Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by mainecoon, Apr 12, 2012.
I am almost deaf from shooting them at Fort Jackson, SC, in 1963, with no hearing protection at all.
Have a blessed day,
Use a suppressor plus muffs and plugs.
Muffs and plugs alone will not prevent all the hearing damage.
The 130 decibles or so that get through your muffs and plugs are still damaging your ears with every shot.
Hair cells do not grow back.
You won't notice the damage until it is too late.
Get a suppressor.
I have severe hearing problems as a result of shooting. I thought I was being safe enough. I wasn't.
Please justify that number with factual data. I don't think it's correct. Burden of proof ....
120 dB can be instantaneously damaging. Over the years there has been a shift in the damage level down from 140 to 130 to 120. There is research indicating 110 should be the level for instantaneous damage. This is in part because consensus standards use 3dB intervals for doubling of sound pressure levels vs. the US regulatory 5dB.
resultant db level post doubled-up hearing protection as posted and quoted above:
OK, there you go. 3M says that wearing ear plugs under muffs only gives you an addition 5 decibels of protection:
It doesn't give you and extra 30. Only five.
So if you wear a 30 ear muff with a NRR of 30, plus plugs, you are only reducing the sound reaching your ear by 35 decibles. (In reality, 3M says that to be safe, you should assume you are only being protected 1/2 as much as the NRR, due to imperfect use.)
View the chart below:
A .308 rifle produces 170 or so decibels.
If you wear muffs plus plugs correctly, that brings down the sound to your ear to about 135 decibles.
That is below the threshold of pain- but it is still WAY TOO LOUD. It will produce permeant hearing damage that you will not notice until it is too late. Don't believe me? Call up an audiologist and ask them!
If you add a suppressor, the total produced by the gun is about 149 decibels. Add plugs and a muff with perfect use, and it brings down the sound to your ear to about 114 decibels. Heck, even that is too loud, but still not nearly as damaging at 135.
(an increase in sound of 6 decibels roughly doubles the noise pressure).
Buy suppressors so you don't end up with hyperacusis and tinnitus like me.
Still one more question, if you don't mind: the above data about muffs is for passive muffs, correct?
Electronic shooting muffs are no better than passive muffs since they only function to turn off the speakers in the muffs and the protection is from the muff "insulating" the sound. Cheap electronic muffs are worse since they may not shut down quickly enough (this is why buying quality electronic muffs from a reliable manufacturer is important).
People often mistake "noise canceling" muffs for electronic shooting muffs. They're completely different. Noise cancelling muffs can't respond to impact/gunshots while electronic shooting muffs are supposed to.
As femoralis has shown, shooting muffs only add 5dB to the highest plugs you can wear (33dB for foamies). 38 is the effective NRR, but then you halve that for reliable exposure purposes giving you a reliable protection of 19dB. Subtract that 19dB from the sound produced by the firearm and you're exposure is remarkably higher than you'd have thought. If you can mute the noise level at the source with a suppressor you get to subtract that 19dB from the reduced report making it through the suppressor.
What's to be done? Stop shooting? I don't think so.
I'm not getting suppressors.
They help with communication on the range and THAT is an improvement in safety, but, no, their hearing protection is only the passive rating of the muff. Wear the highest rated plugs you can get and wear them properly and use electronic muffs over them to the the extra protection while being able to hear range commands and warnings.
If you're shooting on indoor ranges understand that unless the shots are occurring closely enough together to truly overlap the short duration of each isn't likely to add to the sound pressure level you're exposing your hearing to from your shooting. Going to the range when it isn't full will reduce that possibility further. If you can shoot outside it improves somewhat. Remember that SPL is an inverse square relationship and the further you are from the muzzle (or another) it quarters for every doubling of distance so spread out. You can also use subsonic ammunition (if your gun will cycle it) that is not as loud as 1,100 ft/sec reducing the exposure.
Noise levels (and my tinnitus) is why I've invested in a suppressor, but not everyone wants to spend the money on a commercially built suppressor. I've heard some very good form 1 suppressors that people have built that help reduce the sound (not like the movies though). You still pay the government from the privilege of building and owning a hearing protection engineering control, but
I think the practical first step I can take is to stop shooting large caliber rifles at the indoor range. Yes, mostly I shoot those only outdoors, but sometimes for convenience or adverse weather when I want to test fire after some detail stripping or maintenance I have fired them indoors, and for sure, they're way too loud in that environment.
In fact most E-muffs are even worse than the better passive muffs. I have a set of passives that are rated at 37dB attenuation, and I haven't found even plugs to equal that. I also have a set of E-muffs that are rated at 30db att. This is higher than any other E-muff I've found. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007BGSI5U/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Installing 33dB plugs under them protects quite good, and the sound enhancement during cold range, lets you hear range commands over the plugs well enough.
Oh, and here's the best passive I've yet found.
That's impressive. What's the brand? I'm not aware of any muffs from a major manufacturer that are 37dB. I saw something on ebay once, but I wouldn't trust my hearing to anything on ebay since I got a pair of counterfeit Howard Leights from a seller.
The Howard Leight Pros are great electronic muffs. Well established company that stands out in the industrial hearing protection industry.
I think this should be a huge consideration for shooters, good point.
For years I hunted with the old Sonic Ear Valves, which didn't block normal hearing. Also always had a blaze orange mask over most of my face so the ears were covered, not that it would affect gunfire. I always felt it was dangerous to hunt with my hearing impaired at all. For deer the truth is in the NJ and PA woods I always heard the deer before I saw them anyway. But I'm assuming you're talking about hunting where there is more constant gunfire than just a deer hunt?
I am sorry about your hearing loss . I wasn’t in the military but I shot an awful lot in the sixties and seventies before I knew about hearing loss as well as played Hammond organ in a rock band. I used cotton balls too . Didn’t help one bit...duh. Tinnitus static and hiss is no joke . I double up now.
Sir, thank you for your service to our country .
Anyone know what the decible level of the common AR 15 is? I use the plugs with expensive muffs and still get too much noise.
Wish that there was a solution. I also fired the M14 in the military without ear and eye protection.....a lot.
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