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Hot Topic (More than 30 Replies) Hearing protection and Firearms (Read 29466 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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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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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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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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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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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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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #15 - Sep 11th, 2010 at 9:39pm
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When I first started game shooting wondering around with the shotgun I never wore any protection. Why ?? well all those old boys who got me into it didnt either.

After all a while i realised or their age they didnt hear that well. Three in particular great guys and sportsman. They had been brought up shooting from an early age hence the damage.

I soon started wearing protection... Roll Eyes
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #16 - Sep 18th, 2010 at 8:45am
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I've said this in another thread a while back, but I thought it would be relevant here. A couple of months back I went and got one of those free hearing tests from bay audiology just out of interest, as I thought my hearing was pretty shit hot. Turns out I already have moderate hearing damage in my left ear, and a small amount of loss of hearing in my right. This was a bit of a shock as a 20 year old  Angry
I've been shooting since the age of 8, and have only gone without earmuffs when hunting.. Shows how fragile ears are!

If I continue down the road I'm currently on, I'll probably end up along similar lines to some of the older guys on here. Now I always carry at least one set of plugs with me, and am seriously looking into grabbing a suppressor.. small investment in comparison to a 9 grand set of heaing aids!

I'd also reccommend taking one of those hearing tests too if you think your hearing's fine, chances are it will give you a bit of a surprise!
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #17 - Sep 21st, 2010 at 11:14am
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ProudKiwi wrote on Aug 30th, 2010 at 10:26pm:
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


I could help there, I work for PS / BPK.  Wink
Wouldent need to buy 20pairs either.
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #18 - Oct 4th, 2010 at 12:23am
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Has anyone tried the digital hearing enhancers? They block out gunfire etc but ampilfies low volume sound.
I see them here at Bass Pro...
http://www.basspro.com/Hunting-Hunting-Accessories-Listening-Devices/_/N-1z11cxl
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #19 - Oct 5th, 2010 at 1:52am
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I haven't but I know a Audiologist

Generally its the expensive hearing aids that have the VERY quick cicurts needed to shut down the noise of the shot - gunshots are a very quick sound pulse

Someone was making them in NZ - forgot who - just remember that they aren't cheap to get right
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #20 - Dec 6th, 2010 at 8:59am
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I've just chucked a gunworks suppressor on my 22-250 because it was louder than my friends 308. I now don't use earplugs when using suppressor but am wondering if maybe i should.

I get the odd loud shot out of the suppressor and can't work out what it is and have been having trouble with my ears/hearing (never good at the best of times)

Has anybody had any advice on suppressors and hearing protection? I'm hoping it's ok as it would defeat the purpose of owning a suppressor if i had to wear plugs as well.
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #21 - Dec 7th, 2010 at 12:00am
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I have slightly damaged ears from the army(to many machine gun blasts close to me and crappy ear plugs)

I alway where ear plugs hunting and muffs att the range.

for hunting they just dangle around me neck, whenI start stalking I put one in and put the second in when im about to fire, easy
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #22 - Dec 7th, 2010 at 12:07am
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Feather or Shoot wrote on Dec 6th, 2010 at 8:59am:
I've just chucked a gunworks suppressor on my 22-250 because it was louder than my friends 308. I now don't use earplugs when using suppressor but am wondering if maybe i should.

I get the odd loud shot out of the suppressor and can't work out what it is and have been having trouble with my ears/hearing (never good at the best of times)

Has anybody had any advice on suppressors and hearing protection? I'm hoping it's ok as it would defeat the purpose of owning a suppressor if i had to wear plugs as well.


I'd still wear plugs with a suppressor. Quieter than unsuppressed doesn't mean hearing-safe
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #23 - Dec 7th, 2010 at 2:46am
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gimp wrote on Dec 7th, 2010 at 12:07am:
Feather or Shoot wrote on Dec 6th, 2010 at 8:59am:
I've just chucked a gunworks suppressor on my 22-250 because it was louder than my friends 308. I now don't use earplugs when using suppressor but am wondering if maybe i should.

I get the odd loud shot out of the suppressor and can't work out what it is and have been having trouble with my ears/hearing (never good at the best of times)

Has anybody had any advice on suppressors and hearing protection? I'm hoping it's ok as it would defeat the purpose of owning a suppressor if i had to wear plugs as well.


I'd still wear plugs with a suppressor. Quieter than unsuppressed doesn't mean hearing-safe


I'm leaning that way myself. I'm going to miss hearing the echo of bunnies popping though....oh well.
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #24 - Mar 21st, 2011 at 2:50am
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Off-Topic replies have been moved to this Topic.
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #25 - Jan 26th, 2011 at 10:48am
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For 20 years I have been using Sonic Ear Valves  for hunting. I find them indispenseble when shooting Canadas' on organised culls. I use heavy loads(4 1/2 dram) and over 3 days at around 80 rounds a day(on average) and often in fast succession . I know I would be quite deaf by now without them.  They work by closing a small valve when hit by a sonic wave of high amplitude. They are not as effective as full muffs but are a good compramise. Silencio make these, as do North Industries. Hope this helps.
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #26 - Apr 14th, 2011 at 8:45pm
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Ive got some hearing loss in my right ear, the only cause we can come up with is firing rifles. It hasnt changed over the last 5 years, I get tested at work each year. Have been using plugs and muffs as much as possible. Had 2 magnums go off at virtually the same time on my last deer hunt tho, both with muzzle brakes. I had the ringing sound for over a week in both ears. Will be interesting to see how the next test goes.
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #27 - Apr 15th, 2011 at 4:41am
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I purchased a pair of electronic ear-plugs after I got a dose of tinnitus. Starkey Magnum-Ears, pricey but darn good so far. Maybe not so pricey when you compare it to the price of a couple of suppressors actually.

I'll give them a good workout on opening weekend of duckshooting, maybe write up a bit of a review one of these days.

  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #28 - May 11th, 2011 at 8:21am
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Now they sound like a good idea. how much? where from? ive been wearing ear plugs at work for nearly 20ys (cant stand ear muffs when sweating) and have been useing for zeroing last couple of years(better late than never) but wouldnt use them for hunting. i take these allow you to hear normaly untill the big bang or 9" grinder gets started?
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #29 - May 14th, 2011 at 11:58pm
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My ones are Starkey Magnum Ears - Silver (Digital) Model. To get the bad news out of the way first - my set was $1600 from Dilworth Hearing. To get the same set from Bay Audiology was even more. If you start looking into these electronic ear-plugs, you can get both cheaper and more expensive models. Cheaper tends to cut into the audio quality (apparently), more expensive starts putting more hearing aid functionality into the plug - allowing you to compensate for existing hearing loss as well as protecting your remaining hearing.

I don't have any real hearing loss, but found out the hard way that my ears are prone to Tinnitus (permanent ringing) from loud sound exposure. It doesn't bug me most of the time anymore, but I'm really keen that the ringing doesn't get any louder.

The plugs I have are custom molded for my ears, so are very comfortable. You don't get sweaty ears like with ear-muffs, and they don't interfere with your rifle/shotgun stock. Volume is adjustable, and sound quality is near perfect. You can wind the volume up far beyond your normal hearing level, but there are diminishing returns on this - the sound of your own movements starts to swamp the extra sensitivity. Turned up to normal hearing level (or maybe just a touch more) there's no problem.

The plugs cut out instantaneously when you fire, but come back on quick enough that you can hear the "BOOM" rolling away up the hills. Although I haven't used them enough to be sure, I think they'd come back on quick enough to hear the bullet impact for the times when thats audible. I tried them with an angle grinder after reading your post, but they don't really work well for continuous noise. The plugs continously cut out, come back, cut out etc.

I've had mine for a couple of months now, and I reckon they're worth the money I paid.

One other thing - Dilworth will give you a 3-month trial period after receiving your new plugs. If you don't like them, all you pay is the initial $75 consultation fee. I had a long phone conversation with a shotgun shooter and audiologist - he tells me that they've never had a set returned during the trial period. Tells you something.

Happy to answer anymore questions if anyone is interested. I had trouble finding anyone with real-life experience with them when I bought mine.
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #30 - May 15th, 2011 at 12:35am
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Thanks sounds like they would be ideal for hunting but no good for work could justify cost if they did. At that kind of money id be getting some new binos!
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #31 - May 19th, 2011 at 7:54am
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Yeah, probably not ideal for work. Mind you, you can just turn them off (volume switch on the side) whenever there's continuous noise - they work as standard earplugs then.

I bought good bino's first too.
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #32 - Aug 15th, 2011 at 11:55pm
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #33 - Dec 22nd, 2011 at 10:14pm
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I got a pair of moulded ear plugs made when I was doing audio engineering and playing in a few bands.

I think Bay Audiology took the mould (weird experience!) then sent them to Aus to be made.
http://www.gnresound.com.au/products/earmoulds

You can get different levels of attenuation, I think mine are 6dB but you can get 3, 6, 9 etc

They were about $150 with discount through school, but around $200-250.
They actually have a passage through the plug with a filter, so you can actually hear quite well with them in but it takes enough off really loud sounds to avoid bad hearing damage.

Might be worth a look if someone is after a cheaper option, although I don't think I'd take them hunting, they are good for the range.
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #34 - Jan 4th, 2012 at 10:13pm
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Last year I picked up a set of these: http://peltorcomms.3m.com/World/Product.asp?PageNumber=934&Product_Id=34&Product...

They are fantastic. The ability to connect it to your phone or mp3 player is great when you're working around the house or mowing the lawns. They can be connected to anything with a 3.5mm audio jack so you could also link them to a UHF walkie when hunting if you wanted and keep in touch with your hunting partners.

For shooting I also wear plugs underneath these, and they are great at cutting out the blast of shots, and making it easy to hear conversations going on around me all at the same time.

The other plus I've found is that my shooting improves no end when I'm wearing plugs and muffs too, definitely worth a look if anyone is in the market for multi use muffs.
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #35 - Mar 29th, 2012 at 8:10am
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I have since supressed the centrefire.

When sighting in, I still use plugs - but had to take a couple of shots without to test and I suspect the environment makes a huge difference... I was in a small 150 metre "hollow" and the crack was loud still, but the boom was gone. 

I remember at the Greymouth shoot we were shooting along an airstrip with forestry either side and the sound of the projectiles rocking down the line was surprising..
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #36 - Jul 16th, 2012 at 8:15am
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Having had a recent hearing test and identified with some hearing lost above normal expectations for age in my left ear (right hand shooter), I have come to the conclusion that my previous occupation in the NZ Airforce probably contributed to this?
After spenting around 7 yrs parachuting from Hercs and other turbo prop a/c out of 20 yrs in the RNZAF, I never wore ear plugs as they were generally impractical when wearing a helmet and shouting instructions to one another over the engine noise (64 odd other para's in the Herc). Never saw other para troopers wear anything either except the loadmaster/aircrew in my time as they communicated to each other via a headset.
Then again during war games firing small arms, it wasn't practical in the field.
So unfortunately the taxpayer is lumbered with my ACC claim for a hearing aid.
I now work with another ex Army fella who is quite deaf in both ears (he's not a hunter)from his 20 plus odd yrs firing all sorts of weapons. Though ear protection is worn on the range, during field exercises and the 'real' stuff on deployment, it cannot be always practical?
What's the answer to this? Is it just a casually of some jobs? Like other defence personnel back in the 80's, I never considered possible future hearing loss as part of being in the military.
Wearing ear protection whilst servicing a/c on the tarmac is one thing but jumping from them? Not sure?
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #37 - Jul 21st, 2012 at 4:46am
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Like most shooters I've got that eternal ringing in the ears, and have used ear muffs since my late 20's. When I was in the US a few years ago I got a set of these and find them better than ear muffs........when installed correctly.
Does anyone know if they are available in NZ??

http://www.earinc.com/p1-nonelectronic-instamold-rec.php
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #38 - Jul 21st, 2012 at 8:32pm
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I don't know about that exact brand, but the custom-mold earplugs are available - try Bay Audiology, Tolbecs etc.

I think about $70 a pair?
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #39 - Aug 27th, 2012 at 7:43am
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My brother in law will be moving to NZ next year. He's a hunter from Austria and also an specialist in digital hearing aids. He's agreed in principle to rig up a deal for forum members once his practice is opened.

Watch this space.
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #40 - Nov 1st, 2012 at 6:34am
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killwell sell earplugs hearing is normal pull the trigger 15 dec $44.awsome. Cool
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #41 - Mar 26th, 2013 at 10:55am
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reloader supplies have got some new ear muffs for shooting/hunting
they enhance hearing for deer in the bush and cancel out noise when you pull the trigger $229.00 I was thinking of getting some as I have a new rifle 300wsm with a break on it guaranteed to wreck your ears without hearing protection.I always wear earmuffs when firing off my 204 ruger or 308 and 8x68s the only rifle I don,t wear muffs for is my 22 with subsonics. maybe we could get a forum deal going with reloaders? I will ask them and see what they say and reply to this thread Huh
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #42 - Feb 3rd, 2014 at 10:22am
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excerpt from an email from me old mans best mate, a proud war veteran,  keen north american big game hunter and all around gun enthusiast, about the importance of hearing protection.  from a series of emails about barrel shortening and suppressor fitting:

"I'm an advocate of soft fitted ear plugs.  The type you squeeze roll between your fingers and then inserting deeply into your ear canal but letting enough of the plug base protrude so that you can remove it.  You know the kind (da-kine).  Why turn you rifle into a carbine?  Protect your hearing.  The most damaging gunshot report to hearing is the little .22 cal cartridge.  Why would anyone want to be deaf, eh?  Say that again, eh?  What?

You'd be surprised how much you can hear using ear plugs and when you take them out - wow! turn the volume down!  Let your brain make up the difference and protect the physical well being of your senses.  That includes machismo, and protection from being a DMF.   Hearing is precious.  Trust me.  I've lost too much while being employed by Uncle Sam - the price we pay, hey?

Hope this helps.  And…, don't forget eye protection."
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #43 - Feb 4th, 2014 at 12:22am
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My Dad was an international 7.62mm shot in the 70s and is deaf as a post. Now, some of this could be down to old age, but I reckon a large part of it I'd down to shooting hearing damage. I can say for sure that he gets really frustrated at missing out on what's going on. I for one don't want to end up that way (although domestic deafness can be of use). With that in mind, a plea to everyone to use a can or ear defence, esp young players. Don't skimp when buying either as hearing aides cost a fortune and you can't put a price on you hearing.

As an aside, I spoke to an audiologist a few years ago who told me that it's genetic - some suffer worse than others from the same noise. Furthermore, left ear hearing is far more likely to be damaged than the right. So, if (like me) you have stalked or hunted birds with defence in the right ear (as you are right handed, so the blast is nearer the right), it doesn't work.

Sound mods are not far off mandatory in UK for Health and Safety reasons and to decrease noise pollution. They are popular in NZ, but (I believe banned, or at least heavily restricted) in Aus. What's going on? How many assassinations were there in Aus in the last 10 years? Sorry, I had to bring it up. This should be fun.

  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #44 - Feb 4th, 2014 at 7:40am
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J wrote on Feb 4th, 2014 at 12:22am:
...
As an aside, I spoke to an audiologist a few years ago who told me that it's genetic - some suffer worse than others from the same noise. Furthermore, left ear hearing is far more likely to be damaged than the right. So, if (like me) you have stalked or hunted birds with defence in the right ear (as you are right handed, so the blast is nearer the right), it doesn't work.

..


There are big individual differences in susceptibility to damage from noise, both continuous and impulse noise like shooting. Genetics is certainly a major variable but not the only one. There are documented cases of people suffering significant and irreversible hearing loss from one session on the range. These were in the days before muzzle brakes came into fashion and made the situation dramatically worse.

BTW, shooters of long arms cop far more blast in the -opposite- ear due to the head shadow effect of leaning across the butt. Seen literally hundreds of them in my career, generally prior to fitting hearing aids.

ChrisHB  (audiologist)
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #45 - Feb 4th, 2014 at 1:55pm
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Thanks Chris. Is the left ear being more likely to be damaged than the right theory I heard correct? If so, why is that? Also, as an expert, what's your view on the need for ear defence when using a moderator? Cheers.
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #46 - Feb 4th, 2014 at 5:45pm
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I always wear ear plugs and sometimes when on the range ear plugs and muffs at the same time
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #47 - Feb 4th, 2014 at 6:15pm
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It's a consistent effect J- the contralateral (other side) ear  is more affected. It's the first question I ask if I find a high frequency notch worse on the left ear.

As for using protection with suppressors, I'd say you should err on the cautious side. A .223 with a good can is probably quite safe but a big boomer with a poor can almost certainly wouldn't be safe. I'll admit to using my suppressed .223 without any plugs on a regular basis and the 4kHz hearing in my left ear hasn't shifted.

One thing's for sure- guys who fire any std centrefire without protection will inevitably suffer hearing loss. They're way beyond the critical level for outer hair cell damage in the inner ear. Those who use brakes without protection can expect rapid damage and believe me, even the most exotic hearing aids don't come close to what you were born with.
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #48 - Feb 4th, 2014 at 6:57pm
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I've had tinnitus since March last year. Don't know if it was from sighting in my rifle or using mates nail gun to help neighbour over the road finish off building a fence. Either way it is a c*nt of a thing to have. It is quiet times like in a room with no noise or when going to sleep that it is noticeable. Had quiet a few sleepless nights to start with and would fall asleep in front of the telly in the early hours of the morning
Look after your ears
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #49 - Feb 4th, 2014 at 7:35pm
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I swim 1500m 5 days a week and use Speedo ear plugs to keep the water out of my ears , I discovered they work just as well in keeping sound out and now use them for lawn mowing and shooting , they are easily as effective as foam plugs , probably more so and are a lot more comfortable and reusable. I got mine for about $9 at a Rebel sports sale  http://www.rebelsport.co.nz/default.aspx?q=ear+plugs&submit.x=18&submit.y=18
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #50 - Feb 6th, 2014 at 7:25am
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Another thing that can be bad for your ears (not hearing per se) is a lot of swimming, esp in cool water.

This will eventually produce exostoses which are bulbous growths off the bony wall of the ear canal. These aren't so bad in themselves but if in an advanced state, can near block your ear canal and make clearing water out of ears very difficult and thus susceptible to chronic external ear infections. They can also make audiologists' lives hell if you end up needing hearing aids.

Wearing suitable ear plugs goes a long way to preventing these.
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #51 - Jun 15th, 2014 at 3:42am
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Yea hearing lose for keeps not worth it there seems to be culture among many people of not taking hearing loss very seriously. good to hear others on site not as stupid as them.
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #52 - Sep 8th, 2014 at 7:41pm
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I had a computer 'belch', so I guess my reply wasn't poste- least I don't see it.

I was shooting a Cold when I lived in Alaska, and one of my ear buds fell out, and I took a shot - my ear rang from that for hours. My military work had me in simple headphones quite often, and even that damaged my ears. I bought ear protection, not buds, for funning, to prevent that from happening again.

QUESTION for one who knows: 
How do elite soldiers handle this in the field, on mission? There's no way in Hades I'd be making my hearing one iota less acute while on operation of that kind.  Is the hearing loss simply an expectation? And they have some beautiful, covet-worthy 'loud' fire power. Insert drool cup, bib, and Scarlet Letter for my coveting nature. Smirk.
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #53 - Sep 8th, 2014 at 7:42pm
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LOL.  Shooting a COLT, not a cold.....geez, sorry.
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #54 - Jan 2nd, 2015 at 5:17am
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ChrisHB wrote on Feb 6th, 2014 at 7:25am:
Another thing that can be bad for your ears (not hearing per se) is a lot of swimming, esp in cool water.

This will eventually produce exostoses which are bulbous growths off the bony wall of the ear canal. These aren't so bad in themselves but if in an advanced state, can near block your ear canal and make clearing water out of ears very difficult and thus susceptible to chronic external ear infections. They can also make audiologists' lives hell if you end up needing hearing aids.

Wearing suitable ear plugs goes a long way to preventing these.


Yeah, those growths can be a bitch.  The drill bit type clearance op is not too fun I'm told - as a construction diver I'm in one of those professions prone to them as well as being one of the noisiest working environments you can get due to the velocity of sound through water.  Up to around 25m I'm wearing disposable earplugs in the enclosed helmets, they function perfectly fine which they are not meant to do under pressure (or so the experts tell me).

What I've found through trial and error, is that I exclusively use the orange 3m type earplugs if I can as everything else is crap in comparison.  If the 3m ones are fitted correctly they can offer performance far in excess of the rated reduction level (for me anyway), and it's noticeable how much better they are than even the good Peltor Grade 6 earmuffs. 

That is my experience so far, and through construction diving, flying, work around extremely loud machinery including fans and blowers (high pressure air being released is one of the loudest sounds in industry) AND shooting for military and recreation - my hearing curve is remarkably flat and slightly lower on the right than the left which has been partially put down to driving trucks with the window down...

Take it for what it's worth and YMMV but those little 3m orange foam earplugs are a go-to for me now.

  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #55 - Dec 25th, 2015 at 12:06pm
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Too late for me....i am 65 years old and was avid upland bird hunter from age 11 to about age 30.......fired untold shotgun rounds.  Job and family curtailed  my hunting for a while but i still enjoyed the membership of both a sporting clay club and a rifle club where hearing and eye protection is mandatory......strictly enforced.  My hearing is damaged  and i talk loud and irritate people by forever requiring them to repeat themselves.  If you are young.....PROTECT YOUR HEARING.

P.S. fired 2 rifle shots monday at dusk killing 2 whitetail doe.  My ears rang for 2 days.  I am going to purchase some kind of electronic ear muffs for both clays and hunting
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #56 - Feb 19th, 2016 at 11:12pm
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Great subject - I have written a couple of articles that may be of interest...

http://precisionshooter.co.nz/shooting-and-hearing-damage/
http://precisionshooter.co.nz/hearing-protection-choices/

Just finishing off the third part focusing on my custom molded earplugs.

Thankfully, I learnt early on in life that hearing protection was mandatory. I was working in nightclubs in the weekends and studios during the day - as a mastering engineer it is basically your hearing that makes you money - so there was no way I could let that get damaged!

  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #57 - Feb 20th, 2016 at 6:10am
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How do these compare to a set of moulded earplugs? or even electronic earmuffs.

http://www.etymotic.com/consumer/hearing-protection/gsp15.html
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #58 - Aug 19th, 2016 at 12:23am
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I use Sordin Pro Ear Electronic Duffs/Muffs(?!) which are an extremely expensive (and overpriced) option that allows you to hear but will block out the sound of a gun shot. The audio is pretty good (but kinda Mono/flat sounding - don't expect Beats by Dre of Bose quality!!!) and you do lose a bit of awareness but overall they are pretty good for open terrain. I haven't field tested them in the thick bush yet but I have a funny feeling they'll get snagged off on a branch if I'm not too careful and will probably get hot... Custom electronic ear buds would be the best option IMO but those are super *expensive*!!!! I think $1000 AUD and up maybe?!

Military Arms Channel does a pretty good review on electronic hearing protection including the MSA Sordin that I have;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IL8InVDHkY

  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #59 - Aug 19th, 2016 at 12:27am
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These are the high end of electronic ear pro - custom made ear buds;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JadliBraDTo
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #60 - Sep 25th, 2016 at 4:14pm
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very interesting and some good reading there, would also be keen  if we were to do a bulk order to get them at a lower price, ear plugs with a cord to tie onto scope would be good
  

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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #61 - Dec 7th, 2016 at 3:42pm
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i have been building pro sound equipment most of my working life and trust me hearing protection while shooting is a must. a firearm has a sharp attack and slow decay type of waveform so its like your eardrum is being quickly compressed and then slowly released. its more than a question of dB its the way the eardrum is shocked. this is why people who play the violin will go deaf quicker than people who play the piano harp etc. the eardrum responds well to nice sounds that let it move in and out in a smooth motion and firearms dont do this.
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #62 - Dec 7th, 2016 at 8:05pm
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Onset/decay asymmetry is actually an irrelevant variable in damage/risk criteria. It is simply the peak SPL when it comes to small arms damage and obviously the number of repetitions that determine the risk of hearing loss.

The middle ear (including eardrum) isn't at issue- it's the sound energy reaching the cochlea that matters.
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #63 - Dec 18th, 2016 at 11:24am
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Over here in the UK pretty much everyone now wears hearing protection.  On the range it is compulsory.  Only exception is when out hunting using a sound moderator.   It is true, a single rifle shot can permanently damage your hearing.  It is not big or clever not to use hearing protection.  Try Peltor Sportac ear defenders. Excellent
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #64 - Nov 13th, 2017 at 7:40pm
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I wear Peltor sport tac earmuffs when hunting (always bush). They are really comfortable to wear. They have an amplification level of up to 11% but when hunting I use about 8% as you get wind noise above that, No bastard can get near me without me hearing them coming and no deer gets away as I heard them first. They cut any sound over 50 decibles like gun shots.
  
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Re: Hearing protection and Firearms
Reply #65 - yesterday at 6:07am
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50 decibels is actually a soft speech level. 11% loudness increase is about 2dB and barely discernible, and if you're talking sound pressure level or even intensity, 11% is still bugger-all.

The peak SPL values we're talking with firearms start to really matter over 140 peak SPL with big bangers/brakes often producing over 170dB, ie instantaneous permanent damage to hearing.

  
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