Public Service Announcement: Protect your Ears

Normally, my local range can get me a lane in less than five minutes. There are two nights where this isn’t the case. Monday is ladies night and every other Wednesday brings the Sure Shots pistol league. I’m sure there’s a joke buried somewhere about women and having to wait around, but I’ll leave it up to you guys (and gals) to find it. Cut to Wednesday last week . . .

I messed up the alternating week thing and falsely assumed that the Sure Shots would be at the south location, and I could shoot in peace and relative quiet. It turns out that about 40 women had a different idea. So I spent a good chunk of my evening perusing guns and gear while I waited for a lane to open.

Normally, I’d find another night, but I needed to check the zero on my .243 for a potential shot at an antelope and I wanted to shoot at least 100 rounds through my 1911 in anticipation of my CHL test.

With close to twenty lanes occupied and everybody blasting, the waiting area and gun store was loud to say the least. But how loud? Enter a quick purchase from the iTunes store, Decibel that I have used for about a year and thoroughly enjoy. Keep in mind that the iPhone4 mic maxes at 105 dB. I did 5 data collections over 5 minutes at 15 seconds per collection to see just how loud it really was.

   Run           Avg               Max

       1              84                  100

      2              85                 105

     3               79                 105

     4               78                 103

     5               88                 105

As you can see, I had three data runs that pegged the capabilities of the iPhone mic, and my average sound level was 82.8 dB. The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders says that “long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 dB can cause hearing loss.”

Now, they don’t define how long or how repeated that exposure needs to be to start damaging the very fragile hair cells inside your ear. So while 82.8 dB doesn’t cross that threshold, I would still be worried about the long-term health of the employees and frequent customers.

So what does this mean for you? Keep your head (and ears) on a swivel. Just like dehydration and thirst, if you are in pain, it is already too late. Keep a set of earplugs or Mickey Mouse ears handy. If you have a smartphone, download any number of free/cheap apps to do sound testing. Check your environment if you feel like it might be too loud.

You only have five senses. If you can touch, smell, or taste someone, they are already too close for comfort. Your defensive perimeter can be best maintained by your eyes and ears. Do the needful to keep those ears working in tip top shape.