Did you know at Pinnacle Hearing we fit custom hearing protection for hunters? These molds are water resistant and allow you to hear voices while blocking out loud noises.
Hunters are more likely to develop hearing loss than those who do not. They tend to have high-frequency permanent hearing loss, which means that they may have trouble hearing speech sounds like "s", "th", "v" and other high-pitched sounds. The left ear (in right-handed shooters) often suffers more damage than the right ear because it is closer to and directly in line with the muzzle of the firearm. Also, the right ear is partially protected by head shadow. People with high-frequency hearing loss may say that they can hear what is said but that it is not clear and they may accuse others of mumbling. They may not get their hearing tested because they don't think they have a problem. They may also have ringing in their ears, called tinnitus. The ringing, like hearing loss, can be permanent.
The good news is that hunters can prevent hearing loss by using appropriate hearing protective devices such as earmuffs or earplugs. While some devices do limit what a person can hear, there are many products that allow shooters to hear softer sounds while still protecting them from loud sounds like firearm noise.
Two types of hearing protection devices designed for shooting sports are electronic and nonlinear. Electronic devices make softer sounds louder, but shut off when there is a loud noise. The device then becomes hearing protection. The styles include earmuffs, custom-made in-the-ear devices, one-size-fits-all plugs, and behind-the-ear devices.
Nonlinear hearing protection devices are not electronic and are designed to allow soft and moderate sounds to pass through, while still reducing loud sounds. Nonlinear HPDs can be either earplugs that are inserted into the ear or custom-made earmolds. Nonlinear HPDs that have filters are the best choice; they are better than those that use mechanical valves. This is because the valves may not close fast enough to protect hearing from loud noise.
How Hunters Can Protect Their Hearing
- Always use some type of hearing protection anytime you fire a gun.
- Always have disposable hearing protection handy and make them part of your gear.
- Double-protect your ears such as putting muffs over plugs when shooting big-bore firearms.
- Choose smaller caliber firearms for target practice and hunting.
- Choose single-shot firearms instead of lever action, pump or semi-automatic guns.
- Avoid shooting in groups or in reverberant environments.
- Use electronic or nonlinear HPDs for hunting.
There is no question that part of the pleasure of hunting is spending time outdoors and hearing the various sounds of nature. The good news is that if you protect your hearing now, you’ll be able to enjoy those sounds of nature for years to come.