Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

inside gunfire effect on hearing

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by dadof6, Nov 19, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. dadof6

    dadof6 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2006
    Messages:
    77
    Location:
    NJ
    A lot of discussion takes place about defending the home.... what-if??? Mostly about tactics and choices of defensive tools.

    I am wondering about the reality of lighting off a round, or a few, from a pistol or longgun, inside, with no hearing protection. I have on one or two occaisions, fired a round from a pistol, and once from my AR, down at the range which is outside,but covered, without hearing protection. Not a pleasant experience. it gives me pause for concern about the idea of doing that inside 4 walls.

    Please spare me the argument about making a choice between hearing loss and loss of life. I understand that. But I am talking about the reality of indoor shooting.

    Has anyone ever had to experience that, and what has been the outcome?

    thanks for your input.
     
  2. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    5,435
    Location:
    Howard County, Merry Land
    Whatever people might say, the bottom line is that with the possible exception of a very few calibers and configurations, the report of an un-suppressed gunshot is enough to cause hearing damage.

    Now, the shooter may not experience a great deal of pain or immediate reduction in hearing, but the thing about hearing loss is that it is cumulative and permanent. Just because you did it once or twice indoors w/out protection and weren't deafened at the time, doesn't mean that you haven't sustained damage.

    I pesonally double up when shooting. I'm 29 years old, and already have a great deal of hearing loss (including near-constant tinnitus) because in my teenage years I thought I was invincible, and stood too close to the speakers at too many punk shows. :banghead:
     
  3. A.H. Fox

    A.H. Fox Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2010
    Messages:
    96
    what?...WHAT?...
     
  4. Robert

    Robert Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    10,420
    Location:
    Texan by birth, in Colorado cause I hate humidity
    What?

    So couldn't stop myself. I have fired a round inside, indoor range in a training environment, and it was not pleasant. I can fire my K98 without hearing protection with no pain or ringing... That is not a good thing. Between my poor use of hearing protection as a younger man and my playing bagpipes I have lost a portion of my hearing. Just ask my wife...

    The reality is that you will loose some hearing and it will hurt, but a little loss of hearing is better than the alternative.
     
  5. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,228
    Location:
    Southern Maine
    What answer are you looking for than? I could care less, it is a calculated risk. I hunt without hearing protection too. I take the risk
     
  6. 788Ham

    788Ham Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Messages:
    3,206
    Location:
    Hills west of Denver
    How are you going to hear where the BG's at if you have your range muff's on? When the PD officers arrive, are you going to hear their order to "Drop your weapon and raise your hands"?, since they don't know whom the perp is? I have permanent hearing loss due to younger days of "knowing it all" too, and years of working on a rail crew, but knowing I have the chance to remove this BG, before he removes me or mine, this is a chance I'll gladly take. Yes, I know a .44 mag with 300 gr slugs is going to be one hell of a blast inside the house, but I knew that the day I bought the thing! So, you either loose some hearing to protect your family....... or you sit smug with your hearing protection over your ears, your call.
     
  7. MikeNice

    MikeNice Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,001
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I have a friend that bought a cheap pair of active ear muffs and stores them on top of his handgun "safe." Both items are on his nightstand. He claims he can put on the muffs and turn them on in the time it takes his biometric safe to unlock.

    Seems like a possible solution. Just make sure you don't have a "power on" led shining.
     
  8. mfcmb

    mfcmb Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Messages:
    158
    I've seen a number of posts to the effect that 'I was attacked, I fired, I didn't hear it' but none of them have then added a comment about the long term effects.

    Personally, I'm just assuming that if I have to defend myself, whether inside or outside, that I won't have time to protect my hearing and that permanent hearing loss will be part of the cost of staying alive.

    I've also wondered if there might be any circumstances that would allow me to sue the attacker for the loss of hearing...
     
  9. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,228
    Location:
    Southern Maine
    Can he do it at 2:00 in the morning with screaming coming from the other room, gun shots and a flashlight shining under his door.

    My opinion is KISS - Self defense needs to be simple. The more you need to fumble with, the more complicated it becomes.
     
  10. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,228
    Location:
    Southern Maine
    Ooops... wrong thread...
     
  11. mstrat

    mstrat Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Messages:
    165
    Location:
    IL
    If you find yourself in a position requiring you to fire indoors without hearing protection, you are not going to care about hearing loss.

    I realize you acknowledged that... but I had to say it anyway.

    And I don't think there's any disputing that it's going to affect your hearing. I don't think it's going to be sudden and dramatic. But it's a cumulative contribution to hearing loss.

    In the Army I fired my rifle many times without hearing protection, mostly outdoors but occasionally in buildings. I can still hear normal conversations just fine, but it no doubt reduced my hearing and had permanent damage. But that's a small price to pay - and I've never met anyone who's complained about it.
     
  12. Narwhal

    Narwhal Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    240
    I've fired a .40 caliber pistol in my house out of a 3" barrel without hearing protection. There's no need to get into the details of why :uhoh: . The noise was not that bad. I didn't have much ringing in my ears, just a temporary bit that only lasted a minute or so. Granted I may already have a bit of hearing loss but it's still at normal levels for my age (30-ish).

    If anything, the smoke and smell had more of a sensory effect than the sound.

    So sure, it's not good, but you're not going to go instantly deaf from firing off a pistol indoors. I'm sure a hunting rifle or shotgun would at least give you a half hour's worth of ringing though.
     
  13. tomaz45

    tomaz45 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    S.E. Arizona
    Kingpin is right on the mark when he points out "cumulative" damage. I too suffer the effects of a misspent youth. Today, when in the field shooting birds or setting in a blind, I make sure I'm wearing my ear protection. However, when still hunting I don't. The single shot in the open field, vs. multiple shotgun blasts, or the report from inside the blind is the determinate factor. In the home defense situation, the priorities have changed. The minimal sound blast exposure doesn't even register when focused on stopping the threat. In training situations and target shooting, there is no excuse to not wear your hearing protection, and when coaching or serving as RO I most often double-up, with both plugs and muffs. That way I can enjoy the time after the match, without a constant ring in my head.
     
  14. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    8,016
    Addressing the question, I have fired guns indoors and outdoors without hearing protection (this, when I was too naive to know better) and the effects, in terms of permanent noise induced hearing loss, were substantial, particularly in my left ear. Enough to fail a selective service physical, though they were prepared to make an exception. By the way, I think it was made worse by spending about six hours in a sheet metal fabrication hammer room one day.

    So, fire a gun that is loud enough anywhere, and you are going to experience some impairment, and it will be permanent; the effects will be much more secure indoors. Don't take into account auditory exclusion. That has to do with how the brain works.

    That's not something I learned from Google, though you can confirm it there. I studied the subject of permanent noise induced hearing loss in an engineering course in college.

    So, what to do? Putting on muffs doesn't seem like a good idea, and you cannot simply ask an intruder to step outside if the pint of a gun hasn't persuaded him to do it....

    Personally, I would steer clear of ever firing a .357 Magnum indoors, and I'd be leery about setting off a hot twelve gauge load in a short shotgun indoors. I do remember shooting skeet with a guy who was using a
    Winchester Model 97 riot gun, and it was a whole lot louder than my 26 1/2 inch twenty gauge over-under.

    Here is some worth while data. Note that a .357 Magnum puts out about six times the sound energy of a .38 Special, and a short 12 GA., about three.


    http://www.freehearingtest.com/hia_gunfirenoise.shtml

    By the way, carpet and drapery will help a little if you have them.

    In case anyone hasn't made the connection, leaf blowers, power mowers, and load car stereos are also a serious threat. I was too dumb to consider that in the first two.

    My hearing aids cost over $7,000.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  15. MikeNice

    MikeNice Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,001
    Location:
    North Carolina
    It probably won't come to that extreme. A hardened exterior is the first line of defense and gives you advanced warning. Set up your security so that you have pre-alarms and secure your doors and windows. If it is at the point of gun shots and screams in the other room, chances are you've all ready lost.

    Of course, I am ambivalent about his decision.
     
  16. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    5,961
    Location:
    Near Camp Perry
    As an industrial worker and former bubblehead, I've been dealing with the threat of hearing damage for a long time.
    Auditory exclusion will not prevent hearing damage*, it will just be a momentary mental loss of sensory input, the physical damage will still occur.

    * (I don't think you believe that it will, Kleanbore, just clarifying for other readers)

    Keeping plugs or muffs handy is an obvious no-go (this has been covered MANY times right here on THR) for a variety of reasons, unless you have active hearing protection of some kind. The obvious solution would be a sound supressor, many other nations have rational regulations on such devices, here in the US we have silly hoops to jump through to make a gun quieter, but if you run an internal combustion engine without a similar device you're in big trouble ... write your congresscritters on the subject, please.

    As to the actual effect of lighting off a round indoors, you may notice nothing, you may have ringing for a while, or you may be partially deaf to some degree for a bit.
    Gun/load/environment will affect the duration and severity of the immediate effects, the permanent effects will be minor for a single round, but they add up and you NEVER get hearing back.

    I keep silicone plugs in with about every stored gun, they fit me and they go in quick. This is more of a saturation plan to prevent not having HP at the range, but it has the side benefit of giving me the option to pop in plugs given a chance. But I know I probably wouldn't get the chance in a real defensive situation, and I don't have plugs when I'm carrying, either.
     
  17. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    48,719
    Location:
    0 hrs east of TN
    A single shot may not do noticeable hearing loss, but more than one is likely to.

    As you pointed out, if the question is loss of life and loss of hearing the choice becomes easy, but understanding the hazard allows you to take measures to mitigate the hazard.

    Noise levels of firearms:
    .22 caliber rifle 130dB
    .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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  18. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    8,016
    I have edited my above post to include a link to some data for different guns.
     
  19. CruzR

    CruzR Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    2
    I agree with Kingpin008's assessment of cumulative hearing loss. The reality is that if you are forced to use any firearm inside your home to stop a threat from an unwanted intruder, you will be so amped up on adrenalin that you probably won't remember pulling the trigger, much less feel the effects of the firearm’s discharge. I would be more concerned about losing your night vision due to muzzle blast than effects of the discharge. I had a flash bang go off three feet in front of me while conducting active shooter training with my agency. It was supposed to go off prior to our entering a long approximate five foot wide hallway. We had no hearing protection and although we certainly felt the effects, were able to work through the scenario.
     
  20. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    8,584
    Location:
    Down East in NC
    As far as gun choice, most centerfire defensive caliber guns are surprisingly similar in terms of peak dBA, clustering the upper 150's. For any given bore diameter and chamber pressure, shorter barrels are louder than longer barrels, revolvers are louder than semiautos, and brakes are louder than standard muzzles or flash suppressors.

     
  21. Harley Quinn

    Harley Quinn Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,490
    Location:
    No. CA.
  22. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Messages:
    5,356
    Location:
    Oregon
    Those dB charts must not take into effect the frequency of the noise or something because according to that, a 9mm is substantially louder than a 5.56, and my own unscientific test of shooting without ears on was quite the opposite.

    Electronic earmuffs that amplify quiet sounds and cut out loud stuff (like peltor or howard leight) would probably be a good thing to have if you've got time to put them on. If you don't have the time to do that, well, hearing loss will be the last thing on your mind.
     
  23. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    8,016
    True, but most people do not thinks in terms of decibels, which are stated in terms of base 10 logarithms.

    So, in terms of sound pressure, as I try to (struggle to) recall what I studied in a physics class shortly after the 1964 model cars had come out, ...

    • The 9MM is about twice as loud as the .38 Spl.
    • The .357 Magnum is about twice as loud as the 9MM
    • the .45 ACP is a little over half as loud as the .9MM

    ....depending, of course, on barrel length, porting, load, etc.

    ...but it has been a very long time.
     
  24. ChCx2744

    ChCx2744 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,225
    I've been inside a range house when some knuckle-head ND'ed a muzzle loader .45 cal rifle behind the counter; floor looked like a rat had dug a hole doggy-style lol, a little crater with a little pile of dirt on each side. Aside from that it kind of sounded like a very loud thunder clap, not a loud pop. Regardless, I was shaken and had that "flat line" sound buzzing in my head for the rest of the day. I don't know if it had any lasting effects, though.
     
  25. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    5,435
    Location:
    Howard County, Merry Land
    That "buzzing" sound is called Tinnitus, and yes, it's a sign that lasting damage was done. Probably not serious damage, but as has been mentioned, hearing loss is cumulative. Once it's gone, even if it's a little bit - it ain't comin' back. :(
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page