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Old July 24, 2012, 10:52 PM   #1
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Ever shot without ear protector?

As a general rule you would never shoot your firearm without hearing protection. In the military or the police on the street they can't wear hearing protection. I don't know how anyone in battle could not be deaf from repeat firing or being around bombs going off. Could you imagine if you had to pull the trigger in your house? It would not be something I would look forward to but what is the alternative? I remember shooting a round of .357 in a 6 inch barrel outside just to see and it made my ears ring. Just wanted to know if anyone has tried it or had reason to and how it felt to them.
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Old July 25, 2012, 12:11 AM   #2
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Yes. I know what to expect moving forward, but I regret it.


I was on jury duty back in the 80's with a guy who had been a crew chief on A-20's in WWII. I could clearly hear the judge speak through this old birds hearing aids better than I could hear the judge with my own ears...
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Old July 25, 2012, 12:22 AM   #3
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I have shot without ear protection and the ringing in my ears testifies to the damage.
Funny thing though, when I was hunting, I do not remember the gun going off.

I am sure there was some damage but the only time I ever noticed ringing was when target shooting...not hunting.

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Old July 25, 2012, 12:40 AM   #4
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I shot my .357 without ear protection a few years back. As I recall the ringing was intense. I couldn't imagine shooting it indoors.
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Old July 25, 2012, 04:01 AM   #5
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Old July 25, 2012, 04:13 AM   #6
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I've shot pistols several times indoors without hearing protection. Won't ever do it again. I remember too many shots eliminating any sort of normal hearing for about 24 hours. Reminded me of the time I went into shock and all my senses collapsed. Don't do it if you don't have to. I'd imagine in a life/death scenario that you might not even hear it go off.
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Old July 25, 2012, 06:19 AM   #7
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I have, but only when hunting and with only small rifles.
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Old July 25, 2012, 06:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by shaunpain
I'd imagine in a life/death scenario that you might not even hear it go off.
It's called auditory exclusion. In many cases you won't hear the gun because your body is shutting down functions that don't directly relate to your survival. The body does things to help you focus, time displacement, auditory exclusion, tunnel vision. It's all part of being human.
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Old July 25, 2012, 06:55 AM   #9
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I have fired guns without hearing protection, and I'm starting to think I may regret it.

One incident in particular with my brother-in-law's .357 Python when I was a teenager comes to ears rang for days.
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Old July 25, 2012, 07:00 AM   #10
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seems to me the smaller claibers are worse than the bigger 357 doesnt seem to nearly make my ears hurt as much as the 22 rifle does..i found that odd for some i just cover em both if possible
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Old July 25, 2012, 07:07 AM   #11
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I can remember older shooters telling me my ears would "toughen up" after awhile. I have shot quite a bit with no protection, which has caused tinitus, but not as bad a some. I always use protection, and always advocate for proper eye and ear protection. Go to any VFW and count the hearing aids.
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Old July 25, 2012, 07:25 AM   #12
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We used suppressed weapons and hearing protection.
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Old July 25, 2012, 07:50 AM   #13
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22LR, 22 shorts and even 22 magnums from a rifle - no problem.

I forgot to wear ear protection once while shooting my 10mm - 1 shot, and it hurt.
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Old July 25, 2012, 07:53 AM   #14
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Only a few times, with the first firearms I ever shot; specifically, a bolt-action .25.06, and a .22 single action revolver. This was in my very early teens. I noticed no ringing in my ears afterward. I would shoot no other firearms after that until I was old enough to acquire my own firearms later on. By then, I had enough sense to never shoot without hearing protection, even when hunting. I still abide by that rule.
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Old July 25, 2012, 07:57 AM   #15
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Just got hearing aids a few weeks ago. While I can't contribute it directly to shooting guns as I can always remember being somewhat hard of hearing in the one ear since high school, I don't doubt that it didn't help the situation. It is amazing the sounds I was missing, almost information overload now that I can hear everything.
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Old July 25, 2012, 08:03 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by dieselbeef
seems to me the smaller claibers are worse than the bigger 357 doesnt seem to nearly make my ears hurt as much as the 22 rifle does..i found that odd for some i just cover em both if possible
That's... Beyond odd. I routinely shoot my 10/22 without protection. I shouldn't, but I always have. I use CCI Stingers and other high-velocity ammo. Even though a 22 is in the range that can cause damage, it doesn't seem loud at all.

Handguns, on the other hand, are atrociously loud regardless of caliber. Even 22. I can't imagine a 357 without protection.

The ONLY gun I shoot without protection is the 10/22.

I shot all manner of guns without protection when I was young. It was a "macho" thing, I guess. I didn't know anyone who even owned hearing protection. We'd laugh about our ears ringing. Stupid.

It never seemed to have caused any permanent damage... Until I worked in the hearing industry and got tested. I had significant damage in the high decibel ranges and I was only in my 20s.

I haven't shot without protection in years but sometimes all it takes is one mistake. About 2 years ago I was getting ready to shoot my 15" Encore Pro Hunter chambered in 7-08. "Loud" doesn't do justice to that sound. Apparently my right plug wasn't sealed correctly on the first shot. One shot. My ears been ringing ever since.

Regarding "auditory exclusion", this is your brain ignoring unnecessary inputs. It doesn't mean the same damage isn't done, it means your brain is ignoring it.
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Old July 25, 2012, 08:03 AM   #17
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It was my practice to take new loads for my .44 mag. to my farm for testing. One day I somehow forgot hearing protection. "Oh-well", I thought. "Just once won't do and harm." Wrong. The blast was, literally, deafening. My ears hurt and rang for days. At age 73 I now wear hearing aids but am very careful to protect what I have left. A pair of silicone foam plugs are in my pocket at all times. Don't risk it.
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Old July 25, 2012, 08:49 AM   #18
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I've been caught on an indoor range without hearing protection. The Range Master had yelled for cease-fire. He was giving us instructions on the next drill. We had taken off hearing protection while having a discussion when some numb nut further down let loose with a .357. He was asked to leave shortly after.

On an indoor range it's hard covers (sometimes with ear plugs), outdoors it's at least ear plugs.
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Old July 25, 2012, 09:04 AM   #19
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Listen to Peetza Killer.

Well, I've made lots of hunting shots without ear protection and I'm hard of hearing now. Rifles, shotguns and the occasional pistol shot always made my ears ring. The high velocity revolvers seemed to actually hurt.

But to be honest I can't blame just the gunfire. Between the explosives, automatic weapons fire, jack hammers, heavy equipment and loud music I really should be more deaf than I am. I'm sure my family thinks I'm deaf enough.

I try to take care now and make sure my son doesn't repeat my mistakes. Even if you don't hear the shot due to auditory exclusion the damage is still done.
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Old July 25, 2012, 09:17 AM   #20
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I have low frequency deafness thanks to playing drums. It sometimes manifests similar to sensory deafness when I'm in a crowded room or noisy room. With that kind of damage already existing, I definitely wear hearing protection. The last thing I need is for my hearing to get worse.

Just for funnzies I did try shooting my ole 9mm without hearing protection and it was much louder then I would have imagined. I can't imagine doing that indoors.

Ironically, anytime I've gone hunting with my brother-in-law I don't use any kind of earplugs. However, that's not sustained shooting. A shotgun blast here, a rifle shot there. It's loud as hell, sure, but usually the worst of the effect has worn off by the time one of us takes the next shot.

However, if my son starts going with us we will definitely have him wear hearing protection. I don't want him to deal with the same problem I've struggled with since high school.
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Old July 25, 2012, 09:20 AM   #21
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Forty five years ago I had some friends over to practice at some empty soda pop cans and one of the fellows shot off a .44 magnum before any of us had time to put on our hearing muffs. We were talking in a small circle and the fellow who was just 2 feet away raised the pistol and started to shoot. I had my left ear facing his direction and the next day after the intense ringing slowed down I had lost a lot of hearing in that ear. I went to the ear doctor and had lost 40% hearing in that ear just from that one shot. I always wear protection even for .22's One does not realize how preciuos good hearing and sight is until you lose it.
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Old July 25, 2012, 09:55 AM   #22
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When staying alive is top priority, hearing loss is not even on the list.
I have about 50-60% hearing loss especially high frequency but I'm alive to hear what I can versus the alternative.
This comes up now and then. Hell yes, I've shot a truckload of ammo w/o hearing protection. I've also spent untold hours exposed to the whine of unmuffled turbocharged diesels and open station machinery of all kinds. In the 50's, 60's, and 70's, darned few tractors had cabs and the ones which did had little accoustic baffling.
Protect your hearing when it's convenient but don't fiddle with it when your life is in danger-use common sense.
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Old July 25, 2012, 10:02 AM   #23
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ever shot without ear protectors?

I have shot at clay pigeons using a 12 gauge with pheasant loads that was okay. I was watching a show on history channel called the ultimate sniper I don't know how they did it in vietnam lying in the brush being real quiet waiting hours to take one shot just listening and waiting they gotta be able to hear the sounds around them. There was one sniper in Iraq who said he was deaf in one ear, he was sniping with a .50 cal ouch!

Last edited by tommyd78; July 25, 2012 at 10:08 AM. Reason: was not done typing
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Old July 25, 2012, 02:29 PM   #24
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The first round through my first pistol, S&W .357 686, with that 6" barrel. Just wanted to see how loud it was. This was way out in the Mojave Desert, actually on the former ranch where they filmed some of 'The Right Stuff.'

One shot, outside, DANG!!!

Set it gently down on the hood of my jeep, staggered around a bit, put the headphones on, made it a habit. Now it's soft plugs and hard covers, all the time on the range.

I like hearing those high notes.
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Old July 25, 2012, 04:17 PM   #25
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50 rounds of 380, ears rang for about a week - learned my lesson
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