Originally Posted by Noreaster
I have fired handgun and long gun in SD situations and never heard the muzzle report and it didn't bother me afterwards,(no pain, no headache, no hearing loss that I can ID.) One time was a full magazine of 357 sig inside a very small room. I'm not saying nothing bad happened to my ears but I am not aware of any effects. I have used the same pistol to put down a deer hit by a car without ear protection and it hurt.
The point is that what you FEEL is irrelevant. First, lots of things damage hearing and don't "hurt", cause headaches or make your ears ring. Second, auditory exclusion causes you to ignore sounds irrelevant to survival at the moment. Third, it's not as if anyone would normally expect you to be stone cold deaf after such an incident. You may not have tinnitus from such an incident but you did damage to your hearing. There's no way around it. Sounds at those levels break the "hair" (stereocilia) in your ears. Any number of variables might affect how many are destroyed in any given incident but you can bet SOME were destroyed. If some are destroyed, your hearing is worse after than it was before.
This idea of "not noticing" or it " not hurting" or "my ears don't ring", needs to be forgotten. It's completely irrelevant.