Hi my name is John O'Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. Over the past few years I have become more and more interested in hearing loss. My father and grandfathers, who are and were all hunters, are affected by hearing loss. I feel that there is a general lack of understanding around the issue and it is our job to spread awareness where we can. Check out my new blog at bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com!
How Hunting Can Affect Your Hearing Loss
Every year, I looked forward to hunting season. It was a chance for my dad and I to get to spend time together and have fun in the process. I come from a fairly large family, so it was difficult to find time to spend with my dad.
We had the right guns, plenty of ammunition and a few high-tech gadgets. However, we didn't have anything to protect our hearing. It is so simple to forget hearing protection, but hunters frequently make that mistake.
Now, I'm an adult and my dad is in his twilight years. He now wears hearing aids because of the many years of hunting. His doctor said his hearing loss isn't entirely contributed to hunting, but if he would have worn ear protection, he may still have a good sense of hearing today.
The Hidden Dangers of Firearms
Not many people know how loud guns are when they are fired. An average person speaks around 50 decibels (DB). A decibel is a unit that measures the loudness of sound. A shotgun produces a decibel level of 166. Moreover, guns are shot very close to your ear. The pressure from the gun alone could cause some damage.
Additionally, many people like to practice their aim at indoor shooting ranges. I would not recommend doing this without proper hearing protection. The indoor environment amplifies the sound of gunshots and bounces the sound off the walls multiple times before dissipating.
Earplugs are the standard choice for hearing protection. They are inexpensive and provide a decent amount of protection against loud gunshots. Many people also use them for events like concerts and NASCAR races. They are typically made out of foam to provide comfort in your ears. There are other items that provide more protection, such as earmuffs.
Earmuffs fit all the way over your ears. The lining that rests on your ears is usually made out of a foam material, but high-quality earmuffs may use a liquid lining for better comfort and protection. Some hunters don't like earmuffs because they cancel too much sound. A great alternative to earmuffs is electronic earmuffs.
Serious hunters invest in a pair of electronic earmuffs. They are very comfortable, provide excellent protection, and amplify low sounds while cancelling out loud sounds. Typically, any sound over 90 DB is cancelled out. This allows the wearer to still hear people around him.
It is time we start recognizing the need to protect our hearing. Once it is gone, it is very hard to get back. If your hobbies expose you to loud sounds, you should take the proper actions in protecting your hearing.