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