Shooter's Hearing Protection
Anyone who does not wear hearing protection while shooting a firearm can suffer hearing loss and/or tinnitus with as little as one shot. Many firearms create noise that is higher than 140 dB, with some pistols and big-bore rifles capable of noise as high as 175 dB.
Shooting typically results in a high-frequency hearing loss. Because many speech sounds are high-frequency in nature, people with hearing loss resulting from firearm use complain of being able to hear, but not understand speech. Unfortunately, the hearing loss and/or tinnitus (ringing in the ear) is generally permanent. Consistent hearing protection is key to preventing hearing loss resulting from shooting a firearm.
Various types of hearing protection are available to prevent hearing loss while shooting. Below are some popular options:
- Standard ear plugs + ear muffs offer double protection which may be necessary, depending on the caliber of the gun. If placed properly, these offer good protection, but may be uncomfortable in an ear canal that is narrow or curved. If the use wears glasses, the glasses temples may cause a slit leak
- Custom passive ear molds ´╗┐offer a more customized fit, preventing slit leaks which may allow sound through if standard ear plug is not inserted properly or deeply enough.
- Electronic muffs ´╗┐allow the shooter to hear conversation while blocking firearm sounds. Some users find them heavy and uncomfortable, or more prone to cause perspiration after long duration of use.
- Custom electronic shooter protection ´╗┐allow soft sounds through, while instantly cutting off for loud sounds above 90 dB. This allows the shooter to hear the flush of a bird, movement of an animal in the brush, and carry on a conversation during practice or out in the field. Because these are lightweight and custom-fitted to the user's ear, they are comfortable to wear for many hours. A quick, 10-15 minute appointment is necessary to take a precise ear impression so the final product offers the best fit as well as hearing protection.
´╗┐As Benjamin Franklin famously said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". Save yourself from permanent hearing loss by protecting your hearing while shooting, every time. Custom shooter protection by ESPAmerican and Westone are available at The Center for Audiology-Houston Galleria location, and at The Center for Audiology-Pearland location. Call 713-255-0035 for more information!