Noise-Induced Hearing Loss and Custom Hearing Protection

What is noise induced hearing loss?

According to The National Institute of Health, or 26 million, of adults between 20 and 69 years of age have damaged their hearing from exposure to noise. Could your hearing be next? Read on to learn more about noise-induced hearing loss.

Noise-related hearing loss (NIHL) permanently compromises the ear's small hair cells, which carry sounds to the brain. These hair cells can't be replaced. Damaged hair cells can not send electrical signals to the brain which will hinder hearing. The hair cells can suffer from extreme and brief noises— such as an adjacent gunshot — and from frequent or prolonged exposure to loud sounds, such as construction equipment.

Any sound above about 85 decibels can cause loss of hearing, though it depends on how long and how often a person is subjected. Exposure to 85 decibels would take 8 hours to damage the ears. with an only 6 decibel increase, you’d need to cut that exposure time down to 2 hours! The window of time allowed decreases exponentially the louder the sound.

Decibels Examples

What are the effects?

Even a mild hearing loss may have serious negative consequences for other areas of life. People with high-frequency hearing loss may argue they can hear what's being said but not be able to understand it, and may criticise other people for mumbling. They may have tinnitus ringing in their ears too. The ringing can be irreversible, as is the hearing loss.

This hearing loss can have profound effects on the quality of social interactions of the sufferer, and can make them less social overall. As hunting journalist Bryce M. Towlsey writes in the NRA magazine American Hunter: “People think we old hunters and shooters are anti-social … mostly we just can’t hear.”

Why are hunters particularly at risk?

According to a study cited in The Women in the Outdoors journal, published by the National Wild Turkey Federation, almost half of all recreational shooters struggle with hearing loss.

A gunshot's noise level well surpasses the levels of noise at which permanent hearing loss can arise, even from a single event. Noise exposure higher than 140 dB can cause permanent hearing damage. Consider, that nearly all weapons make noise that is above 140-dB. A small.22-caliber rifle can generate about 140 dB of noise, whereas large-bore rifles and handguns can output more than 175 dB. While one shot can indeed escalate to immediate hearing loss, hearing loss develops more often than not from prolonged exposure to loud noise bursts.

Recreational shooters tend to experience irreversible loss of hearing at high frequencies, meaning they may have trouble spotting speech sounds like "s," "th," or "v" and other high-pitched sounds. The left ear is frequently more damaged than the right ear because it is closest to the firearm's muzzle, and immediately in line with it.

Question Mark

Protect yourself

The great news is that hearing loss caused by noise is avoidable. Donning hearing protection still lets you hear soft noises, while avoiding noise harm to your ears.

Protection of hearing is especially important when using firearms. The right hunter hearing protection can be considered equally important to your gun and hunting gear. Hunters could even wear hearing protection around their neck while in the woods and put them just before shooting.

That is not for your own gain alone. Hunters can lead by example by wearing hearing protection while hunting with family and friends. This shows kids or grandparents that wearing hearing protection is the same as wearing a helmet while riding a bike. Make a concerted effort to provide hearing protection to all shooters and spectators while shooting and hunting.

There is even specialized protection for hunting. This offers hunters an improvement in hearing quiet noises combined with automatic noise suppression. It uses transparent compression triggered by sound to allow immediate elimination of any noise above 93 dB.

What we offer at A Better Hearing Center

Their ears are one of your most important tools. In noise, you cause significant damage to your hearing sooner than you think. This explains why you cannot begin wearing hearing protection soon enough.

We sell a wide array of hearing protection devices. You'll find protection for every situation, not just for hunting! We provide hearing protection for bars/clubs, driving, motorcycling, DIY, musicians, swimming and even sleeping.

Contact Us