Hunters and Hearing Loss

Hunters and Hearing Loss

Matt DearingHearing Health, Hearing Loss

Do you look forward to hunting season all year, and spend some time at the shooting range every month? Hunting can be an enjoyable sport, but it could hurt your hearing. While hunting can be both fun and rewarding, don’t forget to protect your hearing this hunting season.

Ringing in The Ears

Have you taken the perfect shot, then immediately heard a ringing in your ears? Firearms can be extremely loud, and these loud sounds have a major impact on your ears. A gunshot going off right beside your ear creates a sound wave that puts a lot of force on your eardrum. The ear can’t handle the pressure of this sound, and the fluid-filled inner ear gets a shock.

After you’ve been shooting, you may feel like all the sounds around you are muffled, and you have a hard time hearing. You’re experiencing a temporary threshold shift, or a temporary hearing loss. With some luck, your ears will return to normal in a few minutes. However, when you expose your ears to these extremely loud sounds, there’s a risk that the hearing loss will be permanent. 

Shooters Ear

Hearing health specialists can usually tell if a person is a hunter. That’s because most hunters with hearing loss have shooters ear. You can tell if someone has been shooting because they have more pronounced hearing loss in one ear than the other. The shooting arm shoulder can shield that ear from some of the sound waves, so a hunter will have worse hearing loss in the opposite ear.

Understanding Decibels

It’s sometimes hard to know if sounds are loud enough to cause hearing loss. Any sounds over 85 decibels (dB) can cause hearing loss. For example, your lawnmower is around 90 dB, and a chainsaw is around 110 dB. A .22-caliber rifle can reach 140 dB, while a deer rifle can be up to 175 dB! At this volume, you can damage your hearing with just one shot. An afternoon at the shooting range can be even noisier than a day in the field, since more people are firing, and the sounds can bounce off the walls around you.

The Sound of a Gunshot Can Cause Hearing Loss

A gunshot at close range is an extremely loud noise. In fact, a single shot can permanently damage your hearing. You may notice that you can’t hear certain sounds, like the high-pitched sounds of children talking. A gunshot can also cause permanent tinnitus, that ringing or buzzing sound in your ears that won’t go away. Once the cells in the ear have been damaged there’s no going back. This noise induced hearing loss is permanent.

Protecting Your Hearing

That’s why it’s so important to protect your hearing. Whether you’re at the shooting range or out in the field, make sure you have the right hearing protection. At the shooting range you can wear earmuffs to block out the sound. Earmuffs create a seal around your entire ear, protecting your ears from the sound of your own gun as well as the other shots being fired around you.

Hearing Protection for Hunters

When you’re in the field you may not want to wear earmuffs. Earmuffs can muffle a lot of the sounds around you, making it harder to hear all the soft sounds that can help you track a deer. That’s where special hunters hearing protection can come in handy. Digital hearing aids can sense the sounds around you, and they won’t block safe sounds. You’ll be able to hear the sounds around you or talk to your friends without having to take out your ear plugs.

As soon as you fire a shot, the digital technology senses this loud noise, and instantly blocks the sound waves before they can damage your hearing. This also protects your ears when your friends fire, or there are other dangerously loud sounds around you. 

Hearing Aids for Hunters

If you’re worried you might have hearing loss, visit us for a hearing test. We have a number of hearing aids that are perfect for hunters. We can also help you find the right hearing protection to keep your ears safe this hunting season.