Hearing Blog

Your source for all things related to Hearing & Deafness.

Hunting and Hearing Loss - What You Need to Know

Hunting and Hearing Loss - What You Need to Know - Hearing, Balance and Speech Center

When it comes to preserving our health, we often times forget that day to day life experiences and even hobbies or events can have a negative impact on our bodies if we’re not taking the proper precautions. The ways in which our decisions and jobs can affect our health are countless, but when we choose to take part in hobbies or pastimes that may have a severe impact on us, we have some choices to help be proactive and help protect our bodies and minds.

When it comes to preservering and taking care of our hearing, some may be surprised to know that we’re exposed to levels of noise daily that can negatively impact our hearing, causing us to become hearing impaired prematurely. One hobby or pastime that may go overlooked as having a severe impact on your hearing is hunting and other shooting-type sports. There’s no need to worry, you can take steps to properly protect your ears when it comes to hunting sports and hearing loss. We’ve put together a few great tips to help you protect your hearing while hunting.

The Risks of Hearing Loss When Hunting

Firearms are loud! Anyone who has experience with them understands that they make a loud noise when using, and if you’re the kind of person who enjoys heading to the shooting range, or going on long hunting trips, your exposure is going to be much higher than the occasional gun owner. It only takes 140 dB to inflict permanent hearing loss, and almost all firearms produce sound much greater than that. The good news is that protecting your hearing isn’t an impossible feat. Unfortunately it’s a scary fact to realize that roughly 38% of target shooters don’t utilize hearing protection while a shocking 95% of hunters have stated they don’t use any form of hearing protection either.

Hunters state that wearing hearing protection inhibits their ability to hear game, which is understandable, but the benefits of hearing protection while out hunting are exponential. The positive news here, is that hunters can utilize devices known as electronic or nonlinear HPDs (hearing protective devices). These devices can actually amplify softer sounds, while shutting off completely when loud sounds, such as gunshots are heard, protecting the wearer’s hearing even when game is noticed at the last minute.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the number one cause for hearing loss and impairment as we age. Much like people who attend loud concerts or work in construction, hearing loss and hunting go hand in hand. A single shot from a rifle or firearm commonly used for hunting can result in immediate and permanent hearing damage. That’s a pretty big risk to roll the dice on!

If hearing protective devices aren’t something you can see yourself wearing, there are some other ways you can help protect your hearing. If they’re legal where you reside, silencers or gun suppressors may be a great option to help reduce the impact to your hearing. Consider taking a break between firing rounds to help your ears decompress and normalize. This can help your body re-regulate how your ears process such a high volume of sound and may help preserve your hearing.

Protect Your Hearing

No matter the type of hunting you do, whether you’re a bow hunter or using firearms, protecting your hearing should be a top priority. Ensuring you can hunt for decades to come means considering the risk you might take when not utilizing the proper hearing protection.

If you have questions regarding hunting and hearing loss, or want to discuss hearing protection that is appropriate for you, get in touch with the hearing specialists at Hearing, Balance & Speech Center. Call us on 1-800-HEAR-IT-1 or book a consultation with us today.

Research / Sources

  1. http://www.huntingseasonhq.com/connecticut-hunting-seasons/
  2. https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Recreational-Firearm-Noise-Exposure/
  3. https://www.starkey.com/blog/2015/08/hunting-and-hearing-loss
  4. https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52621-New-study-shows-risk-of-hearing-loss-for-hunters