5112134_xxl

Hunting and Hearing Loss

Hunting and shooting are one of the most popular past-times for men in America. But, shooting any type of firearm without the proper hearing protection can result in severe damage to your hearing, whether temporary or permanent.

A study by the University of Wisconsin found that men aged 48 to 92 who hunted regularly were more likely to experience high-frequency hearing loss, a risk that increased seven percent for every five years a man had been hunting.

But what’s really alarming is that of the 3,753 study participants (83 percent of whom were eligible), “38 percent of the target shooters and 95 percent of the hunters reported never wearing hearing protection while shooting in the past year.”

One shot from a gun can range from 140 to 190 decibels, and can cause immediate damage to one’s hearing.

Avid hunter and writer for Outdoor News, Kristen Monroe, can attest to just how damaging a single shot can be; she’s ruptured her ear drum a couple of times. “I don’t think they all know that it really only takes one shot at the right angle to ruin your hearing and cause permanent ringing,” Monroe said of why hunters often overlook hearing protection. Monroe herself used to avoid using hearing protection because it got in the way while shooting, but said that since using SoundGear, she’s not only been able to protect her hearing but also not worry about the devices getting in the way while shooting.

So beyond the obvious use of hearing protection (a must if shooting any time of firearm), what are some tips to help protect your hearing while out hunting or shooting?

Silence That Shot!

Unless it’s illegal in your state, consider using a gun suppressor—or silencer—to help reduce the volume of a gunshot. Silencers offer some relief for your ears by helping to stabilize the loud propellant gases firearms produce when fired. It should be noted, however, that not all states allow silencers and that silencers don’t mean hearing protection can be avoided.

Take A Break

Even with the best hearing protection, long-term exposure to firearms can cause temporary or permanent damage. It may not be obvious at first, but any exposure to dangerous sounds can result in hearing damage. Over time, as the damage builds up, your hearing will decline. Consider taking breaks between rounds to help give  your ears a chance to decompress. SoundGear helps reduce sounds above 95dB while enhancing conversational and natural sounds, so even when you take a break from shooting, you don’t have to take your hearing protection out. This ensures that if someone else decides to keep shooting nearby your ears don’t get hurt in the process!

Keep Them On or In!

Just because you aren’t shooting, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be wearing hearing protection. If you are out hunting with a group or standing to wait your turn at a shooting range, keep your hearing protection on or in your ears. You may not be shooting but your ears are still being exposed to harmful levels of sound.

But I’m Using a Bow…

If you’re out hunting with a bow hearing protection may still be necessary. Often times, you aren’t the only one out hunting, and if someone close by is using a firearm, your ears are still susceptible to damage. This is one of the reasons why SoundGear is so great. Unlike other hearing protection products that muffle all sound, SoundGear only reduces sound 95dB and over. And because it amplifies other natural sounds, not only are you protecting your ears from nearby shots, you’re also giving yourself a better chance at hearing approaching game.

To best protect your hearing while hunting or shooting, check out SoundGear, digital hearing protection that enhances environmental sounds and decreases the dangerous high-decibel sounds. Learn more about SoundGear here.

Pacific-4672

Warning Signs of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is commonly referred to as an invisible health condition and early signs of hearing loss are often overlooked. Unlike other medical conditions, you can’t physically see the signs of hearing loss. Because the changes often occur gradually, it is quite common for individuals with hearing loss to find ways to cope and grow accustomed to reduced hearing acuity.

Family and friends are often the first to notice. In an article on CNN.com, audiologist Virginia Ramachandran explained, “People don’t always perceive that they need hearing aids, because hearing loss comes on gradually. Usually they are the last person to know. “

Recognizing Hearing Loss

The following questions can help identify common warning signs of hearing loss:

  • Do you have difficulty following conversations?
  • Do you ask others to repeat themselves?
  • Do you complain that people mumble or speak too fast?
  • It is difficult for you to hear and understand women and children?
  • Do you have ringing in your ears?
  • Do you have a favorite ear?
  • Do you have trouble hearing on the telephone?
  • Do you find yourself turning up the volume of your television?
  • Do others complain that you keep the volume of your television too loud?
  • Do you avoid noisy places?
  • Do you ever feel embarrassed about misunderstanding what others say to you?
  • Do you feel tired after listening in challenging environments?

Understanding Hearing Loss
Individuals with hearing loss have difficulty following conversations and understanding the voices of women and children. Most complain that people mumble or talk too fast. Hearing loss is often accompanied by tinnitus. A buildup of earwax, medication, exposure to loud sounds and hearing loss can all cause ringing in the ears, or tinnitus. The ringing might be constant or occasional, but it is often the first sign of hearing loss. Individuals with hearing loss may prefer one ear, reporting that they have a “good ear.” They may ask others to stand close to the better ear or speak directly into that ear. Those with hearing loss may even avoid challenging listening situations including conversations over the phone and noisy environments.

Treatment Options
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions listed here, schedule a complete hearing evaluation with a hearing professional at Pacific Audiology Center. Effective treatments are available for hearing loss! The most common way to address hearing loss is with hearing aids, but occasionally medication or surgery is needed. A hearing consultation with a professional is the best way to find out if you have hearing loss and what options are available if you do.

Take the next step to restore your hearing. Early detection has been proven to create better treatment outcomes.