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Ringing in the ears in dead silence?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by possom813, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. possom813

    possom813 Active Member

    Sep 5, 2007
    An hour south of D/FW
    I was just wondering if anyone else had an affliction like this. Almost every morning that I don't have to go to work I'm out hog hunting.

    Anyway, I usually sit on a feeder for a little while and where we hunt there is nothing around for several thousand yards. At 6am, there is no noise at all. As I'm sitting on the ground with my thoughts, my ears will start ringing. It starts off small and then seems like it progresses to the point that I wouldn't be able to hear anything at all if it was around.

    It lasts until the first bird chirps, or I hear an early morning coyote hollering. And when that happens it's the loudest sound you could ever hear.

    Does this happen to everybody, or am I going deaf or something.

    I know it's not exactly firearm related, but I think that firearms may be partly responsible for it.

    And yes, I always wear more than adequate PPE when shooting. The only time not is when I'm actually hunting, at least until I can afford a set of the fancy electronic ear plugs.

  2. kfranz

    kfranz Participating Member

    Dec 16, 2003
    Always, for as long as I can remember. Not very noticable most times, what with the ambient noise of day to day living. Very noticable when it's quiet. My 9 year old son also has it, but his 7 and 4 year old brothers have not made any mention. Had my hearing checked and number of times, and it is fine...
  3. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    May 22, 2003
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts
    Constantly...and so loud that it often keeps me awake, and even wakes me up sometimes.
  4. One of Many

    One of Many Member

    Feb 29, 2004
    Shiawassee County
    Tinnitus - the ringing in your ears when absent any external audio input, is a sign of damage to the nerves in your inner ear. It usually is the result of repeated exposure to very loud noises, or may be a result of one exposure to extremely loud noise. It is common among shooters that have not used adequate hearing protection. You can get it after firing just one round without using hearing protection. Even 22 rim-fire can cause damage to your ears. Hunting without some form of ear protection is just asking to have problems with loss of hearing. You seem to have a mild case now, but if you continue to shoot without ear protection, that ringing may be all that you hear at some future date, and it may be heard 24/7/365 like a church bell next to your head.
  5. mekender

    mekender Participating Member

    Oct 15, 2007
    go see an ear nose and throat specialist as soon as possible... it will only continue to get worse... and who knows, one day, the sounds you cant hear might just be the ones you would do anything to be able to hear, like your grandchild's newborn cries...
  6. LKB3rd

    LKB3rd Active Member

    Dec 2, 2007
    I have slight tinnitis mostly from loud music and concerts when i was a teenager. It's a sign of hearing damage.
  7. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    May 22, 2003
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts
    The sounds that are hardest for me to hear are telephones ringing and most female voices...which isn't entirely a bad thing.
  8. foghornl

    foghornl Mentor

    Dec 27, 2002

    Speak up, sonny...Can't hear you with this 747 constantly buzzing my right ear....

    From what you describe, you defintiely have some 'tinitis' (sp??)....a bit (right now) of damage to the nerves in your ears.

  9. kfranz

    kfranz Participating Member

    Dec 16, 2003
    I'm not going to argue that it isn't nerve damage, but my son has never been exposed to what would generally be considered loud noises. Near as I can tell(and the doctors too), mine hasn't gotten any worse with age.
  10. goon

    goon Mentor

    Jan 20, 2003
    It's tinnitus and it will never go away. Mine is permanent and sounds more like kind of a high pitched hissing noise, like air rushing through a very small leak. Wear hearing protection and hope it doesn't get any worse.
  11. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Senior Member

    Jun 14, 2006
    Morgan County, Alabama
    I have a mild case that comes and goes.
    Definantly, hearing protection while shooting any gun is a MUST.
  12. Buzztail

    Buzztail Member

    Apr 6, 2005
    Tallahassee, FL
    I have Tinnitus. You Sir have a blessing. Where do I sign up?

    I wear ear plugs even when riding my motorcycle to avoid my hearing getting any worse. I abused my body greatly when I was younger, and am now paying for it. (now 37:banghead:)
  13. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Feb 16, 2003
    Ft. Worth
    I have it in my right ear, after years of flying a rather loud airplane and lifting the headset on the right to shoot the breeze with the copilot on my right.

    Very bad idea looking back...... 19 and stupid I guess.
  14. vzenmn

    vzenmn Member

    Jan 12, 2007
    I have had a bit of ringing in my ears since a my dad was playing with the new mossberg 500 he gave me that unknowingly had a deffective trigger group causing it to occasionally fire when you close the action even with the safety on. #4 buck (What is the lesson to be learned here class?) + deffective gun+ Small room= instant hearing damage. Took 2 days to be able to hear a a normal face to face conversation. Its only noticable when it is quite like possom813 describes. Its a real pain when I'm trying to figure out where a faint noise is coming from like a leak in a tire or a mouse nosing around in the laundry room.

    Snap caps and hearing protection are a must have!
  15. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Participating Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Portland, OR
    possom813 Get thee to a Dr. My best friend suffers from tinnitus and it is painful to hear him talk about it. As far as I know there is no cure, but there are things the Dr. can do for you.
  16. Gingerbreadman

    Gingerbreadman Member

    Oct 7, 2007
    Northen Minnesota
    For me its like the high pitched noise that comes from certain electronics, like when a TV is turned on...and it never goes away. For me the culprit is mostly ear infections during early childhood. They were poo...

    From all the recent tinnitus threads lately, I think THR should have a "Tinnitus Support" forum.
  17. joab

    joab Senior Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    Ocoee, Fla
    The ringing is getting any louder you are just keying in on it the morning sounds simply cover it up

    I have it about as bad as Tuner does

    Diet can effect or help to lessen it, smoking and caffeine causes it to be more pronounced

    There is only two fixes I have been able to find
    An operation to deaden the nerves in the ear but the trade off is total deafness

    And always having something going in the background
    That's the one I follow
    I haven't been in a quiet environment in over 20 years, even sleeping I have to have a television or radio on
  18. harmonic

    harmonic member

    Aug 10, 2007
    To the OP, if it's a gradual thing when you're in your stand, then you haven't damaged your hearing as bad as some of the rest of us. I only hope you're using hearing protection while hunting. In my day it a) was not available and b) when it finally did become available it was considered "sissy."

    Now I have a very pronounced ringing. Here's some info you might like to read.

    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:

    .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.


    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.


  19. JA

    JA Member

    Sep 17, 2003
    Going to a doctor is pretty much a waste of time and money. You have nerve damage in your ears and there is nothing that can be done to fix it. Once a nerve is damaged or dies it doesn't heal itself or grow back.
    Most people really freak out when they first notice it but you will get used to it. Your's doesn't sound very bad as you didn't complain about not being able to hear high pitched noises or trouble conversing in crowded areas.
    Horrow story = I don't have to turn up the TV to hear it as I plain can't here the high pitched squeaks of animals on the nature channel. In a crowd,store,or resturant I have to depend on my lip reading skills to hold a conversation.
    The only thing you can do is make sure to use hearing protection anytime you are around loud noises so as not to cause anymore damage.
  20. Wes Janson

    Wes Janson Participating Member

    May 12, 2006
    I already know I have tinnitus, but I've got a bit of a strange variation of the op's problem... Every once in a while, I'll be doing something in a normal environment, and suddenly one ear or the other will start ringing really loudly, just as if I'd suddenly been exposed to a really loud, damaging noise. But with nothing else around. And only one ear at a time. Anyone else ever have this happen?

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