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Old March 11, 2013, 03:45 PM   #101
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I have never shot a gun without ear protection. Has anyone here had to do that in an emergency situation? Is it so loud that it can damage your ears the first time? Is it pretty scary? Does adrenaline help you overcome the shock of the sound?
Huh? Oh, yes, I have. Repeatedly. Many times. I fired handguns, rifles, shotguns, you name it. The damage is cumulative, i.e. you might not notice at first, but you are damaging your ears. Next time, you damage them a bit more. And so on.

Scary? I'm sorry, I am beyond being scared by loud noises.

Adrenaline has little to do with overcoming the effects of loud noises.
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Old March 11, 2013, 04:00 PM   #102
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I've managed to fail to get the protection back on/in a couple of times.

In a Combat focus shooting class I manages to not get the right plug in all the way when we started a new string of fire. (Naturally I was on the left end of the line) I quickly fixed that problem, but man it hurt.

The only time I generally fail to use at least plugs is hunting, but then again I'm a crappy hunter so I almost never get a chance to shoot while hunting.
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Old March 11, 2013, 04:15 PM   #103
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After having a few family members complain about tinnitus, I am always diligent about throwing on plugs and/or muffs. It's sad when the ringing gets so painful and there's nothing that can be done about it. I like my hearing and I hope to keep it that way.
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Old March 11, 2013, 04:16 PM   #104
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When I'm at the range to shoot, and not be social, I usually double up. I have fitted ear plugs, and just put standard muffs over the top. If I'm at a match, or practicing practical shooting with a group, I'll use my Electronic muffs. Not as much protection but I'm usually further away from the line (except when I'm shooting, but the muffs are enough protection) and want to be able to chat.

I have mild tinnitus, and would prefer for it not to get worse...

It's also why I'm considering a suppressor for my HD handgun. In the off chance I have to fire it inside...I'd like to keep my hearing.
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Old March 11, 2013, 07:15 PM   #105
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Muzzle blast is forever, without protection. Period. At 75 my left ear is almost useless and I've had tinnitus in both ears for thirty years. We didn't know jack about what we were doing back in the day.
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Old March 11, 2013, 08:29 PM   #106
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What, Don't.
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Old March 11, 2013, 09:27 PM   #107
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what, don't.

what ! Hua , you say someting . Sorry can"t hear a thing with all this ringing in my ears .. :d
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Old March 12, 2013, 12:26 AM   #108
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I've had mild tinnitus for around 13 years or a bit more and I have trouble hearing conversation with any background noise; the result of shooting a .357 while standing between two metal buildings with no protection, along with countless other stupid range sessions with none. Don't do it, not even once. At 27, and my hearing already as bad as it is, I'm sure at 60 I'll be wearing hearing aides. It's not worth it.
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Old March 12, 2013, 01:00 AM   #109
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Re: Shooting a gun without ear protection

Originally Posted by Mike Irwin View Post

You know, you REALLY have to wonder how anyone who served in the US military up through the 1970s ever came out of basic training without severe hearing damage
Our ear plugs would fall out. Its such a ridiculously macho culture or it was anyways that no one was going to set their rifle or machine gun down and put their plugs back in, you just tough it out. But that's how you get "artillery ears" too. Just being too macho.

I consider myself fortunate.
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Old March 12, 2013, 02:09 AM   #110
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Shooting a gun without ear protection

Originally Posted by shortwave View Post
Yea, we're invincible at that age.

Hell, I thought we were all immortal. Or at least I thought I was.

Now, like a lot of others, I wear double hearing protection on the range, and whenever I'm on the public range everyone who knows me knows to touch my shoulder if you want my attention. Saying something to me with ear plugs and muffs is like talking to a stone, because that's about what my hearing is like.

Mostly it's damage from machinery noise, not gunfire. But noise is noise. And the damage street is one way.
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Old March 12, 2013, 11:08 PM   #111
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One more thing.

Always double up with ear plugs and muffs when shooting indoors. At the peak of my shooting, I practiced 3 to 4 times a week indoors. This was in '11. I only wore ear plugs and the noise didn't bother me whatsoever, but I'm pretty sure it contributed significantly to my tinnitus which started the following year. Like some of the others said, the problem is that sound travels through your bones/skull and still can damage your hearing. Plugs alone while shooting indoors doesn't cut it. Gotta double up.
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Old March 13, 2013, 07:36 AM   #112
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I also double up outdoors, with long guns, because rifle and shotgun stocks have a nasty ability to move my right ear cup out of position.
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Old March 13, 2013, 10:06 AM   #113
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I make it a point double, if possible, on any range in which a M-2 is being fired.

Often times though, a helmet is mandated which negates the use of ear muffs and forces you to rely on ear plugs.
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Old March 19, 2013, 04:27 AM   #114
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I noticed last week that my tinnitus gets worse when I shoot, even when I double up. I'm bummed, because I want to start taking lessons from a woman who only teaches other women how to shoot. I was surprised that my tinnitus could be affected even with doubling up. So I'm not sure what to do.

Though I still think that field stripping my .45 is the most dangerous thing I do. That's twice that the bolt nearly took out a window! Dang, those springs are tough.
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Old March 19, 2013, 04:38 AM   #115
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Affected by my age, level of fatigue, medications, especially aspirin, and blood pressure, my tinnitus varies. Especially fatigue. Also, if I listen to music on a long road trip or even at home, even at a normal to low volume level, or when I direct my school music groups for an hour or so, it increases. At other times (opposites of the the situations listed ) it is not so noticeable. I shoot quite often and double up but with devices both rated NRR33 to get the most protection I possibly can out of them. When those cilia get tired of flexing, so to speak, with the fluid moving around inside the cochlea, they send off more false signals causing the tinnitus. When they rest and are rejuvenated, it lessens. Still, because of all of the broken-off cilia, i have 24/7 white noise. Sorry you have it, too. As I get older, it's more annoying.
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Old March 19, 2013, 05:35 AM   #116
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@possum - are you using foam ear plugs, and correctly? If you roll them between your fingers and compact them, they swell back up to fit your ear canal. Doubled up with muffs you should hardly hear it. If that's not working for you, try the electronic muffs. I think their NRC rating is usually higher than the others.
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Old March 19, 2013, 06:13 AM   #117
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There is no reason to target shoot without hearing protection.

As far as a self defense situation, as a hunter, you will never hear the gun go off so the sound alone won't impede your actions.
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Old March 19, 2013, 07:23 AM   #118
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I also have hearing loss and tinnitus from the military. I wear ear muffs with ear plugs to protect what hearing I have left, but I would not hesitate to use my weapon in an emergency. I am 72 and they did not issue hearing protection to the troops then.
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Old March 19, 2013, 08:18 AM   #119
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Originally Posted by Kreyzhorse
As far as a self defense situation, as a hunter, you will never hear the gun go off so the sound alone won't impede your actions.
That may be so. But it does not take away from the permanent damaged caused by the noise exposure.

For self defense, I'd take my chances. Hunting? No way.
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Old March 19, 2013, 08:40 AM   #120
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I also have tinnitus from doing silly things, I am 40 now, I imagine it will get worse as I get older. I use to shoot without hearing protection on a regular basis when outdoors. I have been riding a motorcycle since I was 16 and never really considered the loud exhaust or wind noise could be doing damage (I don't wear full face helmets). Running loud chainsaws or other equipment has done it's damage as well.

I can't speak to how one may react without hearing protection in a self defense situation, but I can say shooting without ear protection while hunting, even when in a partially enclosed blind, has not impacted my ability to hit what I am aiming at. Though, it has contributed to the constant ringing in my ears.

These days I carry ear plugs in my truck, I wear ear plugs when I ride my motorcycle, or shoot or run a chainsaw or even mow the lawn. The ringing is not horrible, it does not keep me awake at night, but I certainly don't want to make it any worse.
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Old March 19, 2013, 09:06 AM   #121
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Shooting a gun without ear protection

Originally Posted by foxytwo View Post
I also have hearing loss and tinnitus from the military. I wear ear muffs with ear plugs to protect what hearing I have left, but I would not hesitate to use my weapon in an emergency. I am 72 and they did not issue hearing protection to the troops then.
I cringe a little when I see some of the battles of WWII & Korean War. None of the troops I saw we're wearing any ear protection firing machine guns, standing next to heavy artillery firing & bombs going all around them. Occasionally you might see a finger in one ear when firing cannons. I'm sure the last thing they were worried about was there hearing. My ears ring all the time just from the shooting & m80's around me. I'm surprised all those front line troops can hear at all

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Old March 19, 2013, 09:24 AM   #122
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I like the newest ear protectors. The ones with the flexible curved rod with the two plugs on the end. You can have them in place very quickly. This makes hearing protection while hunting practical.
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Old March 19, 2013, 09:26 AM   #123
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Re: Shooting a gun without ear protection

I have had to shoot several pistols and a shotgun on occasion at wild dogs without ear protection. Once I had to use my AR.

The only time that my ears weren't ringing afterwards was when I fired 7 times at a dog that was charging me, too much adrenaline I think.
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Old March 19, 2013, 09:48 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by Kreyzhorse
As far as a self defense situation, as a hunter, you will never hear the gun go off so the sound alone won't impede your actions.

Unfortunately, the physical effects of exposure to loud noise is completely unrelated to what your conscious mind recognizes or remembers.

Every gun shot without using hearing protection permanently damages your hearing. Every single one, every single time. It might be a tiny, unnoticeable amount this time and not the next, or a tiny unnoticeable amount 500 times in a row, that is suddenly noticeable after number 501, or 5001, but every single shot is doing permanent, irreversible, real damage.

There is no longer any excuse for shooting a firearm, in any but an instant, life-threatening situation, without wearing hearing protection.

Electronic muffs, that ENHANCE your natural abilities while hunting, can now be had for as little as $25. Every style and performance level is available, from huge cheap, adequate muffs to tiny "Inside The Ear" models, at every price range imaginable. They even make some models that integrate with two-way radios, so you can protect your hearing and still use a radio headset.
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Old March 19, 2013, 11:12 AM   #125
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I am not saying this is good for you, but you asked.

First off, I never ever used hearing protection anywhere until I was about 26 years old. I grew up shooting outdoors, rarely went to a range, just shot in the country and deer hunting, dove, rabbits and birds on the telephone line.

The first few years in the Army, early 80's, they didn't use any, we just shot and lived with it. We were shooting M16A1s, full auto, and M60 machineguns mostly. Yes, the ears did ring. Every time I qualified I started a set by just listening to the first few rounds and acclimating myself to it before I would join in.

My job then was Military Intelligence and I listened and identified enemy radar signals so we had to take hearing tests to remain certified for the job. I never failed but there was measurable hearing loss is specific frequency ranges so it certainly had an effect.

Later I was in the Combat Engineers, we blew up stuff alot. Sometimes with hearing protection sometimes not. Tanks are crazy noisy and our main gun was a 165mm cannon that fired 65 lbs of High Explosive Plastic (HEP) that was quite impressive to see. We tore a range up on a live fire so bad at Ft. Benning in 1987 that they refused to let us go live the next year.

Needless to say today I always wear hearing protection at a range, it's just smart, but I never worry about it anywhere else. My hearing is damaged in measurable degrees, but I am not deaf yet and I have never had anyone tell me I talk too loud. That's all I can offer.
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