For everybody who has decided to carry a concealed gun or keep a firearm for hunting, practicing and shooting should be a big part of their everyday life. And as all things in life, this part comes with a consequence - loud noise from shooting. Many folks have the opinion that they will take the chance and fire the occasional shot without worrying about what the effects might be. However, a loud noise on a continuous bases can affect your hearing in the long term or even permanently if you don’t protect your ears.
A thunder storm clap can reach 120 dB. A bullet starts anywhere from 140 dB and can go up to 190 dB. To put it otherwise. You risk permanent damage and hearing loss if you have a regular sustained exposure to noise levels of 90 dB and more. The threshold of pain from exposure to sound for humans stars at 125 dB. And that’s not even close to a bullet. The equivalent of a bullet firing is a jet engine sound 100 ft. from you.
This table shows it more graphically:
|Normal Conversation at 3-5 ft||60-70 dB|
|City Traffic Inside A Car||85 dB|
|Subway Train At 200 ft.||95 dB|
|Power Mower||107 dB|
|Power Saw||110 dB|
|Pneumatic Riveter At 4 ft.||125 dB|
|Jet Engine At 100 ft.||140 dB|
|Gunshots||140 dB - 190 dB|
|Loudest Sound That Can Occur||194 dB|
The louder the sound, the shorter amount of time it takes for hearing loss to happen. Imagine that firing 100+ rounds through your Glock is like exposing yourself repeatedly to a jet engine for a short period of milliseconds. That’s very damaging for the eardrum that receives the sound waves.
You may not even notice it from the beginning but there are some symptoms that you can look out for. They include:
- Hearing muffled sounds.
- Having difficulty distinguishing words when someone is talking to you.
- Having difficulty determining from which direction a sound is coming.
- A ringing or buzzing noise in your ears.
You have couple hearing protection options that reduce the noise. Most shooters simply use earplugs when shooting. They’re incredibly cheap, disposable, easy to put in and take out, fit easily in a pocket or bag, and they’re commonly seen as the most comfortable option.
Passive ear muffs provide shooters with comfortable ear protection and comfort as they have soft padding that fits over the ear. They also provide better protection from higher decibel levels than ear plugs do, but are of course generally more expensive than earplugs.
Electronic ear muffs are the most expensive option by far. They are considered by many as the best hearing protection for shooting. One of the biggest benefits is the sound regulating technology. It allows you to able to hear regularly while you use them. You can hear warnings, conversation and more very clearly, When a noise above a certain decibel level is detected, the earmuffs will automatically reduce the noise.
Every time you go shooting, even just for a little bit, you need to consider what the best hearing protection for you. You should always think also about the way you can protect yourself and your senses.