Hunting and Hearing Loss

Hunting and Hearing Loss: Protect Your Ears this Hunting Season

Living in New York is exciting no matter the time of year. In this beautiful state we seem to have a bit of everything, and have something for everyone, no matter the season. One of the most popular past times we can participate in is shooting and hunting. However, the noise from a gunshot can damage your ears and can even cause long term hearing damage and hearing loss. In fact, a study done at the University of Wisconsin revealed that the risk of hearing loss increases 7 percent for every five years a person hunts. Sadly the study also discovered that out of the 3,753 participants, 95 percent of hunters and 38 percent of shooter admitted that during the previous year they did not wear any hearing protection.

With hunting season right around the corner, it’s never too early to think about protecting your ears. Check out these important hunting and hearing loss tips that can help protect your precious ears this hunting season.

Use Protection

Every time you shoot or go out with other people who are shooting, make sure you wear a pair of earplugs or earmuffs to protect your sensitive ears. There are two types of protection available, passive noise protection and active hearing protection. Which one you choose is based on personal preference and price. But passive protection will muffle gunshots, as well as the sounds you want to hear. While active protection subdues the harmful noises, but still allows you to listen to the sounds of nature.

Alternate Arms

If you only shoot on one side of your body, you run a much higher risk of developing asymmetric hearing loss. Asymmetric hearing loss occurs when one ear is regularly exposed to loud noises at close range, while the other ear does not receive the same treatment. Even though you should always wear hearing protection when you are out shooting, alternating between your left and right side will expose both ears to similar noise settings.

Take Breaks

Even if you are taking the proper precautions by wearing ear protection and alternating your arms, it is imperative that you take regular breaks. Despite the level of protection your earmuffs give you, hearing loss can happen slowly over time, even when it isn’t evident at first. Long-term exposure to any loud sounds can cause temporary or permanent hearing damage. To help give your ears some time to rest, take a break in between each round. Just remember, if there are other shooters nearby, keep your hearing protection on to protect your ears.

Stay Silent

When possible, use a silencer or a gun suppressor on your firearm to reduce the volume of your shot. By using a silencer, if it is legal in your state, you can help give your ears some relief from your guns thunderous shot. However, it is important to keep in mind, while the silencer can help stabilize the loud, propellant gases that are produced when fired, using a gun suppressor does not mean that wearing ear protection is no longer necessary.

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