According to OSHA, sounds over 85 decibels (dB) can cause permanent hearing loss with eight hours or more of exposure. This is about the volume of passing highway traffic. A single shot from a firearm clocks in at a whopping 140 to 190 dB – loud enough to cause immediate damage to the auditory system. This is why it’s important to take measures to protect your hearing when hunting near Lake Tawakoni.
What the Studies Show
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin conducted a study of 3,753 men ages 48 to 92. Those who hunted regularly were found to have a much higher risk of high-frequency hearing loss compared to those who didn’t. This risk increased seven percent for every five years a man had been hunting. Even more alarming, the researchers found that 38% of target shooters and 95% of hunters reported never wearing hearing protection over the previous year.
How Hunting Impacts Hearing
Those with high-frequency hearing loss typically have the most difficulty hearing consonant sounds, like the difference between “s,” “th” and “v.” They also have more trouble hearing the voices of women and children. Many people with high-frequency hearing loss report that they can hear but not understand what is said.
For right-handed shooters, the left ear tends to suffer more damage than the right since it is closer to and aligned with the muzzle, and because the right ear is partially protected by head shadow.
Hearing Protection Tips for Hunters
- Always wear hearing protection. Whether you’re wearing earplugs or earmuffs, be sure to wear them at all times when hunting. Even if you’re not about to shoot, someone else near you might be.
- Consider investing in hunter’s plugs. Hunter’s plugs block dangerously loud sounds, like that of a gunshot, while allowing safe sounds through clearly, like the sound of your hunting partner’s voice.
- Choose smaller caliber firearms. Shooting the smallest caliber firearm that is still effective for your purposes will save your ears from unnecessary noise exposure.
- Check if silencers are legal where you are hunting. If they are, using one may save your ears some damage. You should still wear hearing protection even if you are using a silencer.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Total Hearing Care today.