Loud Guns and Hearing Loss, Don't Forget to Protect Yourself
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A rifle has an extremely loud single burst of sound and if you’re firing hundreds of rounds, it can be very damaging, particularly without hearing protection.”
Generally, all loud noises have the potential to do damage. The length of exposure and the loudness of the noise determine the amount of damage and the severity. First, it’s important to understand how loud can produce damage? According to studies done by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), if you’re consistently exposed to noise louder than 85 decibels, you’re likely to develop noise-induced hearing loss.
Decibels are measured logarithmically, so an increase in 10 decibels is 10 times louder. According to researchers in The Laryngoscope, one in five people are exposed to loud sounds outside of work and 62% of them do not use hearing protection. With firearms, researchers found that one in five people who shot more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition in the past years never used hearing protection.
Also, a consistent exposure over 95 decibels should take precautions to protect your hearing and noises over 140 decibels can cause permanent damage even in short exposure. Anything over 120 decibels, for example, can cause hearing damage in seconds.
Fortunately, hearing loss can be prevented, with the consistent and correct use of hearing protection devices. The electronic ear muffs and ear plug options can solve many problems related to conventional hearing protection. However doubling up by wearing earplugs and earmuffs provides the maximum level of protection.
Ear plugs and ear muffs make life a little easier, and it’s not necessary for you to spend hundreds of dollars to protect your hearing. Whether you are a spectator or shooter, you can go for affordable options in the market, so there’s no excuse for not wearing ear protection every time you go shooting. And, if exposed, hearing testing should be scheduled within days to determine if other evaluation or treatment is needed.