I have fired or been present when someone else fired short-barreled (3" or less) .357 Magnum revolvers on at least three separate occasions in which I was not wearing hearing protection and two occasions in low light. While my ears rang and the flash was noticeable, I did not find it disorienting and I could still see just fine and hear normal conversation afterward. The loadings and guns were as follows: Winchester 110gr JHP from a Taurus M66 3" barrel, Remington 125gr JSP from a Ruger SP101 with a 2 1/4" barrel, and Cor-Bon 140gr JHP from a S&W M66 with a 2 1/2" barrel.
It has been my observation that .357 Magnum loadings with heavier bullets do not seem to have as sharp a pitch to the report and don't seem to have as pronounced muzzle flash. My personal .357 Magnum loading of choice is Remington 158gr JHP, but I wouldn't hesitate to use Winchester 145gr Silvertips or Cor-Bon 140gr JHP either.
It is worthy of mention, however, that different people perceive things differently. While I don't find the flash or blast of a .357 Magnum to be particularly offensive, many other people describe it much like being struck by the wrath of God. The only way to really know how it will affect you is to fire a short barrel .357 Magnum yourself and make up your mind based on that experience.
Smith, and Wesson, and Me. -H. Callahan
Well waddaya know, one buwwet weft! -E. Fudd
All bad precedents begin as justifiable measures. -J. Caesar