Now I always wearing electronic hearing protection when hunting or shooting. I know that one time without doing so, can permanently damage your hearing. Make sure your hearing protection is properly sealed - earplugs or muffs - either the regular or electronic types. When hunting in the winter, its very easy for a stocking cap on your head to interfere with a proper seal of electronic ear muffs. (I know from experience.) Best to check and make sure youre good to go.
I own several electronic ear muffs. Theyre a good investment. They are quickly/easily accessible when I need them.
I try to use cartridges that lessen muzzle blast. My favorite cartridges are the 45 Colt and 44 Special in handguns (prefer 4" - 5 1/2" barrels). - - The 45 Colt produces half the sound energy as the 357 Magnum. I also generally shy away from ported guns or very short barrels. - - Sometimes a situation may quickly develop where youre unable to put in your hearing protection. You may be in an emergency where you need to shoot now. I'd rather not set off an ear blaster if at all possible.
Trying to be very careful about protecting the hearing now. Can't really hunt too well if you can't hear. Would also be at a distinct disadvantage in a self or family defense situation if you couldnt hear. - - -