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Hot Topic (More than 30 Replies) Hearing protection and Firearms (Read 29576 times)
Kickstart
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Hearing protection and Firearms
Aug 23rd, 2010 at 7:50am
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I have an uncle who recently gave me most of his firearms. He is a top notch bloke, but has a heap of hearing damage... he's worked in noisy environments and his shotgun was another appendage for him for many years.

After some research I have learnt that it is possible to permanently damage your hearing with just one rifle or shotgun shot and that "ringing in your ears", known as tinnitus, is also permanent damage.

A rifle blast is around 140dB and will cause damage in the high end range (human voice, some higher and more irritating than others). No ifs or maybes, it is real damage being done and the damage caused by repeated exposure to loud noise will eventually lead to hearing loss and the more noise inflicted, the greater the hearing loss.

As hearing loss is often gradual you do not notice that it is happening until eventually you realise that speech around you sounds muffled or dull and people start commenting that you are not hearing them properly.

This article Don't Let Gun Sports Backfire on You is well worth a read as is Unprotected Hunters At Risk Of Hearing Loss.

After talking to a fellow hunter who valued their hearing (no loud music) I was surprised to learn they didn't know the crack from a rifle is enough to cause permanent damage!! I believe that most hunters are also not aware of this.

Now, if you're a typical male, you wont really care - it won't happen to you and what's a little hearing damage anyway?  Well, my uncle's hearing aids, I believe, cost $10,000! Not only that but hearing aids normally have a lifespan of around 10 years. One can buy an awful lot of hunting toys for that kind of money. Now do you care?

This thread is an indication of how widespread the issue of firearm hearing damage is.

Everyone knows that prevention is better than cure and there are two ways to protect your hearing:
1. By fitting a suppressor to your rifle, and
2. By using ear protection.

I usually hunt with a pair of foam bud type tied around my scope but have since lost them... but will definitely be replacing them as they also help with my flinch - I think most of it was caused by the noise!
(like these)
http://www.nzsafety.co.nz/images/small/nzs/405592.jpg1282109138530

Wearing good ear protection should be second nature both when hunting and when at the range. Many hunters complain that ear plugs are not practical whilst hunting as they reduce the ability to hear one's prey but there are ear protectors that allow you to hear yet "close off" when they detect a dangerous noise level. These types of hearing protection are available from audiologists who provide a custom fitting service.

Whatever hearing protection you use it must be of the correct rating (at least Grade 5), and properly fitted.

Remember, hearing damage is irreversible and starts from the first shot fired. Do not leave protection until it is too late.
  

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Kiwi Greg
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #1 - Aug 24th, 2010 at 7:42am
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It always amazes me the number of guys & their friends that show up at the range with nothing, no muffs plugs etc, under the roof even a supersonic .22LR hurts let alone a centre fire !!!! Embarrassed
I always have spare plugs in my kit to give guys.
My job, joinery, is noisey & I always wear muffs, I know what its like to have a deaf oldman, joiner as well, as chainsaws, rifles etc & I don't want that to be me.... all ready have some loss though  Sad
I wear plugs & muffs up the range or when shooting targets etc, when I used to shoot a lot of goats I would aways put plugs in.
Now I have got braked rifles it is even more important & have recently got some accoustic muffs to use.
The worst thing with this type of hearing loss is you can't hear the soft higher pitched sounds, ie female voice.... not always such a problem though  Grin  Grin  Grin
  

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Kickstart
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #2 - Aug 24th, 2010 at 8:12am
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Cheers for the input Kiwi Greg... I dont want this to be a static sticky guys!

I've had some help from another member put that text together, if we've missed anything feel free to add!

Purposefully I sat off to the side of you when you fired that beast of yours... just wanted to feel that blast and man... without protection that I'm sure would have been instant loss of hearing!  Grin

I've heard stories of shutguns fired close to ears rupturing drums too!
  

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goosebayhunter
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #3 - Aug 24th, 2010 at 8:24am
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plus when i shoot with earplugs its fine group in 1inch most times. without earplugs i get a flinch from the bang and i go all funny... Grin
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #4 - Aug 24th, 2010 at 8:29am
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I can relate to the ringing in the ears as mine ring 24/7 and for me it is the intensity of it.  Sad No one to blame but myself, didn't use hearing protection much when I was a young man and I was using chainsaws,skillsaws etc ... was just young and stupid.  Embarrassed I have been told I need digital hearing aids at a cost of $3000.00-$5000.00.
Although I use hearing protection now, it's too late for me as the damage has been done. I hate situations like partys or loud music as I can't understand what people are saying to me, I find I watch peoples lips to try and work out what words they are saying.  Embarrassed
It goes without saying guys..protect your hearing because 98% of damage is irreversible.  Sad
  
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6.5x55bjai
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #5 - Aug 25th, 2010 at 5:22am
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I have just started the process to get hearing aids.  A good set up is up near $9k.  I have worked in heavy industrial environments all my life.  In the early days of my career there was no such thing as ear muffs and if there was only sissies wore them.  With full bore shooting I quite often went home with a head ache – this was the excepted thing.  One range was worse than others due to a hill being next to the mound – maybe reverberations giving your hearing a double whammy.  At any rate I now religiously wear a very high quality set of electronic muff but unfortunately it is too late.  I intend in the future to also wear ear plugs under my muffs.  I am a target shooter only now, no hunting, so muffs are not too much of a nuisance.  Interestingly my left ear is a lot worse than my right ear – as is the case for right hand shooters.
The other point is that hearing aids are just that, aids only.  They do not correct hearing loss as glasses can correct sight loss. Oh well…………
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #6 - Aug 25th, 2010 at 6:07am
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this is one thing im glad attitudes have changed in. now days your not a pussy if you wear earmuffs your an idiot if you don`t it a huge attitude change in the last few years in all things like thins its good.

good on you kickstart for starting this
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #7 - Aug 26th, 2010 at 9:02pm
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Try some custom moulded ear plugs ( shooters plugs)

I have them, think they are 60 to 90 not sure friend did mine

They stay in, you can hear things, people talking, sticks, wind etc and they are comfortable

But pull the trigger and it's like good ear muffs
Tired with 7.5 Swiss
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #8 - Aug 26th, 2010 at 9:45pm
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Hearing protection is a must.
I am a cabinet maker and always wear ear defenders in the workshop.
Best bet for long term use is spend a bit more, not just buy the $10 pair from the Warehouse.

Protector Safety has a good range.
Ear Plugs:
http://www.protectorsafety.co.nz/servlet/Srv.Ecos_Signon?CN=16196&AC=cg4H9mqp6H3...

Ear Muffs:
http://www.protectorsafety.co.nz/servlet/Srv.Ecos_Signon?CN=16196&AC=cg4H9mqp6H3...

I personally use these. really comfy:
http://www.protectorsafety.co.nz/servlet/Srv.Ecos_Signon?CN=16196&AC=cg4H9mqp6H3...

But am thinking about getting these:
http://www.protectorsafety.co.nz/servlet/Srv.Ecos_Signon?CN=16196&AC=cg4H9mqp6H3...
  
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blackbunny
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #9 - Aug 28th, 2010 at 9:49am
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Unfortunately those links don't go to the products, 2gnscib.  Sad

It would be better to copy and paste the items' descriptions or codes to here so that people can search for the products themselves.
  

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Kickstart
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #10 - Aug 28th, 2010 at 8:58pm
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FareGame wrote on Aug 26th, 2010 at 9:02pm:
Try some custom moulded ear plugs ( shooters plugs)

I have them, think they are 60 to 90 not sure friend did mine


Where can we get these?  I searched the 'net and only seem to be finding them for about 90 euros!
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #11 - Aug 29th, 2010 at 7:53am
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The best muffs I've been able to find in terms of noise reduction are the Peltor Ultimate 10 muffs.

At 30db noise reduction, they are pretty impressive, and relatively cheap too.

  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #12 - Aug 30th, 2010 at 10:26pm
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I wonder if there is the possiblity of a "group" purchase for forum members?  Decent ear muffs are a must but are also not the cheapest items out there.

I am sure that Protector Safety would be open to a deal if between us all we purchased say 20 pairs of Tact 6's (sportac's) or an equivalent model??

Just an idea  Smiley
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #13 - Sep 3rd, 2010 at 10:08pm
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I tried ear-muffs but found them bulky and interfered with smooth shouldering of the rifle - are there 'low profile' muffs which don't stick out so much?

Because of the above I've tended to use ear plugs; these are also very handy in camp if your mate snores. Exclaim
  
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Photoguy1510
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #14 - Sep 9th, 2010 at 11:30am
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Not sure if you guys are aware but to protect yourself from hearing damage neither plugs or earmuffs are good enough for total protection.

The best earmufs will cancel max of 35Db and the best earplugs will cancel 32DB the only, the way to prevent damage is to use plugs and muffs at the same time. Most centre fire rifles are just too loud damage occurs at 80Db and above the noise from your lawn mower is 120Db so a set  of the best muffs is still 5 Db canceling short. Now imagine how short the protection falls with a gunshot.

A set og H4 earmufs (these are available in low profile) and a set of $2 ear plugs will give you full hearing protecton.

Custon earplugs can be made at bay audiology, no idea of the cost tough.

And for what it is worth Im picking up my firs set of hearing aids in the morning, Im a grand 33 years old. I was way to smart  and cool to wear earmuffs when I was younger, now I get to wear cool looking hearing aids.  Cry  smart of me hope its cool to have hearing aids.



  
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