hearing protection for the deaf
Tyler Kee for TTAG
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By Warren Grannis

They say write what you know. After sifting through everything I know about firearms over the last few weeks, I’ve decided I’m probably not in the running to speak as an expert on most aspects of gun culture, as others are far better informed than I. But I am deaf. And I’ve been deaf for as long as I can remember, so I know that pretty well.

Despite my deafness, I still wear hearing protection when I shoot, and I’d like to tell you why . . .

For much of my childhood, and even a brief while in early adulthood, I scoffed at the idea of wearing hearing protection while shooting because, after all, “you can’t lose what you don’t have.” Let me relate the experience that changed my mind about hearing protection.

About a decade ago, I acquired a handgun and wanted to take it through its paces and get a feel for how well it performed. In most circumstances, I’d take the gun to the family ranch, out behind the old dam that makes for an excellent berm.

For whatever reason, I just didn’t have the patience, and felt compelled to plunk down the change to spend an hour at the nearby indoor range in South Austin. It’s an older range, but local hunters like using it to dial in their rifles, as it goes out to 100 yards. This is important to the story.

So there I was, dropping the money to rent a lane for an hour. The RSO behind the counter asked if I had my “eyes and ears,” and I confidently told him that while yes, I had eye protection, I wouldn’t be needing the ear protection because (and I’m ashamed of how often I’ve used this line growing up, as an excuse to go without) “you can’t lose what you don’t have.”

Now, I’d never shot at Red’s before. I’d only lived in the Austin area for a few years, and was new to the idea of indoor ranges. I’d always been able to shoot outside.

This place is LOUD. Somehow, even a normal .308 can sound like a howitzer going off. I took my lane, which was on the far right, up against the wall, set up the target, my gear, and the gun on the table. I picked it up, aimed, and BOOM.

My ears were instantly ringing. It wasn’t my 9mm, as I hadn’t even squeezed off a round yet. Some fellow, with his bolt action rifle (caliber unknown) had put his target on the 100 yard line and proceeded to sight in his gun. I shot mine, and the percussion seemed more intense than usual. The rifle to the left though…every time he fired, the ringing started anew and a sense of nausea began to grow.

I couldn’t take more than 15 minutes of it. Vertigo was kicking in big time. The tinnitus sounded like every air raid siren in Honolulu was going off, a cold sweat was breaking out. I was going to be lucky to make it out of the range without chucking lunch all over the shop floor.

I paid my rental fee drenched in a cold sweat and apparently looking like death, and cautiously made it out to the car and packed up my gear. That’s when the first round of losing my lunch commenced. And here, I made mistake number two.

I drove back to the office. Call it pride, call it stupidity, call it ignorance. But I was definitely in no shape to drive. Thirty-seven-year-old me would kick twenty-four-year-old me’s backside for getting behind the wheel in that condition.

I (luckily) made it back to the office in one piece, and proceeded to lay on the floor under my desk, shut my eyes, and curled into a ball and tried to sleep it off. The sirens of tinnitus never relented.

There was no escaping the reality of what had happened: I might not be able to hear, but I’d done something incredibly asinine by not protecting my inner and middle ears, and I was paying a heavy price for it.

Several hours later and after a few more rounds of tossing my lunch, when the Earth had steadied into a predictable rocking motion, and I could look at the horizon and not want to die, I drove home. I still wasn’t in good shape, but I felt like I could definitely get home in one piece, at least.

As soon as I made it home, I took some Sudafed for the vertigo, some Gatorade for the lost electrolytes, crawled into bed and grabbed onto the edges, clenched my eyes shut, and prayed for relief.

Human ear hearing protection gunfire shooting

I’m fine now. It took a week or two for the tinnitus to fade away. The headache, the nausea, the vertigo, all of it eventually receded. But left behind was an indelible lesson: ear protection isn’t just for protecting your hearing.

Aside from hair cells inside your cochlea that turn sound waves into signals your brain translates into auditory input, there’s a lot more going on. And that protection helps make sure your body can do that for a long time. There are bones, fluids, tubes…all kinds of physiological processes going on that make for a bad time if you don’t protect them when you go out shooting.

I’ll admit it. Even now it still feels a little ridiculous putting in ear plugs when I’m going shooting. Going from silent to…just as silent…seems a little pointless. “You can’t lose what you don’t have.” Which is, on the face of it, true enough.

But the moment I squeeze that trigger and feel that hug of sorts from the percussion of the bullet leaving the barrel, a small part of me still feels the psychological fallout of that horrible day in South Austin, and I feel gratitude for a hard lesson learned.

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  1. This is a fantastic post. I will be putting hearing pro by my nightstand gun from now on… And strongly considering investment in a suppressor.

  2. I feel for you Warren. I have 50% and 30% hearing loss from Meinier’s Syndrome, and thus am no stranger to enduring vertigo and bouts of nausea. I have used electronic muffs since ’98, with earplugs for backup.
    My worst attack came on the local indoor shooting range, despite my precautions.
    Those of you not so afflicted (yet), heed Warren’s warning.

  3. Good post. I would never have guessed this could happen to someone who’s deaf.

    Even mild tinnitus is no fun.

    • I had the same thought. And how would someone be able to understand/describe tinnitus if they had been deaf their entire life?

      I also wonder if the nausea was actually from sensory overload: going from deaf (hearing nothing) to suddenly hearing ringing would be extremely difficult for anyone’s brain to process without experiencing something like … nausea.

      • Experiencing and knowing what tinnitus is, has nothing to do with whether or not you’ve ever been able to hear in the past… I personally know a number of deaf folks who’ve never heard a thing in their life, and yet they’ve experienced (and can describe) tinnitus. I realize it’s difficult for a hearing person to disassociate hearing external sources from hearing something that doesn’t exist beyond the fact that the brain “hears” it, but here we are.

        • Yup, even if the hearing part of your ear is not working so well, the ear does a hell of alot more than just let you hear.

          If you can still balance while you walk, protect your ears!

        • They believe that Tinnitus isn’t part of the hearing system, it’s a brain issue. I’ve got tinnitus and I’m getting tired of feeling sick all the time, I pray for all sufferers of this that they can find a cure.

  4. This is really interesting, thank you. I remember trying without ear protection once, just to see what it was like. One round of .22 and I set the pistol down and put my protection on.

    Can’t imagine such percussion to cause such an intense reaction.

  5. As someone born profoundly deaf (Mom had German measles when she was pregnant), I can commiserate. Also, much as I hate to say it, you should also have known better than most at that age to not wear hearing protection at an indoor range. My right ear is completely dead, 100% loss according to audiologists, but I can most certainly feel the pain of a sound pressure wave from small arms fire. So I put an earplug in all the same, and/or wear muffs. For my left ear, I simply turn off my hearing aid, as the ear mold is a very effective sound insulator.

    And more recently my grandfather pretty much finished off his hearing after going to the range with me a couple years ago. I offered him ear plugs, which he took. Alas, I made the foolish mistake of assuming he could put them in his ears properly. As it turned out, he just half stuck them in, which provided virtually no protection from the family shooting an AR less than 10 feet away. They took turns shooting with their own mags, ran through an entire ammo box in perhaps 45 minutes. I wore muffs and plugs – no problems. My grandfather lost most of his remaining hearing that day, and I’m sure it accelerated the overall process of age-related hearing loss as well. Now he can’t understand anything I say to him no matter how loudly or clearly I repeat myself (his daughter a little better)

    All criticism aside, a well written and thought-provoking post.


    • Thanks for your thoughts. One part I left out, mostly for the sake of brevity for the story, is that until I was 22, I wore hearing aids and would simply turn them off when I went shooting (the noise wore the batteries down quite quickly). They acted, in effect, like ear plugs. This was a major contributor to my youthful arrogance… when RSOs at boy scout camp would tell me to put in ear plugs, I took a bit of glee at pointing out the stupidity of removing hearing aids off a deaf person, just to put in ear plugs, with no effective change. I really had no concept of the concussive impacts on the inner ear because at that point, I hadn’t really experienced them to any significant degree.

      • Warren and Tom in Georgia – I too am deaf and was stoopid for not wearing ear protection. I hope range owners, RSO, and trainers of all types, look past our sad, deaf, puppy dog face and force anyone/everyone w/ hearing loss or not, to wear eyes and EARS.

  6. I acquired tinnitus as a result of industrial shop noise (angle grinders, ventilation systems, arc welding, air gouging, etc). It will likely never go away. It is made much worse by loud impact noise, and muzzle blasts are part of that class of noise. Before that, I had a permanent level shift in my right ear as a result of lighting off one (and only one) round from my .338 with a muzzle brake on it. The deer was “right there” and I didn’t want to miss the shot. Never again will I do that.

    People should NB that you can have muffs on, earplug in your ears, and still develop hearing loss problems. Bone conduction of noise into your ears is substantial, and in shooting, the SPL at your ears is increased dramatically by stupid accessories like muzzle brakes, compensators and (especially) shooting indoors or under a close cover (eg, outdoor ranges with a sloping roof over the firing line). Muzzle brakes and comps shot indoors and under a firing line cover redirect a substantial portion of the blast wave back over you, making the issue far worse.

    I have actively discouraged customers who come to me seeking a muzzle brake added to their rifle. That’s right, I’ve turned down easy money because now I’m a real whinge on the subject of muzzle noise and hearing loss. Tinnitus is something that cannot be fixed with hearing aides or outside devices. In my case, it is quite probably permanent – and it took a week of noticing that the ringing in my ears failed to depart for the crushing truth to dawn on me that my condition was permanent. What’s more, in my research on tinnitus, I discovered that there are more than a few profoundly deaf people who have tinnitus – and these people are the subjects of extensive medical research. When I say “profoundly deaf,” I mean that these people have been deaf since birth, and they can’t hear anything – other than the ringing in their ears because they didn’t wear hearing protection in high-exposure environments. In some of the literature, some of these profoundly deaf people developed tinnitus the same way I did – in an industrial environment with prolonged exposure to 90+ dB noise. They didn’t experience the severe and traumatic symptoms that Warren did above. It just appeared after a day working, just as mine did, and when interviewed on the subject, their reaction is much as mine was: I’d rather hear nothing than the infernal ringing all day, every day, without fail. They’re now worse than deaf, and yes, there is such a thing.

    When I read of people obsessing about such nonsense as “which comp/brake reduces the recoil of a .223 the best?” I want to get up on my hind legs and start slapping people around. You’re going to put your hearing at risk to reduce the “recoil” from a .223? What? Really? If that’s really the case, then go learn to shoot a .22LR, so you don’t need to worry about recoil at all.

    Same deal with people who get their semi-auto pistol ported, or a trap shotgunner who gets their barrel ported. When I’m on a trap line next to some yahoo who has a ported shotgun, I make sure I have my gun action broken open, and unloaded, and then I step back from the line I’m on to be at least three yards to the rear of the shooter with the ported gun. This obviously slows down the pace of the game. Well, tough, Don’t want me to slow down the pace of the game? Don’t port your barrels. Want to reduce recoil? Get your gun fit, put in a mercury recoil reducer or shoot a heavier gun. Quit doing stupid stuff to your inner ears – you get only one set per lifetime, there will probably never be a transplant option for inner ears, and they control your entire life. If you can’t stand up without puking, you can’t amount to much in life.

    • Thanks for your thoughts. One part I left out, mostly for the sake of brevity for the story, is that until I was 22, I wore hearing aids and would simply turn them off when I went shooting (the noise wore the batteries down quite quickly). They acted, in effect, like ear plugs. This was a major contributor to my youthful arrogance… when RSOs at boy scout camp would tell me to put in ear plugs, I took a bit of glee at pointing out the stupidity of removing hearing aids off a deaf person, just to put in ear plugs, with no effective change. I really had no concept of the concussive impacts on the inner ear because at that point, I hadn’t really experienced them to any significant degree.

      • Thanks for writing this article at TTAG. It is a highly important issue, and to hear your experience as a deaf person (“can’t lose what you don’t have”) under loud, concussive shock waves should give people with good hearing much more urgency in protecting their hearing.

    • I had never taken the time to consider where the blast wave ends up with compensators and angled roofs. Thank you (and the OP) for your posts today. Theyve been more meaningful than anything else I’ve read, here or elsewhere, in a long time.

    • That post really got to me. I’m going to put on hearing protection in our loud manufacturing rooms at work.

    • +1 DG. I absolutely hate being anywhere near a rifle being fired with a muzzle brake — the only safe-ish place to stand is directly behind the shooter.

      When I was a manufacturing company lawyer and visited the plants, I was required to wear eye and hearing pro. Without the protection, access to the floor was absolutely and totally prohibited. Eventually, I carried and used my own instead of relying on the flimsy glasses and disposable ear plugs provided by the companies.

      I have mild tinnitus in only one ear. It’s more of a hiss than a ringing sound, which I don’t even notice most of the time and never really bothers me. Still, I’d be better off without it.

      • I have a side throw muzzle brake on my AR. New shooters at the range want to see the “cannon” I am firing. You don’t want to be beside that thing for sure. No matter what I shoot, my own gunfire doesn’t bother me. Even when I am expecting the gunfire, if I’m not the one on the trigger, it is still a heart stopper when it goes off. I hate bench rest shooting for this reason. It goes like this: Breathe…hold…squeeze…squeeze…BANG!…FUCK!

    • Ironically my .223s have Izzy muzzle breaks “permanently” attached because an A2 flash hider would be illegal! And I hate those things indoors!

      I have fairly wicked tinnitus from firing 5.56 (with an A2 suppressor) with only one earplug in. At the time it seemed like a good idea, since we didn’t have electronic ear-pro and I wanted to hear if someone yelled something like “grenade” when we were running jungle lanes. Long-term hearing damage seemed better than short term perforation damage, but I am definitely paying the price now.

    • I should add something:

      Hearing loss is cumulative. The conditions to develop tinnitus are also thought to be cumulative.

      Before I was in an industrial setting with angle grinders, air arc gouges, etc, I was a farmer. On nice days, I’d often just drive the tractor around with the windows open. Hey, the weather was nice, the breeze was blowing, and the roar of a 180+ HP diesel engine wasn’t that loud, was it? After all, it had a muffler, not a straight pipe.

      Well, sure, it had a muffler on the stack. But the noise was still 82 dB. Being in a tractor cab for 10+ hours a day, exposed to 82 dB noise for hours on end… well, that adds up. Doing it day after day (eg, planting or harvest times) adds up even more. The hearing specialists I’ve consulted about my tinnitus have told me: “Some people get tinnitus suddenly, eg, from an explosion, being around tube artillery or bombs; more people get it after a lifetime exposure to lower levels of noise, day after day. One day, the ringing just doesn’t go away at night… or the next night, or any night thereafter.”

      I abused my ears with chronic industrial, driving, engine noise. I have always been very good about ear pro around guns – like since I was 10 years old. That one shot from a .338 was a highly irregular instance for me – and a really stupid one.

      But wear ear pro around “muffled” engines? Nope. Around industrial noise when I wasn’t the guy making the noise? Nope.

      Here’s another place I never thought of noise as “that loud:” Welding.

      In a TIG welding shop, while welding on aluminum, we discovered with a professional sound level meter that a typical AC arc TIG welding station exposes the ears of the welder to 95 to 100 dB sound. It doesn’t sound that loud, because it is so low in frequency (60 or 120 Hz). But it is there, nonetheless, the meter didn’t lie, and that is too loud for even one hour exposure. Loud, chronic sound exposure is everywhere – but sometimes you have to measure it to discover just how loud it really is. Another source: large HVAC and industrial ventilation systems.

      • I know I’ve said it before, but every time you post on this site I learn something new. Or, at the very least have a new appreciation for something I knew but took for granted somehow.

        Thank you.

      • Thank you to DG and Warren for their thoughts and insight, probably one of the most valuable pieces on TTAG ever.

        I get a lot of ribbing at work for wearing ear plugs when we do our firedrills and what not, but after watching what hearing loss did to my grandmother and now my mother (who also has bad tinnitus), I’ll take the ribbing and keep my ears from getting worse. All my hearing loss was from stupid kid shit, like cranking up music and loud cars, I don’t need to make it worse. (Seriously saving for Peltor Comtacs or MSA Sordins at this point for my over ears.)

  7. … and people scoff at suppressors. They take the edge off of shooting, even at indoor ranges.

    • I always double up at indoor ranges with plugs and muffs. I even wet my ear canal so the plugs swell more and seal. Many people do not use ear plugs properly. Last time I went shooting with my dad, his ear plug flew out like an ejected case. He was just folding them and putting them in the outer ear. I’m surprised he has any hearing left.

      • I only wear the triple flange rubber ear plugs (made by Peltor). IMO the foam plugs require the too much skill or the proper phase of the moon to seal your ear canal adequately. And like you I will double up with muffs indoors. I find that my safety glasses unseal the ear muffs too much for my liking.

        • I solved the ear muff problem by getting some racquet ball safety glasses at WalMart for a few dollars. They are made by Wilson and are clear and heavy duty. They use an elastic band to hold in place so no arms to unseal the muffs.

        • Get muffs with a neckband – it pretty much solves the problem with glasses / eye pro.

    • I’m going to start buying suppressors this year. Partly for business reasons (it helps business if I walk my talk), but for personal comfort and continued use of my ears. I do a lot of shooting in the winter in indoor ranges.

      I’ll likely buy a second Clark Custom barrel for my S&W Model 41, only longer, and I’ll turn down a thread profile on the front so I can put a can on it. It’ll be a bear to hold all that cantilevered mass out at arm’s length, but it will help me shoot without jacking up my ears on an indoor range.

      Another thing I’m going to do is get involved in noise reduction in range design. Ranges could be made so much more noise-absorbing than they are now.

      • Being a machinist, have you considered buying a stamp and some exotic alloys and ‘rolling your own’ can?

  8. I must say that I’m kind of surprised the reaction would be that………severe. You learn something new every day.

    That said I like to plug and muff at the range, last time I just muffed and it was not pleasant. It’s not really the loudness, but the concussion as mentioned.

  9. Thanks for sharing!

    Another consideration for those who are deaf – technology is advancing all the time to restore hearing to those deaf for various reasons. It would truly suck to find that you’d be a candidate for hearing restoration for some nerve condition, but you’d screwed your ears up due to loud noise exposure.

    I have moderate tinnitus in one ear – permanent. I also have a visual defect in the lower, inside quadrant of my dominant eye that has blown the peripheral vision in that zone. I’m all about preserving whatever bits of hearing and vision I can hang onto. If others want to look cool without eye or ear pro, fine – it’s yours to lose.

  10. Once the tinnitus starts, it never stops. Ask me how I know. If you think you can go without hearing and with tinnitus experience my life for a little while: Start a dog whistle app on your phone. Set it to 4500hz and max the volume before you turn it on. Leave it running like that all day, and all night. See if the rest of your life is an attractive amount of time to hear that.

    Oh yeah, and tinnitus doesn’t just mean a little squeal. Sometimes it peaks to a mind shattering loudness.

    Hearing impairment is the only disability that people normally get angry with you about. Something about repeating themselves. I don’t know for sure because they get sick of repeating themselves explaining it to me and go off in a huff before I ever find out the ending.

    • You and me both. Right about 4500 Hz. My notch in my right ear is a bit lower in frequency, but it is there, big and bold on the hearing test.

      • Do you guys get that thing where one ear goes completely silent and the other one gets a piercing squeal in it? I hate that.

        • About twice a year. When I describe this to hearing specialists, they look utterly baffled. When I describe it to other tinnitus sufferers, about half jump up and say “Yes, I get that too! What’s yours like?”

          I think if the medical people really want to learn something about tinnitus, they should invite a bunch of us down to a cattle-call type conference, serve us lunch and ask a lot of questions. I think the MD’s would learn a bunch of things if they did.

  11. I work in a noisy environment. OSHA requires us to use hearing protection. We take an audiogram annually. When I was hired, part of the training was a 10 minute video on the expandable earplugs. It was so boring that I actually recorded a 42 bpm heart rate. The two draft beers I had for lunch at Malone’s could have caused it. Anyway, I’ve been here 30 years and my hearing is as good as it was when I was 20.
    RF should do a supplement to this article with video instructions on proper usage of hearing protection. It’s overlooked to often. Many people just cram a foam earplug in without rolling it first. It won’t work like that. Others have arms on safely glasses that prevent a good seal with muffs. Any opening will let harmful noise in.

    • One of the other things I have to teach noobs how to do is straighten out their ear canal.

      When inserting foam plugs:

      1. You roll the plug lengthwise to make it narrower.
      2. You reach over the top of your skull with the opposite hand, and gently lift your ear by the earlobe upwards. This straightened out your ear canal.
      3. Now, with the same side hand as the ear into which you’re putting the foam plug, put in the plug.
      4. Release the top of your earlobe.
      5. Wait for the foam plug to expand, and seal your ear canal before shooting. In cold weather, this might take a minute or two.

      The slowness of application of foam plugs is why I now use custom-molded earplugs that I can just “screw in” with a quarter-turn, and they fill my ear canal completely. Yes, they cost money. What’s your hearing worth?

      • I work outside and when it is freezing, I take a breath through the mouth to dry my tongue then I pop the earplugs in my mouth for a few seconds to warm them up. 30 years at it so I learn all the tricks. If you can clearly hear high frequency sounds, such as birds chirping, you have a breach in the seal and need to reapply the earplug. A good sound test is to rub your fingers together right next to your ear but don’t touch the ear or plug and if you can hear the scuffing sound, then you don’t have a good seal. Every now and then, I put a couple drops of mineral oil in my ears to moisturize the canal and break down ear wax buildup. If your ear canal is wide or very dry, you will not be protected by most earplugs. I learned the clean water trick after putting in earplugs after a shower. Also, I see plugs on the wet ground that double in size when wet. Good protection is more about the seal than the insulation.

  12. Several members of my family are congenitally deaf. When I took them shooting the first time, I was a bit surprised that they all wanted to wear hearing protection. They explained that it could still hurt. Your article nicely amplified (heh) on that. Thanks!

  13. Thanks for the post! All the more reason we need to demand suppressors be removed from the idiotic NFA ’34.

    • Amen! Yes, release suppressors from the NFA. The feds should be sued for hurting people’s health, like they sued cigarette manufacturers.

  14. Sophomore year of high school I got a call from some classmates who had an extra ticket to a Metallica concert…the day of the concert. I had been to countless other metal shows at smaller venues without ear pro since 8th grade, so I said what the hell I won’t need ’em. I didn’t realize the kid whose father bought the tickets was financially well off, so when we sat down in row 20 I knew my ears were fvcked. When we left, the music that was playing at a comfortable volume on the car radio was totally inaudible. The following four days my ears rang so loud I hardly slept. My tinnitus is mild enough that I can only hear it if I really try to in a very quiet room. Once in a while one of my ears will suddenly ring for a good two or three minutes, but that’s it. I have never not worn at least one set of ears while shooting, even .22 LR, and always wear foam plugs to metal shows now. I am incredibly lucky. This excellent article and many other comments have completely reinforced the good habits I follow today.

    • Same thing happened to me after the first few rock concerts I went to. But I guess I’ve been lucky. Dozens of metal shows over the years (first rock concert was Rush back in 1989, last one was Kamelot & Dragonforce with my kids a few months ago), plus several years of playing in loud rock bands my own self and quite a few sessions shooting full-powered rifles and pistols — none of it with any sort of protection — and my hearing is still mostly okay.

      I do have tinnitus like you describe, but it’s actually oddly comforting to hear it humming in the background when everything else is quiet. It might not be so nice if it gets louder, though. And I’d like to be able to hear my grandkids someday. So I always use ear pro when I shoot these days. Should do the same at metal concerts, but I can’t bring myself to muffle any of that awesome sound.

  15. Warren – I too am profoundly deaf in both ears. Never wore ear protection at the range until one day, I stood too close to my cousin shooting a .38spl w/ +p loads. The shockwave/concussion was bad, like SOB bad. It felt like someone stabbed the inside of my ear with a sharp pencil. Lesson learned.

  16. If any MDs are reading this, I hope they will chime in.

    What I think *might* have been going on is you may have been feeling your eardrum.

    Ever stuck a Q-Tip or similar and it touched your eardrum? *Yeouch*

    Combine that with all the other structures in your inner ear that can sense pain but not sound, and that may have been what you experienced…

  17. Terrific article. I too worked in factories,worked with power tools and generally didn’t watch my hearing. Yeah I went to some loud concerts too. Now I have ringing in my ear in my 60’s. Need to go see a doctor. Good luck in the future!

  18. Right behind , “you can’t lose what you don’t have”, comes the phrase, ” you don’t know what you have to lose till you’ve lost it.”

    Here’s hoping you didn’t lose anything else …permanently. Thanks for the insight.

  19. Thanks for this very informative post.
    As a helicopter mechanic in the Army I wore hearing mprotection all day long sometimes because the airfield noise was terrible. Jet engines and the sounds of propellers and rotors blades combined!
    The Army really enforced wearing hearing protection.
    It was required at all weapons ranges. My ears are very appreciative now.

  20. Amazing post, thanks for the insight. Convinced me to go back to using hearing protection even with my 22 shorts.

  21. Great article!

    Tinnitus is something I live with too. Turns out an electric impact wrench is one of those long term exposure damage items.

    I can’t sleep in a ‘silent’ room anymore. I found that to sleep, I have to run a fan year round. The ‘whoosh’ sound a fan makes is enough to cover up the ringing. I never checked it’s dB. I probably should.

  22. I guess they call it ear protection (as opposed to hearing protection) for a reason.

    Thanks for sharing. What a profoundly interesting article.

  23. Thanks. Learned something new today. Yea it’s the indoor ranges that will really hurt. I was at an outdoor range next to a 308 bolt gun and I accidentally left my ear pros off. It hurt for a while…. but definitely not as bad if it were indoors.

  24. Hi Warren – I’m the photographer of the shot used at the beginning of this article, which was written for hearing protection. I also happen to be a teacher of the deaf, and I found your article particularly interesting. I will make sure my Deaf friend wears ear pro from now on.

  25. Since my permission wasn’t given to use the photo, could I at least be given photo credit? Jennifer Rice of 17 Acre Studio.

    • Jennifer, please know that I submitted this article without any images… any failure to give photo credit was not my decision. I’m sorry they didn’t ask prior to publication to use your photo, and failed to give credit after.

  26. I just saw on our local news channel some hearing impaired shooters taking a conceal carry class all while wearing hearing protection. I glibly laughed and asked why. So I googled and found your post. Thanks. I’m humbled, and I learned something too.

  27. Thank you for sharing. My infant may have hearing loss and since I have no experience with it, I appreciate the insight. I would have made the same assumption that hearing protection is just about hearing. And for some reason after wondering about her best avenues for employment and a fulfilling life, I needed to know about her range prospects 🙂

  28. Whoa… Thank you so much for sharing. I’m profoundly deaf. I love to shoot and I also work at a factory where hearing protection is required, which I have been wearing only sometimes because it seemed so dumb and pointless. I never realized they’re protecting more than just a person’s hearing.

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