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avoiding ear damage with powerful rifles

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by mainecoon, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  2. Big Shrek

    Big Shrek Member

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    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.
     
  3. Hullraiser

    Hullraiser Member

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    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
     
  4. KSDeputy

    KSDeputy Member

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    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.
     
  5. ClayinAR

    ClayinAR Member

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    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.
     
  6. zfk55

    zfk55 Member

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    My entire shooting life (55 years) I was always conscious of the need for hearing protection with firearms, but.......... Using a hearing aid, I now have 85% hearing in my left ear and 10% in my right ear. I was stupid enough not to equate DB's from firearms to the recording studio control room.
    20 years of sound engineering mostly rock music in the control room left me as I am today.
     
  7. Hullraiser

    Hullraiser Member

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    I had always thought the pointed foam rubber ones on the flexible band would be handy. After using the pair I got they seem to do very little in noise reduction. Plus you can't use muffs with them because of sealing.
     
  8. MattinVa

    MattinVa Member

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    conduction from butt stocks through bones to the nerves

    Gentlemen,
    Regarding the fact that we experience hearing damage "due to conduction from butt stocks through bones to the nerves", I would like to add a bit more information... The stiffer the stock the more it works like a tuning fork and damages to the cilia in your inner ear...

    The absolute WORST stocks for this problem are McMillan Fiberglass Units WITH the addition of Kevlar as a stiffener while maintaining light weight. I found this by using several of the McMillan/Remington Custom Shop KS Stocks. The KS standing for Kevlar Synthetic.

    Wooden stocks deaden the transmission of vibrations. As does heavier fill from McMillan. Laminated wood is likely your best choice but not ideal for all weapons. The simplest and best solution is an Eagle stock pack. It insulates your jaw bone and protects your hearing.

    Like an idiot I would note that often I would have a tinnitus spike while dry firing my rifle on the bench. It didn't click fully until my irritating tinnitus became life changing tinnitus. I've been through TRT, many sets of attenuators, and I am experiencing tinnitus now that is louder than ever before... The only option is find another ENT, mine retired for a career in Country Music of all things, and get going on the Jasterbroff TRT regimen once again.

    I was advised by my first tinnitus clinic, the one that is under new management, to sue both McMillan and Remington. I had carried my 40XB-KS into the office, and yes I got some weird looks from fellow patients, and the audiologist did fairly detailed testing on the stock. I refused to sue as it is not my cup of tea, however, I was PISSED to learn Kelly McMillan was fully aware of the problem. Furthermore he will include a piece of .25" foam for anyone who asks for it...

    At any rate be careful with super stiff kevlar infused synthetic stocks as they can really damage your hearing and worse lead to chronic tinnitus. I've had it bad for the last 13 years and it prevents sleep, concentration, etc. without drug therapy. It was bad enough that I would go 2-3 days without falling asleep and then get a few hours out of sheer exhaustion. Only through pharmacology do I ever get a decent nights sleep...

    I run Surefire Ear Plugs with Sordin Supreme electronic muffs. Peltor 6s are junk as are Pro Ears...imho

    My .338 Cans, of which I have two, are AAC Ti TiTan QDs. The best 20 ounces you've ever added to a lapmag. imho...
    My favorite can is a Gemtech .17 HMR unit on an Anschutz 1717. Really makes that chambering a sweet heart...

    Regards, Matt Garrett
     
  9. Eral Flinn

    Eral Flinn Member

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    ears

    Have you considered an Elite Iron for your gun(provided it is legal in your State). High quality and will ~30 DB.

    C-7 Z51
     
  10. kkayser

    kkayser Member

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    not my gun

    It is not my gun but others on the range. The loudest gun I shoot is an AK 47 without a suppressor. I think the shooter gets the least noise because he is behind the muzzle. Others, on the sides, are the ones that suffer.
     
  11. mc223

    mc223 Member

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    .....................Huh..........................?
     
  12. Sovblocgunfan

    Sovblocgunfan Member

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    to post 160: That's silly. Other guns affect, but yours affects you too. Behind or beside, damage still can occur. If you are a right handed shooter, it affects your left ear more. With me it did, anyway.

    I read through a pretty good chunk of this thread and empathize with a bunch of you. Mine isn't so bad compared to some of you vets, but I still have some asymmetrical hearing loss and permanent tinnitus. The ringing in my ears always went away after some time, but it took one shot with an M44 to make it permanent...
     
  13. Vernon1

    Vernon1 Member

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    Your Hearing Is Not Going To Come Back

    I was an aircraft mechanic in the USAF.

    I retired after many years from DL.

    I retired after many years at LUV.


    Wear the plugs AND the muffs.

    No sunglasses with the muffs please-ruins the sound seal.

    Many jokes are made about hearing. However, it is not funny one bit when it is YOUR hearing that has been damaged.
     
  14. 12Pump

    12Pump Member

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    I have a question (or an idea) to a make a gun such as AR15 a bit "quieter", at least to those to the sides. I know a linear muzzle break could be used, but they can cost $30 and up. They direct the noise forward. But wouldn't a regular pipe fitted over the barrel accomplish the same thing? My current rifle has an A2 type muzzle break which directs the blast in every direction but down. I was considering the idea of getting a length of pipe that I could fit over the muzzle break and maybe up to 4" forward of that. It could also extend all the way back over the barrel to the front site post for a more even look.

    Upon firing, the muzzle blast would be contained in the pipe for 4" beyond the muzzle break and directed forward. Isn't this basically how a linear break functions?

    FYI, I haven't tried it yet, hence my reason for asking first.
     
  15. Joe_N

    Joe_N Member

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    About 30 to 35 years ago I went shooting with a friend. He brought everything from a .22 to a .44 mag and they were all loud but he had a .41 mag that had a different sound from the rest. The .41 had a higher pitched, sharper report and it hurt my ears every time it was fired which was often. My ears have been ringing ever since that one outing. I now use the foam plugs and a pair of muffs with a rating of NRR 30. I go to an indoor range occasionally and tried the muffs only but realized that was not enough and so doubled up with the foam plugs and muffs.

    A downside to the foam plugs. A few years ago I had a really bad ear ache and ended up at the doctor's office. He found the ear wax was mashed in my ear canals and putting pressure on my ear drum. The nurse washed out my ears and that solved my ear ache. I couldn't explain to the doctor how that had happened though he accused me of using a Q-tip to clean my ears which I don't do. Later I realized it was caused by the foam plugs I was using occasionally at work when in noisy environments. I tend to produce an excess amount of ear wax so now I make sure to wash them out occasionally.
     
  16. kkayser

    kkayser Member

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    I am quite sure that will work. Someone at the range had barrel tuner on the end of the barrel. The gun made almost no sound on the firing line.
     
  17. Ranb

    Ranb Member

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    If you put something on the muzzle to reduce noise, mostly likely it will be considered a silencer in the eyes of the BATFE. If you live in the USA, then you have to obtain a license or pay the $200 tax prior to making one.

    Ranb
     
  18. B!ngoFuelUSN

    B!ngoFuelUSN Member

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    I find them useless as well. It might be the shape of the head and the ear canal. I made an early post in this thread that, I believe, was very useful. But re the ear canal, whenever I insert foam plugs they don't go 'in' (towards the center of my head), but rather 'up' and 'in' at a 45 degree angle. Whether this is common I do not know but because of that, the plugs with a behind-the-neck connector cannot possibly work.
    And of course, as you note, they cannot work with (electronic) noise-reducing ear phones which I always use in tandem with the plugs.
    Years in aviation, including private aviation/aerobatics with a noisy recip just in front of your knees and lots of miles on a motorcycle has taxed my hearing. I still pass all standard tests but I have the sense that I am approaching the borderline of nominal and I do everything I can to keep it that way.
    BTW if anyone in the headphone biz is listening, I wish they could find a way of making a small cut or canal or even a small area of even softer and more flexible and conforming foam where the sides of your eye glasses/protection pass through and in to the cups. There is an obvious difference in decimal level when I wear eyeware and without (just testing, I always wear eye protection) because of the very small gap caused by the eyewear. This seems like an opportunity to upgrade the design of these devices.
    B
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  19. kkayser

    kkayser Member

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    sports glasses are usually held on with elastic around the back of the head. Safety eye shields are also held on with elastic.
     
  20. bcb2

    bcb2 Member

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    To counter the ANTI's. How can all the anti-signing Sheriff's not be held liable for the irreversible permanent hearing damage caused by their actions?????
     
  21. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    The only way to prevent hearing loss from any loud noises is to wear hearing protection as PPE. The only way to maximize the protection is to wear the highest rated plugs and muffs together and properly (no gap in the ear cup pads, properly inserted plugs). Electronic shooting muffs do not cancel the noise, they're only cutting the microphones off at the detection of the report from the firearm.

    If you're shooting and have the option, the addition of a suppressor reduces the noise from the firearm. If you live where suppressors are not an option, the addition of a muzzle device that projects the blast forward helps direct the noise forward of the shooter (these are not suppressors as they direct the noise and do nothing to reduce the noise level).

    All firearms require the use of hearing protection. The maximum protection comes from properly using the maximum NRR plugs with muffs.
     
  22. 12Pump

    12Pump Member

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    Well, I figured that a regular pipe wouldn't be viewed as a silencer since it would only direct sound forward, much as a linear break would. It wouldn't actually reduce the amount of noise made, but simply direct it forward and away from the shooter and bystanders.
     
  23. GarySTL

    GarySTL Member

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    Have you ever seen a 22 rifle with a bloop tube? Just directs the sound down range.
     
  24. maxxhavoc

    maxxhavoc Member

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    If you have at least a 16" barrel, the easiest way to accomplish this is take off the muzzle brake (if it's not pinned.) If having bare threads bothers you, put a thread protector there. Not as much deflection downrange, but quieter than with a brake.
     
  25. TeaCoffee.Guy

    TeaCoffee.Guy Member

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    I realize NOW how serious hearing loss can be. I lost some of the acuteness of my hearing from working in noisy industrial jobs, but I always remember earplugs when I go to the gun range. I take extra earplugs to give to others at the gun range because I meet other people there who don't have them.
     

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