Hunting season is here and Alexandria Otolaryngology Associates cares about your health and safety! While it’s habit to wear earmuffs at the gun range, being out in the woods is a bit of a different story. Many hunters fail to wear hearing protection, assuming one gunshot won’t cause much damage. But that turns out to be a big mistake.
Hearing specialists recommend wearing hearing protection for any sound over 85 decibels (dB). A few minutes at this volume is considered to be very dangerous to your hearing. Depending on the gun specifications, a single gunshot can range anywhere from 140 to 190 dB! However, no matter the specs, firearm noise is dangerously too loud and it only takes one unprotected ear to result in permanent hearing damage.
So how can you protect yourself?
Wear Hearing Protection: Whether it’s foam earplugs or high-tech protection, the most essential way to protect yourself against hearing loss is to wear hearing protection. Many hunters choose to not wear protection so they can listen for subtle sounds. If this is you, consider purchasing active or digital hearing protection, which still protects your ears from dangerous sounds but also allows for soft sounds to be heard.
Take Breaks: Even when you take proper precautions by wearing ear protection, it is very important to take regular breaks. Hearing loss can happen slowly over time, and long-term exposure to any loud sounds can cause serious hearing damage.
Investing in top-quality ear protection and taking regular breaks can be the difference between a safe hunting experience and a potentially harmful one. If you believe you’re experiencing changes in your hearing, please contact Alexandria Otolaryngology Associates today.