Thursday, December 13, 2012
Hunting Season and Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Thank You John Connor for contributing the following article on Hearing Loss. Hunting season is a time that hunters really look forward to, no matter what hunting activity they enjoy. You may be one of them. Maybe you bought a new gun and other equipment just for hunting season. Have you purchased hearing protection as well? Exposure to pistols, rifles and shotguns can cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) if you do not protect your ears while hunting. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), nearly all firearms create noise between 120 and 150 decibels. This level of noise is enough to cause instant, long-term hearing loss. With high levels of sounds being very damaging to eardrums it is important to know the best places to practice your shooting at. The confined space of an indoor shooting range is worse than the woods or open fields because sounds bounce off walls and echo. This amplifies the sound and causes hearing loss. Outdoor hunters are not immune to hearing damage, however. Hunters and bystanders alike can suffer severe NIHL without proper protection. My father who was a hunter for many years often did not pay attention to his hearing protection while out on a hunt. Now many years later he is affected severely by NIHL and it is partially do to hunting. In order to help counter act his noise induced hearing loss he wears hearing aids that allow him to hearing at a great volume. With his NIHL he still likes to get out to the range and practice his shooting but he always remembers to have his hearing aids in and hearing protection on at all times to ensure maximum safety. Gun Noise and Hearing Problems As a hunter, you are more likely to experience hearing loss than friends and family members who do not hunt. Hunters tend to have high-frequency hearing loss, and the damage is usually worse in the ear closest to the gun. Do you hear constant ringing in your ears? This is called tinnitus, and it is a common sign of hearing loss. Hunting is not all bad news for your hearing, though. You can prevent hearing loss by wearing protective devices like earmuffs and earplugs. Studies suggest that more than half of all hunters actually wear hearing protection. They often complain that protective devices keep them from hearing approaching deer, ducks, other game and even their hunting partners. Gun Noise and Hearing Protection While muffs and plugs do limit some sounds in the hunting environment, many high-tech devices allow hunters to hear soft sounds while protecting their ears from gunshot noise. Electronic earmuffs, for example, enhance the softer sounds of hunting while reducing loud noise. In this regard, electronic earmuffs are both assistive hearing devices and hearing protection. If hunting is a common hobby for you, make sure you are taking the proper precautionary action in buying hearing protection to ensure a safe hunt. From The Author Hi my name is John O'Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. Over the past few years I have become more and more interested in hearing loss. My father and grandfathers, who are and were all hunters, are affected by hearing loss. I feel that there is a general lack of understanding around the issue and it is our job to spread awareness where we can. Check out my new blog at bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com!
Posted by Merimac at 5:50 PM