to do some measurements.

Trent
August 7, 2012, 07:44 PM
Tinnitus.. is that the high pitched sound I hear when it's quiet in the house? (Continue hearing it even if I plug both my ears with my fingers?)

Never thought about it but if so that means I've probably accumulated some hearing damage too. Too much 50 cal and 300 Win Mag shooting. That new SCAR17 is a loud sonofagun too and probably isn't helping matters.

Ranb
August 7, 2012, 08:21 PM
I've just been to the gunsmith's to have my barrel threaded for a Jaki suppressor. It'll be interesting to see what difference it'll make.
I think we have a dB-meter at work so I intend to do some measurements.

Make sure it is a meter/microphone with no more than a 20 micro-second response time. Slower meters will give readings that are way too low.

Ranb

Ryden
August 10, 2012, 06:33 PM
Make sure it is a meter/microphone with no more than a 20 micro-second response time. Slower meters will give readings that are way too low.

Ranb
Unfortunatly it didn't so I can't take any valid measurements.
But this is what my latest hearing protection looks like.
It's rated for 31-34 dB attenuation so the muzzle blast should get down to ~125 dB, well below the impulse sound threshold of 135 dB where an employer has to provide hearing protection. (ordinary ear muffs of the type commonly worn while shooting are about 26-28 dB)
I'll go to the range on sunday and I'll get back to you with a report on the perceived noise reduction.
http://i46.tinypic.com/ixwnqh.jpg

Ryden
August 13, 2012, 04:39 AM
Lacking scientific equipment, the only answer I can give you is "substantial".

The heavy Ka-BOOM of my hot boar loads with magnum powder is reduced to the whip crack of a 222
I risked a shot without the muffs and it was not painful in any way.
While sighting in my scope I fired from a booth with a sound trap made out of old tires, the people shooting at the running moose nearby thought I was shooting a 22 long.

One caveat regarding silencers though, the can unscrewed about 1/8 of a turn and the group went all over the place.

Literally!

I fired three shots from 90 yds at a 3 X 3' target and didn't hit it at all!:what:
That sure ruined my morning :cuss::banghead:, I was ready to just throw the rifle in the trunk and take up knitting.:fire: This rifle is usually a tack driver with a bipod and a big old 8 X 56
I checked everything, scope, rings, bipod, action screws and finally I grabbed the can and tightened it that tiny little bit.
Then I put ten rounds into one big ragged hole, spot on, at 1½" high of POA, just where it was supposed to be.:confused:
I've indexed the barrel and can with a magic marker and added twisting the can to my checklist.

Ignition Override
August 15, 2012, 09:07 PM
It's bad enough quickly walking twenty feet from your car to a range bench.

Just a single AR round (is he pulling the trigger?:eek:) from thirty feet laterally hurts. The damage began with live Grand Funk in the downtown KC MO concert hall in '73 and when age worsens it, it will be really bad.

Motega
September 5, 2012, 04:35 PM
aaaaaaa you guys are pansies, my grandfather was a helmsman on the USS Guam (CB 2) and had 12 inch, 5 inch, 40mm, and 20mm cannons firing under him for 2 years - the helmsman couldn't wear ANY protection in those days and he can still hear a little bit.

Ranb
September 5, 2012, 07:45 PM
Hearing only a little bit is almost as bad as only getting a little erect. Never surrender anything that makes life more enjoyable. I wonder if the ringing in his ears is what he is hearing now after all that noise?

Ranb

taliv
September 5, 2012, 11:18 PM
guys, in case it isn't obvious, as long as the "silencer" isn't attachable to the rifle, it's not regulated. you are free to do all of this sort of thing you want:


http://www.nordisk-forum.dk/misc/silencer.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v30/Turborex/barrel.jpg

Ranb
September 5, 2012, 11:49 PM
In 2011 the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club was sued in part over noise. There was a rumor going around that said if we did something about those "50 caliber sniper rifles" then the lawsuit would go away. I was asked to come up with something to reduce the noise. I built a box to help contain the noise and it worked well enough, but the local DA told me it would be illegal to use because the WA State dangerous weapons statute (9.41.250) banned the use of any device that suppressed the noise of a firearm.

The feds define a silencer as a device to suppress the report of a portable firearm, the law says nothing about attachment or if the silencer is portable. I wrote to the ATF asking if a box that was not attached to a firearm was a silencer and they said no. I eventually got an opinion from the WA AG saying that a box was not a weapon and we were allowed to use noise abatement at a rifle range without worrying about being arrested.

Ranb

Ryden
September 6, 2012, 09:26 AM
http://www.nordisk-forum.dk/misc/silencer.jpg

That's exactly the setup at my shooting range, only we had an additional layer of rockwool outside the tires. Works like a charm!

While sighting in my scope I fired from a booth with a sound trap made out of old tires, the people shooting at the running moose nearby thought I was shooting a 22 long.

Ryden
September 6, 2012, 09:32 AM
Be sure to clean these things from unburned powder residue once in a while!

We've had a couple of incidents here in Sweden where unburnt powder in the soundtraps have caught fire, both indoors and outdoors.

DO NOT USE A REGULAR VACUUM CLEANER!
That has turned out to be a bad idea :fire::D
Link to article in swedish...
http://www.jagareforbundet.se/mobil/Nyheter/?nid=29714

mainecoon
September 6, 2012, 09:44 PM
The closest rifle in the pic looks like a suppressed Sako. That would be awesome in .338.

Swampman
October 1, 2012, 03:12 PM
Ryden,
You might consider trying some teflon tape on your barrel threads. It won't completely stop the can from backing off, but it does seem to help.
Good thing you didn't get a baffle or endcap strike, launching your suppressor downrange would be a real downer, no matter how funny it looks when it happens to other people on YouTube!

Ryden
October 2, 2012, 10:46 AM
Good idea, that helps with the risk of welding the can to the barrel as well

Ranb
October 5, 2012, 11:14 PM
u can have suppressors in IL, by paying $500 a year for a class III dealer's license. you can make that much on 2-3 sales of such, easily. or pay $1000 a year and get a title II manufacturer's license and make that back on 4 .22 lr cans that you can turn out in one day. I aint wrong, or bsing, either.
No one marks up their silencers enough to profit $500 with the sale of only four cans. A class 2 can also get away with paying only paying a $500 yearly SOT if they do less than $500,000 in business a year.

the issue is that only a couple of states allow you to hunt with a suppressed gun.
About half of the state allow hunting of game or non-game animals with firearms equipped with silencers. http://www.gem-tech.com/store/pc/pdf/HUNTING%20WITH%20SUPPRESSORS-STATE%20LAW%20COMPILATION.pdf

I aint wrong, or bsing, either.
What was that again?

Ranb

Swampman
October 6, 2012, 12:51 AM
@ twinny:
Do you have any idea how competitive the Rimfire can market is now?
There are quite a few major, well respected makers out there, all of them working hard to corner a share of a fairly limited market.

Anyone that's contemplating buying a Rimfire can already knows they're going to have to pay a $200 tax on it. In that situation people tend to shop around and try to educate themselves so that they get the best deal on what is, essentially a lifetime purchase.

I don't know how much business or manufacturing experience you have, but it's not likely that you can start up a suppressor company, even with an excellent design and good financial backing, that could expect to break even for several years. Most likely you'd go down the tube.

Quote:
"I aint wrong, or bsing, either."

You're both, because your scenario of expecting to recoup the cost of your SOT with the sale of your first four cans is as wrong as your estimate of the number of states that allow hunting suppressed.

Which as of Sept. 1st, 2012 now includes TEXAS!
WHOOP!

$$Midge$$
November 2, 2012, 05:29 PM
1. Is it legal to own a silencer?
Under federal law, it has never been illegal to own a silencer. If it is legal for you to buy a handgun, and you live in a state that allows ownership, then it is probably legal for you to own a silencer. The basic requirements are as follows:

i.You must be at least 21 years old
ii.You must live in a state that allows ownership
iii.You must not have any felony convictions
2. Which states allow silencer ownership?
The following states allow private ownership of silencers: AL, AR, AK, AZ, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MS, MT, ND, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WV and WY.

Of the remaining states; CA, IA, MA, MO and MI may allow silencer ownership for people in possession of a valid FFL.

3. Do I need a special license to own a silencer?
No! There are some rumors that you need to have a “Class 3” license to own a silencer; but, this simply isn’t true. You do have to pay for a transfer or “tax stamp” when you first buy the suppressor – but there are no ongoing fees or licenses required. This tax is similar to paying sales tax on a purchase, except that it goes to the federal instead of the state government.

4. Do I give up any rights when I buy a silencer? (Will the ATF start showing up to search my house?)
No.

5. Can I use one silencer for multiple firearms?
Yes. As long as the firearms are threaded in a way that will accept the silencer, you shouldn’t have any problems.

6. Can I use one silencer for multiple calibers?
You can use a larger caliber suppressor to suppress a smaller caliber firearm as long as you have the appropriate adapters. Using a larger caliber silencer is not typically as efficient as a silencer made for your firearm, but it will still be a significant sound reduction in most cases.

7. What is the difference between a suppressor and a silencer?
There is no difference; these are just different words for the same thing. The term “sound suppressor”, or just “suppressor”, is actually more accurate when talking about these devices since they don’t actually silence the firearm.

8. How quiet is a suppressed firearm?
This depends on the firearm and the suppressor. In most cases, the suppressed firearm will be at least as quiet as wearing a good pair of muffs.

9. How will a silencer attach to my firearm(s)?
Once again, this depends on the firearm and the suppressor. The most popular methods include the following:

Some silencers will thread directly onto a threaded barrel
Some silencers require a quick-detach device (like a flash hider, muzzle brake or piston)
Some silencers are built into the firearm itself, providing an integral suppressor
10. How long does it take to register a suppressor?
This can vary widely depending on several factors. As a general rule, you should expect the entire process to take between 2-4 months; although, it could be a bit shorter or longer.

Swampman
November 3, 2012, 03:26 AM
While the following statement is true to an extent, it's not quite this simple.

"6. Can I use one silencer for multiple calibers? You can use a larger caliber suppressor to suppress a smaller caliber firearm as long as you have the appropriate adapters. Using a larger caliber silencer is not typically as efficient as a silencer made for your firearm, but it will still be a significant sound reduction in most cases."

While the .308 bullet from a 30/378 Weatherby is easily small enough to pass through a 9mm pistol suppressor, the pressures generated would turn the can into expensive and possibly lethal shrapnel.

random_gun
November 15, 2012, 07:58 PM
Is that the kind of plug you can get at Walmart?
Thanks for point it out I never noticed I wasn't wearing plugs correctly.
Is 33dB reduction enough for 223/7.62*39/7.62*54(if they work as advertised)?

urbaneruralite
November 19, 2012, 08:36 PM
I like the molded ear plugs for target work. You mix two types of putty and fill up your ear. After they've cured they retain the shape of your ear. You don't have to twist, squish or pull. They sort of screw right in.

When hunting I use the Allen Sound Sensors. If you don't have too much damage you can wear them and still hear a deer crunching leaves.

As I am left-handed, I have more hearing loss in my left ear than my right due to conduction from butt stocks through bones to the nerves in my ear. You can buy products for that, but I have no recommendation.

Ryden
November 20, 2012, 09:29 AM
While the following statement is true to an extent, it's not quite this simple.

"6. Can I use one silencer for multiple calibers? You can use a larger caliber suppressor to suppress a smaller caliber firearm as long as you have the appropriate adapters. Using a larger caliber silencer is not typically as efficient as a silencer made for your firearm, but it will still be a significant sound reduction in most cases."

While the .308 bullet from a 30/378 Weatherby is easily small enough to pass through a 9mm pistol suppressor, the pressures generated would turn the can into expensive and possibly lethal shrapnel.

As an aside to this, there is at least one manufacturer (Stalon (http://www.stalon.nu/Extrafront.htm)) of silencers that stamps the body (eg. the basic can) with manufacturer name and serial number etc. You can then change inserts and fronts to have different calibers and dampening. The caliber range is .22 to .458

I don't know about the legality of this in the US, but here in Sweden it will be considered a single silencer and require only one permit.

Swampman
November 21, 2012, 02:49 AM
I'm not a lawyer, but in the U.S. I'm pretty sure that this would mean 10 years free room and board...

Ranb
November 21, 2012, 12:33 PM
In the USA every silencer part is by itself a silencer, so parts replacement requires that another $200 tax be paid. The only exception is wipes which can be replaced after destroying the old ones. Even a licensed manufacture is not allowed to make repairs that result in a longer tube, tube replacement or change in bore size. Yeah, it sucks.

Until we can pass a law that intends to promote silencer use instead of criminalize it, then we are stuck with this mess.

Ranb

Ryden
November 22, 2012, 01:31 PM
In the USA every silencer part is by itself a silencer, so parts replacement requires that another $200 tax be paid.
Too bad :(

Buzsaw
November 22, 2012, 10:04 PM
huh?

106rr
January 29, 2013, 02:37 AM
My hearing damage was from the military. I was a gunner on a 106 Recoilless Rifle. This gun weighs in at 480 pounds. The shells weigh 38 to 43 pounds each. Upon discharge, enough hot gas shoots out the back of the gun to compensate entirely for the recoil of the 4.2 inch HEAT shaped charge leaving the muzzle at 1600 fps. The dual muzzle and breach blast cause immediate total temporary hearing loss. Hearing returns with a high pitched shriek inside your head. The screams of the loader seem quiet and distant. I have endured this hundreds of times. By far, the most painful noise was firing a .45 in a tunnel. This feels like someone is shoving chopsticks in your ears.
I double up with foam ear plugs and electronic muffs every time I shoot. I would like to preserve what little quality of life I have left.

golfshot72
February 13, 2013, 03:47 PM
This is my first post. Its funny I just came back from picking up my (poured in molded ear plugs). I was shooting next to a guy who had a muzzle brake. I don't know if my ear muffs where sufficient or not, but I am not taking any chances. I am going this Friday and I am doubling up for sure. We will see. Thanks for sharing

Greenmountain
June 17, 2013, 02:01 AM
Do our current soldiers were any hearing protection because I never seen a picture of a soldier wearing ear protection

oldpink
June 17, 2013, 07:05 AM
Greenmountain, we always wore plugs or muffs when doing normal firing with all small arms when I was in the Navy.
With the big gun (5"/54 caliber), anyone riding in the gun house or in the control room directly below the gun house wore it.
However, the gun captain, OMC (One Man Control/Safety Observer) Operator, and mount captain had nothing but headphones, which served poorly as hearing protection.
I have some hearing damage from all those years in the big gun as either mount captain or OMC Operator.
Just because you're in the military doesn't mean a person is immune to hearing loss.
It's an unfortunate thing that men serving in combat can't practically do something to prevent that.

MarcS
August 10, 2013, 04:16 PM
Between that first rock concert, working above the chipper at a sawmill (guy running the chipper had hearing protection per OSHA),running heavy equipment and shooting shotguns and rifle's for almost 40 years before realizing the damage. I have lost all hearing above 2400Hz. and now double up on protection to save what I have left as I hate having to ask my Grandsons to look at Grandpa when you talk to me or I can't tell what your saying. Tinnitus sucks the one sound that won't go away.

henschman
August 11, 2013, 12:57 PM
I can't use muffs when shooting a rifle because they interfere with my cheek weld... they will just get pushed up on my trigger side, defeating the purpose. The majority of my shooting is with rifles. I wear muffs sometimes when I'm instructing or shooting pistols only, but I usually just use plain old foam plugs. When inserted properly, I have no issues with them, even around brakes and short barrels. I recently tried some electronic plugs, and they worked very well. The only problem was that I lost one when picking through some thick woods!

stressed
August 11, 2013, 01:29 PM
I have hearing loss as well, as well as tinnitus. I had an eardrum rupture and vertigo after a 132mm Katyusha rocket knocked me off my feet in Iraq. Luckily the VA approved my disability there, but that is only because I was wounded most likely. I thought me being Infantry gave you an automatic 10% for hearing.

As for .50 BMG, 240 7.62x51mm, etc all those weapons are fired without ear protection when in a scenario. It will make you deaf.

gunownerz
August 26, 2013, 11:40 AM
I double up on ear protection and typically will limit myself 10-15 shots on .50s. I also save my .50 for last and just gauge if I even want to shoot 10 rounds.

LR Sarge
September 1, 2013, 08:16 PM
Yes, there is a limit to how many rounds someone should shoot with the .50. If you double up with ear pro, that should cover the ears, but that is not the only issue. I was TOLD (who knows the accuracy of it) when I went through sniper school that people who fired more than 40 rounds a day from the "XM 107" .50 cal were beginning to show signs of concussion, and some were having issues with detached retinas. I actually find that hard to believe, but it was part of the training so take it for what you will.

moonzapa
October 11, 2013, 01:13 PM
I lost most of the hearing in my left ear while sighting in a .338-06 Ackley Improved at my local range. I believe it was either a Barrett .338 Lapua or a .50 cal bolt action rifle that was fired next to me. I tried to ignore the blast but my ear really hurt. I was using foam ear inserts and I only wish I would have gotten a heads-up from the Barrett shooter that I may want to opt for Mickey Mouse ears.

moonzapa
October 17, 2013, 02:09 PM
Just a comment or two about hearing loss from firearms...My father was a veteran of the North Africa campaign during WWII, U. S. Army 1st Division, 16th Infantry (Big Red One). He had a hearing loss and after the war had a mastoid process performed on one of his ears. He told me that along with small arms fire, Garands and M-1 carbines, machine guns, etc., he also had the misfortune to be near the blasts of German and Italian artillery fire. The Vichy French also fired artillery on our troop ships passing by the Rock of Gibralter in WWII. A lot of "boom" factor going on. So, if you know some old WWII, Korean War, or Viet Nam vets don't be surprised if they don't hear very well. :)

wow6599
October 21, 2013, 12:52 PM
So, if you know some old WWII, Korean War, or Viet Nam vets don't be surprised if they don't hear very well.

One of the RO's at a range near me can't hear a thing; you have to repeat yourself over and over.
Last week I finally asked him if being around firearms has caused his hearing loss. The RO said that in Vietnam, they were told to use cigarette butts in their ears "if the noise bothered them".

Times have changed.....

ArMagoo
October 24, 2013, 12:45 AM
I also use the double up method. I just picked up a pair of noise canceling ear muffs from Costco pretty cheap and they let in conversation but really help to cancel out loud noises!

Gaiudo
October 31, 2013, 11:03 AM
Most gun shows do the molded rubber ear plugs that are customized to your ear canal, and often will harden as you wait or walk around the show. These lock in easily. I got some for me and my wife, and that's the only way I've been able to get her to shoot.

Then I combine that with the suppressor....

:-)

Ignition Override
November 3, 2013, 09:41 PM
Have our younger veterans noticed a definite loss of hearing from fights with insurgents?

Can't imagine the deafening sounds in alleyways, but inside a house must be the worst.

Thunder Struck
November 16, 2013, 09:21 PM
I have ringing in my ears as i type. I have mistreated my ears alot not knowing any better. I use to listen to head fones at night before i went to sleep, I've been shooting since i was 3, use to run a 6 head wood moulder for years. Now i would wear hearing protection sometimes , much more as i got older and yes doubling up alot. The worst hearing problem i had was when i was deer hunting. Looking East out of a 4' x 6' shooting box, i turned and looked west and there was a deer herd 30 yards from my box. 20 of them just standing there grazing and looking up at the box. I slowly adjusted my self and picked one, the only problem was the muzzle was still inside of the box. When i shot it felt like somebody jabbed a ice pick in each ear at the same time. My left ear got the worst of it. I swear i got a mild concusion from that. Then one day i got the bright idea to put a muzzle brake on my rifle since i love long range shooting. I figured i could use all the help i could get. It doesn't kick much at all now but that SOB is sooooo loud and it sends a shockwave like a triangle, backwards and forwards. It is a rem 700 270wsm, i am trying to retire it but it is so dam accurate its scary and hard to. I am looking at ear/head gear and think ive made my mind up for this up comng hunting season. Also i find that even thou i am hard of hearing(people mumble) my ears are sensative. Things(sounds) hurt my ears and other people say it doesn't bother them. Dunno if its because i've damaged my ears and they are tender???

Comrade Mike
November 17, 2013, 03:30 PM
I double up on hearing protection no matter what. I like my ears.

Mastrogiacomo
November 17, 2013, 03:41 PM
I have moderate, sloping to severe hearing in my left ear, and severe, sloping to profound sensorineural loss in my right ear. My mother had Rubella when she carried me so it's been this way from birth although it's getting worse as I age. I love to shoot so to protect my hearing, I'm getting custom made ear plugs through my audiologist and will look to get better ear muffs to wear on top of that.

Laura

marvinlozano
December 20, 2013, 07:15 AM
of course, protect your ears well to avoid regrets later

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crashyoung
December 21, 2013, 01:47 PM
I second what Thunder Struck says...

After years of use and abuse, before hearing protection was easily available, and working 30 years at an airport with big LOUD jets, my ears have a constant ring as well.
The fact that I love LOUD RocknRoll never had an effect tho...

I SAID, SPEAK LOUDER WHEN I CUP MY EARS, SONNY!

kkayser
December 26, 2013, 11:35 AM
Muzzle brakes increase the sound pressure at the ear drum about 100%, for the shooter. Others, more. With loud firearms, I don't think there is a point where "no" damage to hearing occurs. The less sound pressure, the better. People vary widely in their tolerance to noise. If you have any ringing or other hearing disturbances after shooting, you are damaging your hearing.

Trent
December 26, 2013, 02:08 PM
I lost most of the hearing in my left ear while sighting in a .338-06 Ackley Improved at my local range. I believe it was either a Barrett .338 Lapua or a .50 cal bolt action rifle that was fired next to me. I tried to ignore the blast but my ear really hurt. I was using foam ear inserts and I only wish I would have gotten a heads-up from the Barrett shooter that I may want to opt for Mickey Mouse ears.

Big thunderboomers combined with big muzzlebreaks are a recipe for hearing loss. In my early 20's I shot a lot of 50 BMG, and have tinnitus now. Muffs aren't enough, especially if you are spotting for a 50 BMG rifle with a muzzle break.

Anyone who shoots 50 BMG needs to be considerate and conscious of bystanders, and the state of their hearing protection.

When I pull RSO duty at competitions, even though the rules of the shooting range I shoot at say "eye and hearing protection is highly recommended", I set up the rules on competitions so it is *not* optional when I'm running the line. I have removed people (even paying members of the range who were spectating) from the immediate vicinity before when they refuse to put on hearing protection.

I don't let people who are participating remove hearing or eye protection until the range is cold and all firearms are cleared and hands-off. I also visually confirm every competitor has eyes and ears before giving the command to commence fire. People are forgetful creatures, and I have yet to run a match where someone hasn't had to be reminded to put on ears or eyes. I don't want 10 or 12 high powered rifles going off all around someone without ears or eyes!

I do the opposite sometimes; forget to remove them during cease fire. Last month one of the competitors nudged me and said "range is cold, take off your ears, you are yelling at people."

I said "Damn right I'm yelling. These ears help me keep my voice volume up where it should be so people pay attention and hear me give commands."

:)

varanid
December 29, 2013, 01:25 PM
I wonder how our GIs had to feel who had to shoot one of those Garands all day ????? Never saw one of them with a plug or muffs on the ears. Wonder how they felt about that ?

Literally every veteran I know has different degrees of hearing loss.

Swampman
January 1, 2014, 03:46 AM
DOUBLE UP!

The best method I've found is a good set of earplugs combined with a decent pair of amplified muffs.

The amplified muffs allow you to hear range commands clearly through the earplugs, but cut out to provide increased hearing protection whenever shots are fired.

Pretty much the best of both worlds, increased hearing protection and increased safety.

jimsouth
January 4, 2014, 09:53 AM
I had a Model 70 .243 - and even with good Silencios - after the range - I always had a ringing in my ears. Hardly a big caliber - but always the ringing. Not so with my old 03 Springfield - go figure.

teetertotter
January 16, 2014, 06:31 PM
I am with Swampman, ear plugs + good set of amplified muffs. With .22 rifle, I use just the amplified ear muffs outdoors.

For our club indoor range with 10 stations with poor acoustics, it is the ear plugs with plain earmuffs rated at 31db for winter practice sessions.

bainter1212
January 16, 2014, 10:01 PM
Literally every veteran I know has different degrees of hearing loss.

I asked my grandfather once (a Korean War vet) if all of that gun and artillery fire had affected his hearing. He said he wasn't quite sure but his ears would be ringing bad after every bit of prolonged combat - he figured he probably suffered some damage but he is lucky not to have tinnitus or hearing aids.

A couple of years ago, my grandmother and aunts got it into their heads that grandpa had bad hearing and needed hearing aids. My uncle and I thought that was odd, because my grandpa never says "what?" or asks you to repeat yourself. So grandma made him go get a checkup.
Next time I saw him, I asked him how his checkup went. He picked up the results from the table and waved them proudly, saying his hearing was very good. My grandma had a grumpy look on her face and said it was "all a bunch of bull".
I joked that grandpa had achieved the dream - he can tune out women at will!
I swear my grandpa never laughed louder since I have known him.

I learned later that studies have shown this to be true....that men teach themselves to tune out a woman's voice after years and years.

As far as I stand......I suffered some high frequency loss after working on the flightline for several years in the Air Force. A few years later, I had regained most of it......but not all. Goes to show you that there is short term AND long term loss, but all in all damage is damage and if your ears ring, you just damaged them.

46R
January 21, 2014, 11:21 PM
Definitely double up on your hearing protection, and if you really want to keep your hearing, then don't be afraid to spend some money on the best hearing protection too. Maybe even active ANRs.

I fly a small experimental airplane (extremely noisy inside) as another hobby, and happily spent nearly a thousand dollars on a premium ANR headset for that.

As a result of protecting my hearing all my life, including back in the 1980's when I used to run sound for live rock bands, now at 52 yrs old, I can still hear faint sounds at nearly the full 20Hkz upper limit. Too bad my vision hasn't fared nearly as well as I've aged... I'm going to be getting bifocals for my next eye exam :cuss:

kkayser
January 22, 2014, 10:12 AM
Does active noise reduction reduce the maximum sound pressure on the eardrum? Do they respond quickly enough to be effective against gunshot noise?

stargeezer
January 27, 2014, 09:14 PM
Quote: Peterotto
VA denied his hearing loss claim as well.

There can be no question of the cause of hearing loss in the military. Aren't there lawyers ready to get rich fighting these claims? They can't lose.
************************


I guess you're not a vet trying to get a case through the VA system. Here's the deal and you won't believe it, but you cannot use a lawyer to fight a case with the VA. The only help a vet can get is through one of the service organizations like the DAV, PVA, and so on. The NSO (National Service Officers) that work with these groups are not lawyers but are trained and certified by the VA to represent vets, free of charge, and assist them in getting the benefits they deserve.

Now, if it sounds fishy the these folks (who do a great job) are trained by the VA and the organization they work for are to only ones who is allowed to help vets by federal law, I'd sure agree.

Now, I double up too, even for 5.56 - 22's not so much. I'm a combat vet and I have tinnitus from Vietnam.

kilibreaux
February 16, 2014, 05:27 AM
It's not a problem when you shoot OUTDOORS! A lot of people go to ranges with corrugated steel overhead cover that acts like a noise amplifier and yes, touching off a .50 BMG under such circumstances can be detrimental to hearing, however, shooting outdoors...OUT doors, I've not had a problem with the pressure-wave of rifles. Now my .460 Magnum does send a sonic shock-wave directly into the left ear that can cause genuine pain, but a single foam earplug solves the problem.
One of the worst handguns I've ever shot is the Glock 17C...truly horrific sound-pressure impulse that seems aimed directly into the ears...even out in the open!

Corn-Picker
February 23, 2014, 08:33 PM
As they say, nothing's too good for a veteran, so that's what you'll get.

According to the OSHA literature, accoutning for the real-world (not lab rated) effectiveness of hearing protection, even doubling up isn't necessarily enough to prevent damage. According to these calculations a 308 Winchester with 20" barrel is still over 140 dB, even with foam plugs and muffs. If I had my own range I would build one of those rain-barrel based silencers. Luckily I'm in a state that allows shooting/hunting with suppressors, so I plan to buy a 30 cal, 22 cal, and 22 cal rimfire suppressor within the next few years. I still plan to double up on the range, but I would like to be able to fire a half dozen shots per year at deer without hearing protection, because walking around the woods with electronic muffs is a bit of a PITA.

Swampman
February 24, 2014, 02:04 AM
@ Corn-Picker
I love cans, but even the best of them won't make a full power .308 or 30-06 truly hearing safe.

I've never had a problem hunting with a good set of stereo amplified muffs (aside from looking like a total dork :p ).

I really like 'em for walking up hogs, they allow me to hear low grunts and movement that I wouldn't hear otherwise.

An added benefit is that you'll hear how much noise you're really making as you move and they'll help you improve your stalking techniques and noise discipline.

d'zaster
March 12, 2014, 05:52 PM
What? same here....

kilibreaux
March 15, 2014, 03:45 AM
The only reason the .50 BMG causes aural discomfort is because when encountered they are being shot on a range underneath a corrugated steel roof that acts to amplify sound.
Shoot a .50 BMG out in the open and you'll wonder why all the hype about noise.

mainecoon
March 24, 2014, 08:34 PM
The problem with hearing pro and guns is that the noise is part of the joy of shooting. I'll shoot protected for most of the day and then take off the muffs for a couple shots just to enjoy the sound.

greyghost01
April 4, 2014, 01:00 PM
I was one of the dumb ones, Grew up shooting no ear plugs at all, Loud motorcycles, screw guns, routers, you name it loud music, But today I double up, its to late my hearing is terrible but I don't want it worse so wear hearing protection today. My 300 WM had a brake on it people would get up and leave at the range when I started shooting it. Didn't bother me at all. 357 mag is bad on ears also.

teetertotter
April 27, 2014, 02:24 PM
I use amplified muffs outdoors with .22 rifles. I have no HP rifles.

The indoor range, when people are shooting loud pistols, I have ear canal ones and then put on my 35db muffs over them.

If I did shoot HP, it would be with my indoor protection criteria.

Mowing grass...etc ....ear protection has always been there too. Family history/genes has been deafness or sever loss of hearing, mostly women.

Frank44
May 22, 2014, 01:22 AM
After a day at the range with a 30-06 or 308, my ears still ring if I've only warn muffs. Doubling up with ear plugs is the way to go for me.

hso
June 26, 2014, 10:29 PM
Maybe even active ANRs.
Do they respond quickly enough to be effective against gunshot noise?

ANRs work for machine noise, but don't work for impact/explosion/gunshot. There is currently no noise canceling technology responsive enough for gunshots so the best you can do is wear properly inserted HIGH NRR plugs under muffs.

Big Shrek
July 1, 2014, 09:52 PM
Even a hat with an ear flap is better than nothing at all, but get the plugs & muffs too.
Its a whole lot better than having to ask folks to repeat themselves...

I did a lot of 80's rock concerts & shooting all sortsa fun stuff over the decades...
Remember those old Army ballcaps with the flap?? That was often all I used with an M60...

I definitely don't catch as much as I used to...although I do hear odd noises quite clearly...
cracks my Wifey up that I can't hear her, but I can hear a creak from a door half a block away...
Protect yer ears...eventually, they'll have problems...
the more you do now, the less you'll have to miss later.

Hullraiser
July 1, 2014, 10:33 PM
I've had tinnitus for years and always use some type of protection when shooting anything over a 22 short. It's not always convenient but necessary. The best is to use plugs and muffs. Over last weekend , I grabbed a SKS to rid my pond of a large snapping turtle from the deck. I quickly grabbed some electronic muffs only and now the ringing has increased again. In the future I'll make time to insert the plugs first. I would still use even if I had a suppressor

KSDeputy
July 10, 2014, 04:43 PM
Hearing loss is real. I am a retired deputy sheriff with 30 years of service. When I first joined the office we went to the range and used no ear protection, no eye protection. No one knew back then that shooting with no ear protection caused cumulative permanent hearing loss. I must wear $ 3,500 hearing aids. My right ear is much worse than the left. I am right handed, and went to the range 4x a year for many years until someone discovered how dangerous it was to shoot without ear protection. It was too late for me and many other deputies. Please ALWAYS use ear and eye protection when shooting, save your hearing. Do not let something fly out and take your eye(s) out either. Take care of yourself, no one else will.

ClayinAR
July 16, 2014, 10:43 AM
My hearing doctor says part of the damage is caused by concussion, no hearing protection works against that.
Plugs and muffs do help, but understand that big guns are going to do damage regardless.
Too late for me.

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