Quantcast
avoiding ear damage with powerful rifles - THR
THR  

Go Back   THR > Tools and Technologies > Rifle Country

Welcome to THR
You are currently viewing our site as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions, articles and access our other FREE features. By joining our free community you will have, access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!


If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please visit the help section.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old April 12, 2012, 08:41 PM   #1
mainecoon
Member
 
 
Join Date: February 25, 2012
Posts: 172
avoiding ear damage with powerful rifles

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?
mainecoon is offline  
Old April 12, 2012, 08:50 PM   #2
taliv
Moderator
 
 
Join Date: October 23, 2004
Posts: 18,782
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
__________________
Precision Multigun, LLC
Distinguished Rifleman Badge #1971
Geocaching Targets! www.targetcaching.com
Precision Rifle Series
taliv is offline  
Old April 12, 2012, 08:57 PM   #3
SilentStalker
Member
 
 
Join Date: January 3, 2006
Location: Somewhere in the U.S., London, or Australia
Posts: 1,128
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.
SilentStalker is offline  
Old April 12, 2012, 08:59 PM   #4
jnoble87
Member
 
 
Join Date: August 4, 2011
Location: Missouri
Posts: 96
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.....
jnoble87 is offline  
Old April 12, 2012, 08:59 PM   #5
CnRnut
Member
 
 
Join Date: October 24, 2003
Location: New York
Posts: 284
Yup, double up.
CnRnut is offline  
Old April 12, 2012, 09:24 PM   #6
jem375
Member
 
 
Join Date: January 4, 2003
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,508
Too late for me...
__________________
NRA Life Member
jem375 is offline  
Old April 12, 2012, 09:30 PM   #7
TITAN308
Member
 
 
Join Date: December 27, 2011
Location: Augusta, GA
Posts: 439
Quote:
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.
__________________
No good deed goes unpunished. Remember that next time you intend to do anything nice.
TITAN308 is offline  
Old April 12, 2012, 09:43 PM   #8
TITAN308
Member
 
 
Join Date: December 27, 2011
Location: Augusta, GA
Posts: 439
Here you go...

What I see commonly... (wrong wrong wrong)


The proper way (thumbs up)


How to insert properly... (twist it up)



And yes, I just took the time to do all that... laugh it up lol
__________________
No good deed goes unpunished. Remember that next time you intend to do anything nice.
TITAN308 is offline  
Old April 12, 2012, 09:45 PM   #9
praharin
Member
 
 
Join Date: February 10, 2006
Location: Pennsyltucky
Posts: 418
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.
praharin is offline  
Old April 12, 2012, 10:06 PM   #10
Float Pilot
Member
 
 
Join Date: July 27, 2007
Location: Kachemak Bay Alaska
Posts: 2,691
WHAT? Type louder !
__________________
Experimental Hand-Loader, Wilderness photo guide, Float Plane,Tail Wheel and Firearms Instructor
http://site.dragonflyaero.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Drago...ref=ts&fref=ts
Float Pilot is offline  
Old April 12, 2012, 10:09 PM   #11
Buckyt
Member
 
 
Join Date: December 22, 2011
Posts: 36
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!
Buckyt is offline  
Old April 12, 2012, 10:34 PM   #12
Sheepdog1968
Member
 
 
Join Date: July 20, 2009
Location: CA
Posts: 2,366
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.
__________________
I think Thor's hammer was an 45-70 lever action loaded with Garrett cartridges.

I find that 90% of the questions asked here have been answered 20 or more years ago by Jeff Cooper in his Gargantuan Gunsite Gossip books.

Best website I have ever seen regarding gun facts and figures for your discussions with others:

http://www.gunfacts.info/
Sheepdog1968 is offline  
Old April 14, 2012, 05:02 PM   #13
beefyz
Member
 
 
Join Date: November 12, 2009
Posts: 150
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 ?
beefyz is offline  
Old April 14, 2012, 06:25 PM   #14
Z-Michigan
Member
 
 
Join Date: May 19, 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 4,004
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.
Z-Michigan is offline  
Old April 14, 2012, 07:11 PM   #15
redneck2
Member
 
 
Join Date: December 25, 2002
Location: Northern Indiana
Posts: 7,482
Quote:
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
__________________
I used to have superpowers, but my therapist took them away
redneck2 is offline  
Old April 14, 2012, 07:18 PM   #16
B!ngo
Member
 
 
Join Date: December 11, 2011
Posts: 781
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.
B!ngo is offline  
Old April 14, 2012, 07:55 PM   #17
peterotte
Member
 
 
Join Date: May 8, 2007
Posts: 212
Quote:
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.
peterotte is offline  
Old April 14, 2012, 08:42 PM   #18
SlamFire1
Member
 
 
Join Date: December 29, 2006
Location: Alabama
Posts: 6,565
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.
__________________
Accuracy is a skill acquired through constant practice.
SlamFire1 is offline  
Old April 14, 2012, 08:54 PM   #19
MachIVshooter
Member
 
 
Join Date: August 11, 2005
Location: Elbert County, CO
Posts: 11,279
Quote:
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.
__________________
"Life is harder when you're stupid. Sometimes, it's also quite a bit shorter."-1911Tuner
MachIVshooter is offline  
Old April 14, 2012, 09:07 PM   #20
CharlieDeltaJuliet
Member
 
 
Join Date: April 10, 2012
Location: North Carolinian
Posts: 1,456
I shoot my BA50 with plugs and electronic earmuffs, without either is mildly painful. It rings my ears without either.
CharlieDeltaJuliet is offline  
Old April 14, 2012, 09:37 PM   #21
sixgunner455
Member
 
 
Join Date: August 25, 2006
Posts: 2,860
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.
__________________
Life is too short to hunt with an ugly dog. - me

If you can't hit a snake at 20 feet with a 12 gauge, you ain't gonna hit a dove, either. -McGunner
sixgunner455 is offline  
Old April 14, 2012, 10:03 PM   #22
Z-Michigan
Member
 
 
Join Date: May 19, 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 4,004
@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...ction/earmuffs

and they start at $11:
http://www.google.com/search?q=howar...ient=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_...t-for-you.html

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

http://www.google.com/search?q=maxim...ient=firefox-a
Z-Michigan is offline  
Old April 15, 2012, 05:37 PM   #23
Buckyt
Member
 
 
Join Date: December 22, 2011
Posts: 36
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!
Buckyt is offline  
Old April 15, 2012, 08:26 PM   #24
TITAN308
Member
 
 
Join Date: December 27, 2011
Location: Augusta, GA
Posts: 439
Quote:
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
__________________
No good deed goes unpunished. Remember that next time you intend to do anything nice.
TITAN308 is offline  
Old April 16, 2012, 10:48 PM   #25
tundraotto
Member
 
 
Join Date: November 21, 2010
Location: Greenwood, AR
Posts: 211
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.
tundraotto is offline  
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:00 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
vBulletin Optimisation by vB Optimise.
This site, its contents, Shooting Reviews, and its contents are Copyright (c) 2010-2013 Firearms Forum, Inc.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER
Although The High Road has attempted to provide accurate information on the forum, The High Road assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information. All information is provided "as is" with all faults without warranty of any kind, either express or implied. Neither The High Road nor any of its directors, members, managers, employees, agents, vendors, or suppliers will be liable for any direct, indirect, general, bodily injury, compensatory, special, punitive, consequential, or incidental damages including, without limitation, lost profits or revenues, costs of replacement goods, loss or damage to data arising out of the use or inability to use this forum or any services associated with this forum, or damages from the use of or reliance on the information present on this forum, even if you have been advised of the possibility of such damages.