It is unfortunate when a hobby or weekend getaway costs you a lot of money in treatment for an injury that could have been prevented inexpensively. Hunting is a great pastime that also helps to manage the game population. However, reports suggest that many hunters experience different levels of new, permanent hearing loss, with some cases requiring costly hearing aid devices.
Hunters and sportsmen should be more proactive in attending to the need for hearing protection. Exposure to the loud sounds of gunfire can cause serious damage to your hearing. Exposure to noise levels of 100 dB for 30 minutes can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. The sound level for concerts is between 130 and 150 dB, while that from a gunshot is 170 dB! This is even louder than some jet engines. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the right ear protection for hunting.
1. Use the Right NRR for Ear Protection
Competitive and recreational shooters require flexible, reliable ear protection that either dampens all dangerous rifle shot sounds to a safe in-ear level, or intelligently and instantaneously adapts its noise filter level to suit the sounds around them. In the latter case, the earplugs may attenuate the noise of gunshots to a safe level but remove the dampening at all other times. The right Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of your shooting earplugs should be between 23 and 33 dB.
2. Use Properly Fitting Ear Protection
Range enthusiasts and competitive shooters are required to wear ear protection, and it must provide an airtight fit. Getting the right fit is critical for proper protection. But they should also be comfortable so you can wear them for hours on end when hunting. Consider getting adjustable earmuffs to ensure the best fit and comfort level.
3. Avoid Shooting Earplugs that Block out All Sound
If you go hunting in the woods, you don’t want to use standard earplugs that block out all sounds, including game rustle. Choose plugs that block out dangerously high decibels, while allowing for safe sound level noises and conversation.
4. Consider Electronic Earmuffs
Electronic earmuffs allow the hunter to monitor the sounds of other hunters around them and the environment, while protecting their ears from the loud sound of shooting a gun.
5. Choose Brands that Cater to Hunters
There are some ear protection devices that are specifically designed to filter out harmful noises while allowing you to hear vital sounds, such as conversations and the rustle of wildlife. For instance, you may have a look at brands such as Walker Game Ear, EarPro, and Serenity SP/DP.
There are different ways to protect your hearing when hunting. You just need to be aware of the different types of shooting earplugs and earmuffs available, and wear the right protection for your firearm’s sound level.