No preparation is required; as said above, you'll probably do just fine, and if you don't it won't be because of the noise.
Originally Posted by SIGCrazie
Being a military weapons range safety NCO for the better part of 15 years, I was exposed to hazardous noise in the form of gunfire on a regular basis. Starting in the (early?) 80s, all the folks in my field were regularly tested for hearing loss, so I had an initial/baseline and annual followup audiometric tests that documented my hearing acuity.
As an active hunter, I never used hearing protection during bird, small game, or deer hunts; only while calling fur animals or varminting did I wear ear plugs or muffs. Plinking outdoors with .22 rifles in open areas also didn't merit any protection within my group of fellow shooters; only when the handguns or larger rifles came out did we "plug up." In retrospect, this was stupid, but back in those days the hazard just wasn't communicated in a way that young males cared about; however, the macho man/ego threat was always front-and-center.
After a few incidents where shooters in training fired rifles AFTER the cease-fire command (and after most of us had removed our ear protection), in semi-enclosed concrete ranges, several of us were put on quarterly audiograms. During those years, you could SEE the hearing loss on the charts, especially after hunting season; being a left-handed shotgunner, my right ear is closest to the muzzle, and in the late fall tests I always had problems in that right ear. Sometimes it was just the ringing sound in my head masking the sound I was supposed to hear during the test; after the ringing subsided, my hearing temporarily "improved". However, the long-term charts were unmistakable -- peaks and valleys aside, the trend was always downward.
I can tell you that I have also been unlucky enough to hear (unprotected) a short-barreled .22 handgun in a living room, a 9mm in an apartment dining room, a 12-gauge in a poured-concrete armory room, and a .30-06 a few tables away in a gunshow exhibit hall; and while the sharpness of the noise always surprised me, none of them came close to causing me enough pain to prevent proper mind/body functioning in the next few moments. It gets really quiet though, even if there are a lot of people in the room, right after something like that happens...
Nowadays, I often don't hear the small birds singing; my wife comments on them, and I nod, but sometimes I simply don't know what she's talking about. If I try to slip the car keys in my coat pocket and miss, dropping multiple keys on the concrete, I might not hear them hit; where a drop on the wood deck at home with its lower-pitched "thump" will always register.
Folks, PLEASE, always wear the plugs/muffs, or even both, if the gun is big/bad enough. Once it's gone, you don't get your hearing back, and the worst part is, the nature of gradual hearing loss is such that many people simply never know what they are missing. Every day. For the rest of their lives.
(DJ climbs down off of his soapbox, but doesn't hear the creak it makes when he does so)
"Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
(RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)
I, for one, am just going to sleep with my full muffs on from here out. That way if someone does break in, and a shot has to be fired, my ears are safe....
On a serious note though, I am pretty young still and already have damaged hearing. My left ear in particular. You should ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS wear hearing protection when you can. I try to wear something comparable to the Walker's game ear while I am hunting, and muffs or plugs when I am shooting targets. The damage that I do have is actually from a 22. Its a long story, but I was 13 years old, and couldn't understand why the cartriges were only about a quarter full of powder. I thought to myself, "well those cheap sob's don't even fill the shell up..." . I am fortunate that hearing damage is all that I received.
damn I never thought of this until this thread. I know its going to be loud, the ringing will last for hours.
...On the positive side, my hearing aids do make the ringing in my ears much, much clearer.
(That's a joke, son.)
Tinnitis, huh—well, now I know how you got your site name!
(BANG! Clang! Ringy-dingy-dingy-ding-ding-ding...whishhhhhh.)
But seriously, folks...
I find that my hearing aids actually reduce my tinnitis!
Since I now hear real background noise, much of the time the background noise swamps the tinnitis.
Last edited by clanger; 08-04-2009 at 08:25 AM.
Sorry, guys, it's something that has been on my mind. I've tried (without protection) a 12GA. shotgun, 12GA. Magnum shotgun, .380, 9mm, .38 special, .357, .357 magnum, .45 ACP, Mosin Nagant, and a .308 rifle. I tried it once with each different caliber in a course of a year. I can't imagine the loudness of the BANG in my HD situation. How about the flash? I'm sure it will cause some flash blindness in the dark. Thanks for all the info on this subject.
Originally Posted by The Goat
My bro-in-law tried to commit suicide 4 years ago.
He had a .38 revolver; pulled the trigger under his chin pointing toward his brain. He lived, although he blew out his left eyeball and the bullet traveled to his forehead and lodged there.
I recently asked him if he remembers the loud sound of the BANG. He says no and that his hearing is fine-no ringing, no loss of hearing...
Glad he's alive...he's not the same though...brain damage.
Strange that the BANG didn;t leave him impaired.
im no stranger to loud noises, im in the car audio industry and ive sat in vehicles that can produce 170db with no hearing protection and didnt really have a problem and witnessed 180db, and i must say that bass is nothing compared to a 45 or 357, obviously different sine waves and such , but ill say like other when the adrenaline is present you wont know anything but stay alive,kick some names and take some ass, if ya know what i mean ...lol
Man thats crazy!!! My best friends bro Shot himself in the head with a 9mm a month ago and killed himself. Left a wife (who we think caused it) and 2 kids behind. Sad Sad phone call to get when you are at work.
Originally Posted by ka-chow
On topic. I have fired pistols and rifles a lot when I was younger with my dad. I just recently Bought a Beretta PX4 in .40 for home defense and some range time. I have been wondering the same thing as the OP. I just can't imagine how loud it will be when the situation comes.
I mean I know for the most part the Adrenaline will take over but still......it will be VERY loud.
I pulled an idiot move one very bad day at the range. RO called the line hot, there weren't many people there. But my muffs were riding just behind my ears, exposing my ear canal. Mind you the range is outdoors, but is covered. I pulled off the first shot, and I've got to tell you. It's probably one of the more painful experiences I have had momentarily. But the ring continued thoughout the day. Always keep your head out of your rear, I consider myself a very safe shooter and aware of my surroundings.
Anyways the basis of my little saga is... I could only imagine the pain in the aftermath. I did read on another forums where a guy fired his weapon in a barn and his ear immediately started to bleed. Result in some if not all his hearing iirc.
All very good reasons why this is my primary home defense pistol
I can't find the reference right now, but I remember reading somewhere that there have been some scientific studies regarding hearing loss from gun shots fired in actual self-defense situations. There were some cases where the the shooter sustained no discernable hearing damage. The theory was that the intense surge of adrenaline you experience during a scary life and death situation somehow works to protect your ears from damage. I hope I never have to find out for myself.
Short of high power rifles and magnum hand guns I can deal with range fire without protection BUT I always wear them. You are nuts not to. If you ever have to use your pistol at home in self defense I don't think you are gonna notice it. After you've changed your shorts and calmed your nerves a bit you might think on it but I doubt it.
First time I shot a 1911 without ear protection outdoors. All it took was a couple shots, and I was looking for those earplugs.
Damn thats a crazy story bro.....Glad you're alive!
I hope I never have to experience anything like this in my lifetime.
I'm glad that you wear hearing protection anyway. Here's why:
Originally Posted by gmaske
Impulse-noise damage to your hearing happens suddenly and without warning. It is the result of a cumulative effect, but one that will affect you at a completely unpredictable moment.
You can tolerate lots of shooting noise, as you have observed in your post, but you need to know that this is true only until your hearing mechanisms reach their inherent level of tolerance.
At that moment, you will suddenly find that you have suffered irreversible hearing damage and loss.
How do I know?
I forgot my hearing protectors one day. Instead of borrowing someone else's, I decided to "tough it out." After all, we were only doing a little sighting-in. And it was only with pistols. I had shot without protection before, and it wasn't all that bad.
I fired my fourth shot, and, all of a sudden, everything went quiet. No birds. No conversation. Other people's shots were muffled and seemed far, far away.
My hearing never came back completely. I've lost almost all of my high-frequency, and a lot of my mid-frequency hearing. I can't enjoy music, or conversation in crowded environments.
Hearing aids help, but not much.
And all it took was that one, fourth shot.
Always wear hearing protection, even if you "don't have to."
Originally Posted by Todd
I don't worry too much about *my* hearing should I need to defend my family, I would sacrifice it gladly in their defense. I have a 3 month old son though that I have been thinking about a lot lately. Mainly I have been concerned about how to ensure that if I do have to fire in my house, that I am not sending bullets through the baby's room. But lately(before I saw this thread oddly enough) I have also been trying to figure out ways to minimize the risk to his hearing should I have to fire in the house. I have considered telling my wife if anything happens where I may have to fire on an intruder to hide in the closet with the baby and cover his ears, since I am not sure how much interior doors will reduce the noise of a gunshot. I am guessing not by much though.
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