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Gun Shots and Hearing Damage

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by JellyJar, Sep 12, 2009.

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  1. JellyJar

    JellyJar Member

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    On 08/29 I started a thread about Home defense and hearing damage. Hearing damage caused by gun shots is a pet peeve of mine. I have always been as careful as possible about sight and hearing protection since I started shooting guns. In fact I often wear foam plugs in addition to hearing muffs even when using my electronic Wolff Ears.

    The worst incidence I have ever had involving gun shots hurting my ears was when I was attending a performance of Les Mes several years ago in NYC with my sister :eek: In one scene involving the Paris uprising of 1848 they fired several blanks in the rafters not too far from where I was sitting. My ears did not ring but it was painful. In hindsight I should have reported them to OSHA. I am sure the blanks they were using were way too loud and using them broke many federal and state work rules.

    I am very surprised about the lackadaisical attitude that many have expressed in my previous thread about hearing damage. I know that there will not always be time to use hearing protection in an emergency but it can be done in many circumstances.

    I am 54 now and still have very good hearing although I can no longer hear the buzz of mosquitoes any more. I understand that is normal for a man my age.

    What I would like to hear now ( no pun intended ) are stories about people who have been shooting guns for many years how and what, if any, hearing problems they may have. I especially would like to hear from combat veterans from WWII until now of how, if at all, their combat experiences have hurt their hearing. I want this thread to help teach people how important it is to do what ever can be done to protect their hearing while enjoying all the shooting sports or using guns for protection.

    P.S.

    A friend of my mothers has two preteen boys that he is now taking deer hunting with him. They are all using a 30-06 rifle and no hearing protection. I think that is child abuse, do you? :confused:
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  2. Mt Shooter

    Mt Shooter Member

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    I am 55, in my younger days we would sight in the hunting rifles (30-06) sometimes with no protection. Sometimes a bit of cotton in the ear but that was about it. I even recall once firing a 357 mag without anything. Hearing loss, yes, constant ringing in the ears, actually more like a tone. But is it from shooting alone? I spent 8 years around jet engines and turning prop's. Ever fire up an air start? Powered by a Detroit twin turbo and will put 60 psi though a 6 inch pipe, makes some jet engines mild. Also years in the truck and automotive repair winding up those takes its toll.

    My point is, shooting may add to it but I also wonder how much just living does as well. I don't hear the higher sounds, a female voice for instance, clearly. Sometimes that may not be as bad as it sounds.
     
  3. cleardiddion

    cleardiddion Member

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    No offense, but I think you should just calm down.

    When I first started off shooting sometimes we'd also only have a bit of cotton and sometimes nothing at all. Sure your ears ring after half a can of Bulgarian x54r but I surely haven't gone deaf.
    Did some construction too involving heavy equipment with squat nothing stuff in or around my ears and personally I think that was far worse than a few gun shots.
     
  4. BillyBothHands

    BillyBothHands Member

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    I usually keep a box of the cheap foam plugs around mainly in case anyone ends up shooting with me that doesn't have any. If you run into them often, buy some and toss them their way including the dad. If he takes offense then oh well. I've actually done this several times in similar situations and haven't had anyone upset about it yet. Most of them got in the habit of using something as well. I think after their first time using them they realized how loud their guns actually were.
     
  5. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    My hearing loss I attribute more to Jimi Hendrix at volume 9 with headphones.....(OK, beer was involved).......I always wear ear protection - at least plugs for shotguns, plugs and muffs for metallic
     
  6. kdstrick

    kdstrick Member

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    Ever been to a concert? Now, that is loud! :what:

    In my youth I would shoot thousands of rounds of 22 without any hearing protection. I also dove, duck, deer and turkey hunted without. I've put lots of meat in the freezer and if I could go back in time I'd only change one thing. I wish I'd have worn ear plugs.

    My hearing is clearly damaged from thousands and thousands of rounds shot. I wear them now. Sometimes, when hunting there is not time to put them in/on. Waste the time, lose your chance at bagging a nice buck. I'll take the buck. :D

    Will one shot hurt your hearing :confused:... maybe, but not enough to notice on a permanent basis. It is the prolonged exposure that does the damage. To be so paranoid about hearing loss, especially in a self defense situation is just plain silly. ;) :)
     
  7. Shung

    Shung Member

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    once shot a 5.56mm from a M4 inside a room, without wearing ear protection.. Was painfull for a bit, I did loose a bit of audition for a day or 2, but than I got it back completely..

    strangely, worst case i had, was firing a 22 minimag from a supressed AR-15.. something went wrong and the case exploded from the bolt ejection window... I think I got some damages there. for a week or two, took my showers with an ear plug, not to put water inside my ear..

    As someone said, concerts are much worse.. I went to ONE in my lifetime.. when I got out, i couldnt hear well for several days.. 1st time, last time..
     
  8. preachnhunt

    preachnhunt Member

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    My father in law served in the military some fifty years ago in an artillery battery.They had no hearing protection in those days and thought nothing of it. Now his hearing has ,as a result of his service deteriorated to the point that he is functionally deaf.

    He didn't have any symptoms for years, but once he started to notice a loss the decline has been steady. If you like the prospect of spending your golden years in your own private world because you can't follow a conversation,then by all means skip the hearing protection and fire away.
     
  9. cleardiddion

    cleardiddion Member

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    Admitedly a few shots from a .22 or 30-06 or whatever doesn't really equate to a battery of 155's going off :p
     
  10. KenWP

    KenWP member

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    I wear hearing aids and I wore ear plugs from day one. I worked with huge saws and metal work and of course a lot of guns and I sitill went deaf. Ear plugs are not good enough as the out side of the ear and skull transmit sound also. A freind has a hearing aid that attaches to the back of his head as inside the ear hearing aids don't do enough and he needs extra.
    Also the damage dosn't show up for a few years. I also suffer badley from recruitment and the lawn tractor hurts me now. I have to wear protection to do the simplest jobs now. They tried to put my hearing loss on my shooting untill they found out that my left ear was worse then my right. Turns out if you shoot from your left shoulder the right ear should be worse so they lost that one real fast. My last boss tried to fight my hearing loss even thou I worked for him for many many years but the lady just ignored him and went with my prior employer as I actually had a tax return going back over 20 years that said I worked at a certain place and she received it at 8 in the morning and approved it by 10 for my claim.
    I am lucky I worked with deaf mutes for years and learned to read lips and didn't really know I had been doing it for years.
     
  11. jakemccoy

    jakemccoy Member

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    You're mixing concepts. A first concept is using hearing protection at the range. I'm pretty sure just about every shooter is on board with using hearing protection at the range. I wear plugs and muffs at the range. A second concept is using hearing protection during a home invasion. The other thread covered why many shooters don't think using hearing protection during a home invasion is practical or necessary. It's not a matter of being lackadaisical there.
     
  12. cleardiddion

    cleardiddion Member

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    Wow, well said jake couldn't have put it better myself
     
  13. doc2rn

    doc2rn Member

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    Been shootin since I was 9, went through 7 yrs in the military, had a handgrenade go off only feet away. But none of that compared to being inside a UH-53. Give me a saw or mortar goin off anyday. I am not deaf, I use regular ear inserts at the range, but I think you are living in fear of everyday noise. Life is noisey, most NY streets are louder than a .22lr report. Use precaution when u can and dont sweat the rest!
    PS the understudy to Jean Valjean in Les Mis was from KS. They where checked inside out for the safety of reports from those blanks by the city. They had to get permits for them. Too many people are too sensative to what others are doing instead of worryin about what they themselves are doing.
     
  14. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    I shot for decades with no hearing protection. Who knew. My grandfather didn't, my father didn't (not in the Army Air Force in WWII or as a state trooper after the war) and I didn't until maybe the '70s when I was 25. My ears ring, my father uses 2 hearing aids and his brother uses them too.

    The possibility of shooting inside the house doesn't bother me. What does bother me are the hand dryers in the Virginia rest stops. Seriously, little tile room, lots of noise. Sets my ears to really ringing. I can still hear the 12 speaker XM radio in the car, but... :)

    "The XLerator hovers around 90 decibels."

    See, the thing is, the rest stops have the machines mounted in PAIRS and they will clear your sinuses and blow the cobwebs out of your ears while they dry your hands.

    John
     
  15. EvanWilliams

    EvanWilliams member

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    doc2rn. I might could understand Rn2Doc. Doc2Rn. Did you go to nursing school after medical school? Just asking. I am a RN
     
  16. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    OSHA regulates workplaces. The squibs fired would not have violated the workplace rules of 90dBA for an 8 hr time weighted average for the employees of the theater.

    Single gunshots can cause permanent hearing damage at the shooter's position. Can, not will. Repeated gunshots will cause damage to the unprotected shooter.

    How much? There are a lot of factors that go into whether one or more shots will damage your hearing.

    As a parent who has taught my own children and dozens of others to shoot I advise you to be very careful tossing terms like "child abuse" around. You should understand the term before applying it.

    As to anecdotes from former service members, you're much better off looking at the military's websites related to noise exposure and hearing damage. Hearing loss is one of the major sources of disability payments made by the armed services. It is one of the most common "injuries" suffered by soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen. Mitigating hearing damage due to small arms, heavy weapons and artillery fire is so important that there is considerable research and effort put into controlling the hazard by the military. Look where the money is being spent and you'll see how serious the problem is.

    As to whether an individual has a clue about how much hearing damage has taken place, forget using anecdotes. Hearing damage due to small arms fire is like an embezzler. Little increments of your hearing stolen hear and there eventually adding up to significant loss, but the individual losses were too small to notice until they all added up to something important. Think of it this way, when the little alarm goes off in your head (ringing ears), some of your hearing has been stolen.

    For those of you that say, "I couldn't hear too good for a day or two but it all came back", how do you know? Did you have an audiogram after the gunshot? Did you have a baseline audiogram to compare "after" to? It's very easy for us to think our hearing has returned when the measurements say otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  17. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Just wait. Anytime your ears ring they're telling you permanent damage has taken place. You won't really notice anything until the loss becomes fairly severe unless you go have your hearing tested.
     
  18. John Parker

    John Parker Member

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    It wasn't lackadaisical, it just differed from your opinion. I don't know if you expected the masses to fall down and worship at your feet, but people expressed differing opinions both in support and opposition to your statement. The general consensus seemed to be that having ear protection as you suggested was fine and if you had time to put it on, great. Although I didn't mention it before, it made me realize that having a set of muffs by the bed really wouldn't hurt anything. But future hearing loss is a secondary concern to an immediate, physical threat.
    In both Iraq and Afghanistan, I always carried a set of earplugs on my person when leaving the base, but in a contact situation, getting them into my ears was about the 30th thing down my list to do.
     
  19. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I think folks who are interested in the topic really should pay close attention to KenWP's post at 4:16 today. In my experience at a busy audiology/hearing aid practice, a lot of folks A) think they've gotten away with noise exposure because they haven't experienced significant problems yet ("you mean working on the factory floor 40 years ago caused my deafness???") and B) often aren't aware of how much hearing they're actually missing (Husband: "I hear fine. People just need to quit mumbling." Wife: "You're deaf, dammit! We're tired of yelling at you and listening to you say 'what?'")

    As always, of course, I feel perfectly comfortable posting such warnings, because I know for a fact that young people are invincible and won't pay any attention. So keep on shooting without hearing protection. There's a new Ferrari I've had my eye on.
     
  20. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    Oh, and HSO keeps bringing up points but underestimating their impact:

    "Hearing loss is one of the major sources of disability payments made by the armed services."

    As I understand it, hearing loss is THE number one source of disability claims in the U.S. military. I am honestly am not sure if we could keep the doors open if not for our armed forces.
     
  21. chuckusaret

    chuckusaret member

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    I spent 24 years in the military at peace and war. I served proudly as a grunt, door gunner, aircraft crew chief and as a maintance chief and none of these jobs caused any hearing loss. I started shooting in in the late 1940's and still shoot most weekends. I am old, but I don't have the "What did you say" problem.
     
  22. ColinthePilot

    ColinthePilot Member

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    JellyJar, I'm on your side with this one. I'm only 24 and I've been flying airplanes of all sizes since I was 15, and shooting regularly since I was about 19. I double up when I fly, foamies with David Clark headset. I don't mind spending the extra money on high quality hearing protection for shooting (Peltor Tactical 6S or Howard Leight Impact Sport), if I'm shooting indoors, I double up.

    After all that, I'm noticing some hearing loss, even at my age. I have trouble isolating sounds like conversations in crowded rooms. Lots of conversations going on, I can't even hear the folks 2 or 3 seats away from me.

    I attribute most of it to flying and hanging around airports for most of my teenage years. I don't think much of it is due to shooting. Compared to long term exposure to aircraft engines, APU's, ground power carts, etc, I don't think shooting is terribly hazardous, all things relative, of course.
     
  23. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    Thank you for your service, sir. Care to post your most recent audiogram?
     
  24. jakemccoy

    jakemccoy Member

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    Since you're wearing plugs underneath, you might as well double up with non-electronic muffs. They're less expensive and offer a higher noise reduction rating. Compare:

    http://www.cabelas.com/p-0044358228573a.shtml
    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/t...h-box.jsp.form1&Go.x=0&_dyncharset=ISO-8859-1

    Again, I say this because you're wearing the plugs underneath. With the plugs, you don't get to take advantage of the active filters of the electronic muffs.
     
  25. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Actually you do.

    You can turn the volume up on the electronic muffs (they won't let you exceed a safe level) which will help you hear normal level sounds through the plugs but when the noise level outside the muffs get too loud they will cut off and you'll get the benefit of both the muffs and the plugs. You can't merely add the two dB noise reduction ratings but you do get more reduction using both than you would with just one or the other.

    Plugs + electronic muffs turned up + normal outside sound = better hearing than wearing plugs or muffs alone.

    Plugs + electronic muffs turned up + dangerous outside sound = better protection than wearing plugs or muffs alone.
    I have NEVER seen anyone on THR make a blanket suggestion to "use hearing protection during a home invasion".

    Some have said that in a bump-in-the-night scenario where there is no urgent threat apparent that donning a good set of electronic hearing protectors could be an advantage for several reasons:

    1. You can hear better than normal with a good set of electronic muffs which provides a benefit in locating and identifying the source of the noise.
    2. It will prevent temporary deafness if there is shooting, thus preserving your auditory situational awareness.
    3. It will prevent hearing damage if there is a shooting.

    This is not a difficult concept--I'm mystified as to why so much repetition is required.

    • Do NOT reach for your hearing protection if you obviously need to immediately arm yourself and/or immediately summon help.
    • IF there is no immediate threat and you have a good set of binaural electronic muffs handy then use them. They can't hurt and they can help. If for any reason they don't work they can be removed and discarded in less than a second.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2009
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