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2/25/2019

Ear Protection for Hunters

Hunting and shooting are popular pastimes in the U.S. It’s estimated that over 13 million people engage in the activity each year. In Colorado, hunting is an almost $1 billion industry. When combined with fishing, it is estimated that recreational hunting in Colorado generates an astounding $2.8 billion dollars. It is also the second-largest tourism industry in the state, second only to skiing.

With hunting comes exposure to loud noises from gunshots. These periodic yet dangerous noise levels can potentially damage your hearing. To preserve this important sense, we’ve put together some top tips on ear protection for hunters.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss & Hunting

Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is a common form of hearing loss, and also preventable. NIHL can be the result of a one-time exposure to an intense “impulse” sound, such as an explosion or gunshot. Continuous exposure to loud sounds may also cause NIHL, such as those that hunters may be exposed to if on a shooting range.

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) notes that “long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for NIHL to happen.”

One shot from a firearm can range from 140-190 decibels. This volume of noise is loud enough to immediately cause hearing damage.

Ear Protection for Hunters

Wearing appropriate ear protection when hunting is important. Other ways to protect your ears include:

  1. Noise suppression: A firearm suppressor or silencer will help to reduce the volume of a gunshot, offering reduced risks to your hearing. Although the use of suppressors is illegal in Colorado, this ruling varies from state to state. We recommend checking state laws to see if the use of a suppressor is available to you.
  2. Take Short “Quiet” Breaks – Prolonged exposure to firearms can put your hearing at risk, even if you are using protection. Taking a short “quiet” break between rounds can reduce the risk to your hearing.
  3. Wear Ear Protection – Anytime you’re exposed to the dangerous noise volumes of gunshots, wear ear protection. Common forms of protection include ear plugs or ear muffs.

Can You Hunt If You Wear Hearing Aids?

Wearing a hearing aid doesn’t immediately mean you cannot also hunt. It can come with some challenges, though. Loud, rapid noises like gunshots could overload the microphone on the hearing aid, reducing their effectiveness. Noise-cancelling features on a hearing aid do not immediately mean that they will protect your hearing from gunfire. If you’d like to discuss whether your hearing aids are appropriate for hunting, come in to visit the team at Audiology Associates.

Protecting your ears when hunting will ensure you can continue to enjoy the hobby for years to come. If you’d like to explore further options to protecting your hearing, give us a call on (970) 352-2881 or click here to request an appointment online.

We are hearing experts.

Audiology Associates has provided hearing care since 1972. We offer general audiology services for all ages, with an emphasis in amplification and operative monitoring. Our practice is the oldest and most trusted audiology and hearing aid practice in Colorado.

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The purpose of this hearing assessment and/or demonstration is for hearing wellness to determine if the client(s) may benefit from using hearing aids. Products demonstrated may differ from products sold. Test conclusion may not be a medical diagnosis. The use of any hearing aid may not fully restore normal hearing and does not prevent future hearing loss. Testing is to evaluate your hearing wellness, which may include selling and fitting hearing aids. Hearing instruments may not meet the needs of all hearing-impaired individuals. One offer per customer. Insurance benefit, including Managed Care or federal reimbursements, cannot be combined with any of our promotional offers, coupons or discounts. Other terms may apply. See office for details.