Hearing Protection While Shooting
Hearing protection should always be part of firearm safety. Shooters who regularly fire guns without adequate protection are at risk of experiencing hearing loss.
Firearm Decibel Range
A decibel (dB) is the measurement of the level or intensity of a sound. Normal human speech registers around 60 dB. A whisper ranges around 20(dB). Not all firearms produce the same decibel levels. For instance, a .22 caliber rifle will produce a noise level of approximately 140 decibels. A 44 revolver will raise the level to about 170 decibels. Most other firearms will fall somewhere between this range.All gunshots decibels surpass the safe level for human hearing.
Why Hearing Protection is Important
Protecting your hearing is basic gun safety. Sounds higher than 140 decibels can cause pain and ringing in the ears. They may also cause permanent hearing loss and damage. Prolonged exposure to any sound more than 85 decibels can potentially cause hearing loss.
Hearing protection is crucial when shooting firearms. If your ears start ringing while shooting, stop immediately and get to a quieter area. Ringing in your ears means that hearing damage may already have occurred.
Types of Hearing Protection
There are two primary types of hearing protection. Earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are considered better than earmuffs at reducing sound being placed directly into the ear, rather than over the ear. Both earplugs and earmuffs reduce between 15 to 32 decibels of noise. Wearing both earplugs and earmuffs significantly improves hearing protection.
Ear plugs are made out of a soft, compression foam. They are inexpensive and disposable. They fit into your ear canal and dampen sound. They do have some significant downsides. If you do not like things in your ears, you won’t like earplugs. Some people find them difficult to insert as they need to be rolled into a tight coil to insert them into your ears properly.
Ear muffs fit over the ear. They look like old style headphone. They are more expensive than ear plugs, but provides more protection as well. Good quality ear muffs block most sounds. Won’t be able to hold a conversation or realize how much noise you are making while wearing them.
Protecting Your Ears While Hunting
Most shooting ranges require ear protection. However when hunting, some people are more reluctant to use ear protection. Hunters that don’t opt for hearing protection often claim they can’t hear approaching game while wearing hearing protection. There are type of hearing protection that allow lower decibel sounds in while still protecting your ears from louder noises.
Wearing some sort form of hearing protection device is crucial when using firearms. It is far too easy to damage your hearing permanently.