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When did use of hearing protection become standard practice?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by cjwils, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. Bill50

    Bill50 Member

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    When I was in elementary school in the late 1990s, the only place I had to shoot guns was my dad's friend's property in Vermont. We used no ear or eye protection. None of my family used it while hunting either.

    I didn't buy my own guns until I was in my 20s and lived in a city. Now I use earplugs and the most expensive earmuffs I can find for indoor ranges. At indoor ranges, all of this goes on while waiting for range time.

    At outdoor ranges, the earmuffs go on as soon as I can identify a 223/5.56. That round just really bothers me.
     
  2. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    In the 1970s we occasionally placed the filters of cigarettes in our ears, or tufts of cotton to lesson the sound. 44 mag and a number of rifles required hearing muffs at the range. You ears would ring for days afterward.

    I came to the use of ear plugs and ear muffs through work. through work they more and more became a campaign of the union (the Machinists IAM and Steelworkers unions USWA) in the 70s and 80s who fought to make them mandatory safety equipment on the job that the company provided. This was an educational fight between workers on the job and a fight with the companies to provide said equipment.

    That transitioned over to shooting ranges where the ranges more and more made it mandatory. I think the mandatory part began with the indoor ranges, but I can't say when for sure. The transition was uneven.

    I think it was a decade or more back that the plugs came out where you can carry on a conversation but the dampen the sound of a gunshot. I might give those a try if they weren't so expensive.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
  3. Bigmike79

    Bigmike79 Member

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    I'm only 40, and I can remember shooting guns without hearing or eye protection not being considered a big deal when I was a kid.

    My dad was an idiot, as were most of my friend's dads in regards to using hearing protection. I have tinnitus and hearing loss just like most the kids I grew up with that had dumb redneck parents that were into guns.

    I can also remember blowing the locks off of old mines in the mountains in CO as a kid and stealing cases of 100 year old dynamite or fishing for native trout with shotguns with my dad. My old man was a classic example of why kids shouldn't have kids.....smh

    Hearing protection is one of the first things I will stress to new shooters.... Tinnitus is hell
     
  4. ourway77

    ourway77 Member

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    I started shooting at 11 Mostly 22 Rifle no hearing protection Went into the Navy took basic training then assigned to the Seabees where we took rifle training M-1 Garand, Bar, and 45 auto no hearing protection After the service I went into the Police Department we shot Revolvers to qualify again no hearing protection it wasn't till later that they realized shooting w/o hearing protection was taking a toll on our hearing. After 69 years of hunting my hearing is shot I wear hearing aides. So I say no matter the age wear that hearing protection cause once your hearing is gone it's gone forever (Can Do)
     
  5. squirrelmurder

    squirrelmurder Member

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    I just turned 60. As a child, I never remember using or even seeing any type of hearing or eye protection. Shot various types of guns with my Dad through the 70’s the same way, but always in an outdoor, hunting- type setting. As suggested in an earlier post, I am pretty sure you would have been labeled in a negative, gender specific way, (with all due respect to all orientations, since this is THR!).

    I started wearing earplugs in the mid-80’s due to work; was away from guns for many of those years, but probably suffered some damage in the early part of that decade from powerful stereo systems, live concerts and work on car engines. I have had some pretty bad Tinnitus for the last 10-15 years, some of which I am sure is work related; those foam earplugs can only do so much, and a lot of the time I would intentionally fit them loose because you had to be able to communicate with others for safety reasons. I had my hearing tested recently, and the results were “normal for my age” whatever that means. I can hear just fine, but any amount of background noise makes it very difficult, and when it is quiet, it sounds like someone is following me with a 10 Khz oscillator.
     
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  6. JTHunter

    JTHunter Member

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    Squirrel - join the crowd. I'm a bit older and have had "mosquitoes" in my ears for at least 8-9 years. It's loud enough for me to hear even when listening to the radio or TV. Sinus trouble also makes it worse.
     
  7. Tiro Finale

    Tiro Finale Member

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    Same. The small-caliber, high-velocity varmint cartridges seem to bite my ears a little more than anything else. My Mini-14 is a real barker, and my .223 Contender is even worse. I find that the noise is like a very loud, sharp "CRACK!", whereas my larger-caliber guns generally produce more of a "BOOM!"
     
  8. Mk VII

    Mk VII Member

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    Never bothered in the 1970s (indoor .22) and now I can't hear properly.
    In the army (1980s) it was provided but not required and a lot of people didn't bother. I got a pair of the cans type but you couldn't fit them under a tin hat and the plug type often fell out of my ears.
     
  9. Sauer Grapes

    Sauer Grapes Member

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    Huh? What did you say?
    As good as my father was about teaching me about guns, we never wore ear protection.
    35years of construction didn't help either. The ringing in my ears gets pretty bad sometimes. It's always there, but sometimes it drives me crazy. As I'm typing this, it's pretty bad right now.
     
  10. mokin

    mokin Member

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    Nobody made a big deal about hearing protection when I took my hunter safety course (Arizona) in the late 70s. The first time I used ear protection was when I was issued earplugs in boot camp in the mid 80s. Now that I think about it, eye protection was not required then. Eye and ear protection is mandatory at all the ranges I've been to since.
     
  11. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    I started shooting in college in 1976 and we ALWAYS used hearing protection.
     
  12. Bill50

    Bill50 Member

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    Happy to hear it's not just me.
     
  13. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    I can remember going to the outdoor range in the 80s and getting funny looks from the hicks from the sticks for wearing my SPF 17 {o_O) muffs. Mind you, they were sticking .38spl cases in their ears (but only after shooting six to have the empties).

    Did not take long around military ranges with those goofy vinyl rubber valved plugs, to opt for SPF 29 foam plugs (which fit in the same military container we all wore).

    Was not long after that, that I started doubling up around 5.56/223 (that sound impulse from the high supersonic bullet is murder on your hearing, worse than a .44mag). Nowadays, it's high-protection Pelitors with foam plugs.

    None of which diminishes my tinnitus; that's just a constant. But, I'm working to not make it any worse.
     
  14. Tiro Finale

    Tiro Finale Member

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    I had an earplug work loose one time when I was shooting my .223 Contender. I didn't notice right away, but the issue sure did make itself known after I dropped the hammer. It felt like someone jammed a pencil in my ear.
     
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  15. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    In the Army, it was about 1970. My Infantry Officer's Advanced Class had 200 students, and only one had not been in combat. They called us, "The Class that Couldn't Use a Compass" because we had so much metal in our bodies.

    Instructors apparently got tired of students going "What? What?" and "Could you repeat that?" And the next thing you knew EVERYONE was issued ear plugs. They were in a cylindrical plastic case, with a beaded chain running from the bottom of the case to the top of the lid. You buttoned the left breast pocket of your fatigues over the chain, so the case hung on your left breast -- and you better not get caught without it!
     
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  16. tark

    tark Member

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    YOU TOO !! Except I was a REMF in a Supply depot in Qui Nhon.

    To answer the OPs question, around the time smokless powder was invented. People started to realize that smokless powder is much louder than black. Stuff a 45-70 with black , then take a smokless load giving the same velocity with the same bullet. The black powder round will be a low pitched "boom". The smokless will be a louder "crack" that is much more irritating.

    Of course, it took decades to overcome the stigma of "being a sissy" if you needed or wanted earplugs. I know the range I went to made them mandatory in the 70s.
     
  17. gulogulo1970

    gulogulo1970 Member

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    When my Dad started shooting in 1971 he said it was either cotton or nothing.
     
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  18. crest117

    crest117 Member

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    I went through basic training (Army) and AIT in 1967. Fired thousands of rounds from M14 and also some .50 BMG machine guns with no hearing protection. Today I have a good deal of hearing loss and constant ringing in my ears. Whether that was the cause I have no way of knowing but now I wear both ear plugs and muffs when I shoot. I don't want to risk any more hearing loss.
     
  19. farm23

    farm23 Member

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    Not soon enough. Way too many years of shooting loud guns and flying loud airplanes without anything and now expensive hearing aids and wearing hearing protection.
     
  20. fjblair

    fjblair Member

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    Certainly not when I was growing up in the 70's.
     
  21. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    10+ on the above ^^^
    Very few things in life as expensive as "lost" hearing.
    Or chronic, acute, tinnitus, either for that matter.
     
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  22. kBob

    kBob Member

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    In the early 1970's an item of uniform in my Infantry outfit in Europe was the little bottle with chain from bottom to screw top with a set of ear plugs in them. My unit had two types of ear plugs, both simple "rubber" One was a sort of toad stool looking short thing and the other a little rod with multiple circular flanges each larger than the one before it, sort of christmas tree like. We wrapped ours with three bands of tape in our regimental colors which happened to be red and green resulting in comments about Christmas ornaments from folks trying to be cute. When in a field jacket we wore them on an epillette and with out the jacket wore them over a blouse pocket button.

    Before the Army made me use them I saw a few guys with industrial muffs, but cigarette filter/butts were the most common thing I saw. I did see spent centerfire pistol cases wedged into ear cannals and tried it once.....if seemed to make the reports louder to me.

    in the 1960's wearing hearing protection was seen by many as a sign of one having a very weakened Y chromosome. As with many such claims this proved to be stupid.

    -kBob
     
  23. lilguy

    lilguy Member

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    I've had enough unprotected shooting experience, combined with 30 year as a auto tech, on top of too much loud rock music to not have hearing loss. Severe tinnitus, screaming in my ears as I type this is the result. I would do things differently if I'd had half a brain back 45 years.
     
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  24. chez323

    chez323 Member

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    I don't recall using hearing protection until I went in the Air Force back in 84.......
     
  25. ray15

    ray15 Member

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    My first shooting experience was in the late '70s at summer camp. Stevens single-shot bolt gun with 22 shorts and longs. Nobody even thought about ear protection. Out of a rifle barrel they weren't very loud, but I'm sure it would be lawsuit material these days regardless.

    The next time I shot was a Single-Six with 22LR and 22WMR in the early '80s on a farm. I can't even recall if we bothered then. In the mid '80s my best friend's father was a big shooter and reloader, and we shot most of his guns in the Arizona desert. Fortunately his dad made us use ear and eye protection, which was pretty routine by that juncture.

    I've lost some of my hearing in my right ear due racing karts for 20 years with no ear protection. Motor's on the right. I've also lost some in both ears due to having worked in the car-stereo biz in the early '90s. Fortunately they don't ring and I'm certainly not shooting without ears at this point.
     
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