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Plugs and Muffs weren't enough.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by PedalBiker, Jun 22, 2010.

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  1. PedalBiker

    PedalBiker Member

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    I bought a .45 for my 45th birthday, made a quick trip to the range and shot 100 rounds out of the .45 and then about 40 rounds from my trusty Mossberg 500. I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of recoil and muzzle blast from the .45. The gun was a Ruger P345 and was really fun to shoot. Unfortunately my ears are still ringing. This has now happened the last several trips to the range. In spite of both plugs and muffs I now have a couple of weeks of irritating ringing in my ears after shooting sessions. I'm really concerned that one of these times the ringing won't go away (and that this time might be it).

    I wasn't always so careful, but after an Army hearing test that showed hearing loss I wised up - or so I thought.

    The first couple of times I thought it was due to other folks with "loud" guns. This time I was the only one on the range, it was outdoors, I wasn't there long and I didn't shoot all that much.

    I think it's time for me to stick to .22s and archery.
     
  2. MisterMike

    MisterMike Member

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    That's pretty unusual; are you sure your muffs and plugs are intact and that you're using them properly?

    If over-the-counter equipment doesn't work for you, I'd consider scheduling a visit with an audiologist who fits earplugs. He/she can help you find the right solution.
     
  3. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    I wonder if something else isn't affecting you. You may have Tinnitus that is being brought on by the activity, rather than the blasts. I'd get checked out, especially if you are experiencing this for weeks.
     
  4. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Do you also use loud tools like power trimmers, lawn mowers, etc. without hearing protection - long exposure to sounds like those on the edge cause hearing loss....(so does listening to music with headphones very loud- that got me). Combine an accrued sensitivity with this new noise and bad things happen
     
  5. Uncle Mike

    Uncle Mike Member

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    Probably the case, I knew a Captain in the Navy that this very thing was happening.

    He also thought it may have been from exposure to gunfire, but alas, the gentleman found out it was tinnitus.
     
  6. PedalBiker

    PedalBiker Member

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    I wear hearing protection for almost all power tools (now), but when I started many years ago I did not. My did didn't believe in that stuff and I started using chain saws and shooting in my teens.

    I think it's just gotten to the point where my ears have had enough.

    Also, it's not just shooting, I had my iPod too loud at the gym one day and my ears rang for a week or so after that too. Now I'm quite careful with it as well.
     
  7. MisterMike

    MisterMike Member

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    Tinnitus can be a symptom of many different conditions, though it sounds like the OP may have just abused his ears a bit too much. Try the audiologist. You might need to work with an MD as well.
     
  8. flyinrob

    flyinrob Member

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    Sounds like it isn't just the shooting that causes it. I would give the ear doc a call.
     
  9. Nushif

    Nushif Member

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    Definitely the ear doc. And most definitely a custom fitted set of plugs. Those are amazing in any case.
     
  10. harmonic

    harmonic member

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    If you've already suffered hearing damage, it might not take much to aggravate an already existing condition.

     
  11. Kyle1886

    Kyle1886 Member

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    PedalBiker, according to my audiologist it only takes one unfortunate event to cause "acoustic trauma". In my case, I was helping a neighbor adjust the metal tractor style seat on her exercize bike. I smacked the underside of the seat with a hammer and the resulting "clang" caused me to be almost completely deaf for 2 days. I immedately contacted an ENT-Audiologist, (Ear, nose, throat doctor). He said that the chances on regaining my hearing is "slim to nil". That was two years ago. I have regained a little bit of my "base and lower treble tones" Most of my mid-range and low base and high treble are nonexistant. Yes there is a constant hiss or ring that I never had before, drowns out conversation.

    I hope your condition is temporary, but you should have it checked out. At least with the audio tests, it will give you a "new base point" to evaluate any future or progressive hearing loss.

    I wish you luck.

    Respectfully
    Kyle
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
  12. toivo

    toivo Member

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    There's plugs and muffs and there's plugs and muffs... I find the smooth, cone-shaped foam plugs do almost nothing for me. Add a pair of worn-out or loose-fitting muffs, and it's still pretty poor protection.

    I need the cylinder-shaped, rough-textured plugs to seal my ear canals. Add a pair of good-fitting muffs with plenty of padding in the cups to close up around the earpieces of my shooting glasses, and that's pretty good protection.

    +1 on the concussive aspects. It's worse indoors, or even under a shelter roof. You get a one-two punch when the shockwave bounces back. If I'm alone on our club range, I will sometimes move the bench out from under the roof when shooting centerfire rifles.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010
  13. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Member

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    Definitely see a doc. Damage is cumulative and it sounds like it could be tinnitus. I was stupid when I was younger around guns, engines, concerts, tools, etc. and would just "man up" instead of taking proper care of my ears and I have tinnitus now.
     
  14. moxie

    moxie Member

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    A visit to the doc is indicated. I suffer from major loss from 23 years in the Air Force, as well as private shooting, 2 stroke engines and all the usual. But plugs and muffs do a great job for me, so I suspect something else is going on or your plugs and muffs aren't fitting/working properly. A .45 (assuming an auto here) and a shotgun are most definitely not that loud in the scheme of things, especially outdoors. A .22 revolver is louder.
    You might also try some different plugs (make sure they have a NRR of 29 or higher) and some of the electronic noise cancelling muffs. They do work!

    Also, if you are using ratty old army muffs, the foam could have degraded to useless. They don't last forever. Ditto on plugs.
     
  15. ForumSurfer

    ForumSurfer Member

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    Same here, among other loud activities.

    Like others have said, see a doctor. A 45 shouldn't cause ringing with that much protection. It doesn't for me, and like yourself I had that noisy childhood.

    My Dad experienced similar issues with ringing. It was due to the drastic pressure changes when firing a larger caliber or anything that created shockwaves. He never realized he had an inner ear problem until he just fell over one day. Your inner ear has a drastic affect on your balance. We were walking along and there was some loud noise (I forget now what it was). He just got dizzy and was down on the ground in a matter of seconds...all the visible symptoms of a heart attack. The pin pointed the inner ear issue at the ER after the rest of us nearly suffered a heart attack after that scare. Take care of your ears. Like you, I didn't from an early age and now I regret it.

    I fire a 45 on my property from time to time with no protection, same as with all my SD guns. If heaven forbid I ever use it in self defense, I need to prepare my mind for what that particular gun is going to sound like. IMO, never hearing a shot without protection may cause a situation one day where you fire in self defense, and that loud blast distracts you for a few seconds. It's doubtful, but I'd rather know. I'm not saying you should do that often, if ever...it's just what I've done to prepare myself just a step farther.
     
  16. Vonderek

    Vonderek Member

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    If it's tinnitus a doctor can't really do anything for you. There's no cure. There're only ways to cope. If you are wearing plugs and muffs together and still damaging your ears I suspect the ear protection you have sucks or you are using them improperly.

    Are you sure the plugs are expanding and filling the ear canal firmly or are they just stuck in your outer ear? I have a hard time getting them to 'set' properly, especially in one of my ears. If it's not in right it doesn't really block any noise.

    What are the dB ratings on the muffs? If they are only 19 or 20 they're not doing much either. Get muffs with the highest rating.

    Once your ears start to go bad you need the highest rated protection you can find. If one of my plugs isn't in right it's painful for me to shoot, even with muffs on top.
     
  17. oldbear

    oldbear Member

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    Please see an audiologist!

    Sir, having spent 30 + years riding off-road motorcycles, playing with race cars, driving at highway speed with the window down, and shooting big bore handguns at 61 my most often used expression is “what did they say”? I assure you it’s not a lot of fun for me, my wife, or friends.

    So Please stop shooting until you can see an audiologist and see if you can’t get some working hearing protection.
     
  18. ForumSurfer

    ForumSurfer Member

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    old bear speaks the truth. I'm a little more than half his age with the same exposure. Building motors in my parents' small garage at 16-20 years old did not help matters. Too many nights tuning carbs on big blocks with open headers and tuning obnoxiously loud four wheeler/motorcycle carbs took a toll.

    I'm 33 and I say "Excuse me?", "Huh?!" and "What!?" entirely too often.
     
  19. wishin

    wishin Member

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    An audiologist is not a doctor. Yes, they can determine the degree of your hearing loss, but first see a doctor to find out if it's a medical issue, such as an infection, that can be corrected with treatment.
     
  20. dagger dog

    dagger dog Member

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    Some times the damaging noise can be transmitted through the bones of the skull in and around the ear. So a large muff that covers the most area and fits without small openings is the best to wear, plus you want the db stopping # to be as high as possible 30-31, some electronic muffs are as low as 19db. It IS a wise choice to go with the plugs and muffs.

    I have around 66 percent hearing loss in my right ear about 15 percent in the left, higher frequencys get damaged first . I'm an auto mechanic by trade, and the air tools have used over the years have taken their toll, with their high pitched scream.

    The constant ringing in my right ear was caused by 2 incidents, one at 12 yrs old with a large firecracker going off about a foot away, and the second in 1986 by a revolver shot from a .38 Special, about 6" away, the pain was incredible, total loss of hearing in the right ear for days, finally coming back but with the constant ringing and the hearing loss.

    You can't be too carefull, it would be a good idea for custom plugs and muffs if you plan to persue the shooting sports.
     
  21. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Tinnitus can be caused by a number of things besides exposure to loud noise. I have had tinnitus for years caused by damage to the spinal cord in my neck from an auto accident. As said before, most doctors will simply tell you to get used to it. A neurologist told me he could cut the auditory nerves and render me completely deaf and I would still hear the noise. If you don't have tinnitus you are very lucky. It's a real drag.
     
  22. PedalBiker

    PedalBiker Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I've been overdue for a physical so I just scheduled one and will bring this up and ask for a referral to a specialist in ear stuff.

    I always had "sensitive" ears and so purchased my own hearing protection from the time I had my own money. Even so I've had a few cases of excessive noise exposure and the last time I was checked already had some hearing loss.

    I've never had problems until just recently, but one time at the indoor range I ended up next to an M4 style rifle and the next time I was next to a guy with a semi auto .243 (the new Rem AR style), then the guy's buddy upnacked a .50 BMG and proceded to touch off 2 rounds not more than 15' away under a tin roof. I got really pissed and nearly started a fight (fortunately I had moved my son over a couple of tables at that point). I'm not taking my son to shoot aywhere I don't have control of the environment again. He's popping off a single shot .22 with muffs only and the guys think it's ok to uncase the Barrett without even letting us know.

    Both of these incidents left with ringing that lasted a couple of weeks. Since both were somewhat exceptional and it went away I didn't really worry too much. This last time it was only me at the range and as others have mentioned a .45 and 12 ga aren't all that exceptional.

    I will most certainly avoid further shooting until I can get a good diagnosis and better hearing protection.

    The silicone plugs I was using were fitting well and the muffs are the Caldwell electronic ones (turned off). I'm not sure if it matters, but the right ear plug got a bit too deep and I needed pliers to get it out.

    Thanks again for all the support. I'm a huge music fan and I dearly love my wife and kids. I don't want to miss out communicating with my family.
     
  23. Danus ex

    Danus ex Member

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    Wow what a timely thread for me. My left ear just started ringing the Saturday before last after dry-firing a pistol in my office a few times and it hasn't stopped.

    Like you, I always, always, always double up when shooting, and I use foam plugs + Silencio Magnums. 3 out of my 4 grandparents have some kind of hearing problem, so I've known for years that I'm at terrible risk for hearing problems. I even had an antibiotic-resistant ear infection when I was 18 that made me temporarily near deaf. Needless, to say, I'm extra paranoid about my hearing. I suppose it will only be fitting that I'll get screwed with permanent tinnitus at age 27. :(
     
  24. metalman8600

    metalman8600 member

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    Try an outdoor range, the sound waves are not as bad when indoors with those walls right next to you.
     
  25. harmonic

    harmonic member

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    Your ears started ringing just from dry firing a gun? What the heck kind of gun was it?
     
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