How to Protect Your Hearing While Hunting and Shooting

The world of wildlife hunting and sport shooting has never been more popular. While engaging in the thrill of the hunt while shooting black bears, or shooting at the firing range, you have a passion for handling firearms. But watch out – there is a very loud, and sometimes overlooked, hazard of shooting: it’s the noise of the guns being fired. Here are three things to protect your hearing from while hunting and shooting, and how to protect your hearing:

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Decibels

Decibels are units of noise pressure. It has been recommended by professionals that you not expose yourself to more than 80 decibels over more than 8 hours. For every 10 decibels over 80, you can hurt your ears, and the more decibels there are, the shorter it takes to hurt your ears.

For example, a jet plane takeoff from 50 feet away will almost instantly damage your hearing, while playing in the marching band over several hours will hurt your ears. A gunshot is between 150-160 decibels. This is plenty loud enough to hurt your ears over a very short period.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus, or any form of hearing damage, is caused when your cilia (antennae-like structures in your ears) are damaged. Cilia do not regenerate, so once you damage your hearing, it is permanently damaged. Tinnitus is a constant ringing in the ears that will require you to divert extra energy to hearing and can also cause you headaches and disorientation.

male having ear pain

Noise-Induced Hearing Damage

Noise-Induced Hearing Damage (NIHD) is caused when you are exposed to noise repetition over a series of years or months. Dentists usually suffer from this is they do not protect their hearing. This sort of damage has a higher-pitched ringing of the ears. On television, this is usually shown by a high-pitched ring and muffled voice when someone recovers from a single gunshot that has be fired near their ears. On television, they usually recover from it because there is a single gunshot; however, Noise-Induced Hearing Damage will have this effect be permanent.

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Types of Hearing Protection

There are two main types of hearing protection for hunters and shooters. One is earmuffs, and the other is earplugs. The key to finding the best hearing protection for hunting and shooting is to experiment with them both. They both have their merits.

Electronic Earmuffs

Electronic earmuffs have an electronic component and are used primarily in construction. They have a built-in microphone for communication. They also have a dial that can control the noise reduction.

Active Noise Reduction Earmuffs

These earmuffs use noise cancellation to drown out loud noises. The noise cancellation technology will drown out any loud noises through changing the noise’s frequency and wavelength.

goggles and earmuffs for shooting

Goggles and earmuffs for shooting

Earplugs

Earplugs are regarded by some as the best ear protection for shooting and hunting. The best hunting earplugs use passive noise reduction. This means that the earplugs will block out any sound above what the filter is set for; the sound simply won’t get through. 

The best shooting earplugs and best hunting earplugs are those that fit comfortably, don’t move around in your ears, and are shaped to fit your ear canal. You will be able to choose the noise filtering range, and they will not leave you with a clogged feeling to distract you while you are on the hunt.

Dual Protection

Of course, the absolute best ear protection for hunting and shooting is to use a combination of the earmuffs and earplugs. In a sport that is dangerous to your hearing, why settle for only halfway? The combination of the two will make you certain that your hearing will not be damaged when pursuing your sport.

Pursuing your passion of hunting and shooting can be dangerous. However, the best ear protection for hunting and shooting will eliminate the unnecessary danger of damaging your hearing. Please protect your ears. 

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