Friday, November 16, 2012

A Few Words About Hearing Protection..

NC SILENCER welcomes the contribution of guest writer, John O'Connor - a fellow blogger who shares a common interest in hearing protection and the prevention of hearing loss:

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!

Hunting and Hearing Loss
One of the most popular sports among a wide variety of individuals, hunting is a
sport in which improvements in equipment are constantly being made. Of course,
although many individuals don't think about it, protection to prevent hearing loss is
one of the most important pieces of equipment that a hunter can purchase. Without
proper hearing protection, hunting can be a potentially dangerous sport for one's
ears. Not only should the shooter wear hearing protection, but those in close range
should also protect their ears.

I grew up in a family of hunters. As a child I can remember early every Saturday
morning my father and my uncles packing up their gear and headed out into the
woods. When I was old enough I too began to head out on these trips with them.
Looking back on these excursions, not much emphasis was placed on hearing
protection. My father who is much older now, is severely affected by hearing loss.
He still gets out to the range but always has his  hearing aids in and his hearing
protection ready to go. While hearing damage can take a long time to show up,
hearing protection is one of the best investments that can be made.

The Effects of Firearms on Your Hearing:
Everyone knows that firearms are loud, but what many don't think about is how they
can affect hearing. The effects of firearms on hearing can actually be profound.
 For example, speech has a sound of about 60dB. In comparison, a typical shotgun has a
sound level of about 145-160dB. If the ears are exposed to such a loud sound for
long periods of time, hearing damage can incur.

Steps to Protect Your Hearing:
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure that your ears are well protected
when hunting.

Stay Away From Enclosed Areas: While it may be tempting to visit an indoor
shooting range, the confined space and loud sounds can potentially be very
damaging to hearing. If you do choose to go to an indoor range, make sure you
have proper hearing protection with you and that the time spent inside the range is

Wear Earplugs: One of the easiest ways to protect your hearing when hunting is to
wear earplugs. Fortunately, there are a wide array of earplugs available. In order to
find the right earplugs, simply read the package to find out the level of auditory
defense that the earplugs can offer. If you don't like earplugs, there are also a few
alternatives available.

Try Earmuffs: Earmuffs are often an excellent choice for hunters as they are
comfortable, affordable, and offer fantastic protection against loud sounds. Some
hunters even like to combine earmuffs and earplugs in order to ensure that their ears
are as well protected as possible. Depending on a hunter's budget, there are a wide
variety of earmuffs available ranging from earmuffs with foam padding to those with
liquid cushioning, or perhaps the best option, electronic earmuffs. Electronic
earmuffs are technologically advanced so that hunters can still communicate with
one another while effectively protecting their ears.

Equip your guns with suppressors: While earmuffs and earplugs are arguably the
most readily available (and cheapest) forms of heating protection, even the best
muffs and plugs can’t compete with a high performance firearm suppressor. A lot of
hunters practice with 22 caliber rimfire firearms. And unfortunately, many people
mistakingly think that a 22 rimfire gunshot is “safe” for the ears. The fact is, most
rimfire guns meter 140dB to over 150dB depending on the type of gun and ammo. A
quality 22LR suppressor will reduce the dB level by over 40 dB in some cases.
That’s a drastic change in sound pressure level and brings the damaging blast of the
gunshot to a truly safe level.

While hunting is fun and enjoyable, it's important to make sure that hearing is
protected while participating in the sport. Considered one of the most important
senses, having hearing damage can have many different effects on one's life. That
being said, following the above steps can put you on the track to successfully
protecting your hearing.

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