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Most men that come to see me for hearing help, have some noise induced hearing loss. They may have worked in a factory with lots of workplace noise or they have noisy hobbies like woodworking or hunting. Noise induced hearing loss is one type of hearing loss that can be prevented.
When asked if they ever shoot guns, and they reply that they do. I ask them if they always use ear protection. Most of the men that shoot at shooting ranges, say that they wear earmuffs on the range, but they admit that they do not wear ear protection while they are hunting. They say, “When I hunt, I don’t shoot that much.” Did you know that it only takes one gun shot to destroy the high frequency hearing, which in turn makes it difficult for you to understand speech, and difficult to hear women and children due to their high pitch voices? I know some of you men may not like hearing your wife, but it sure makes you sad when you can’t hear your young children or grandchildren.
So yes, Hunters you do need ear protection. Hearing loss can be prevented by using ear plugs or earmuffs when engaging in excessively noisy activities. Foam earplugs can offer some ear protection; however, they are designed for one time use only. These generic ear plugs offer an uncomfortably poor fit, are difficult to insert and seat properly, and offer a lot less protection than custom ear plugs.
Earmuffs are an excellent alternative as well as electronic shooter earplugs. Electronic shooters plugs offer a little amplification to hear the deer and a very quick attack on the gun shot noise to protect your hearing.
Custom earplugs can be solid silicon offering an NRR rating of 28dB to 32dB noise reduction. These can be made to order in house at Welsch Hearing Aid Company or ordered from many vendors. One type of custom shooters earplugs made by Emtech, have a metal valve in them. When wearing these you can hear the people you are with and when the gun goes off, the valve shuts preventing the sound from going into the ear.