Hunting season has arrived, and while you might be excited to head out to the woods, don’t forget to think about your hearing health, and make the right call. While we often assume that only seniors struggle with hearing loss, the truth is that you could irreparably damage your hearing after just one day of hunting.
Hunters and Hearing Loss
While we all think construction workers, factory workers, or farmers are the most at risk of hearing loss, some leisure activities can be deadly for your hearing. Hunting is one high risk activity that can permanently damage your hearing if you’re not wearing ear protection. Most shooters would never dream of spending an afternoon at the gun range without their earmuffs securely in place, but when they spot a bird or deer, all percussion goes to the wind. Sadly, each shot chips away at one of the most valuable hunting tools; the ability to hear.
Most hunters know they should be protecting their hearing, but think that earplugs will make it difficult to hear subtle sounds, like the snap of a twig or rustling behind a bush that could signal approaching prey. Even if hunters are wearing protection some of the time, they might remove it to change locations or reset. If an animal comes within range during that time, no hunter wants to risk spooking the animal by inserting earplugs, and will often take a shot even if they know they’re damaging their hearing.
Bird hunters are especially at risk of hearing loss, since they shoot multiple rounds every day. Waterfowl hunters in a blind, for example, risk damage not only from the sounds of their own gun, but also the deafening sounds from their partners guns.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Noise induced hearing loss is hearing loss caused by exposure to dangerously loud noises, such as emergency sirens, fireworks, or jet engines. Gunshots are also extremely loud, and a single is around about 140 decibels! This is louder than a jackhammer, or most heavy machinery, and even worse, its right beside your ear. One shot can cause permanent hearing loss, and spending a weekend hunting without hearing protection will do a lot of damage.
Protecting Your Hearing
One way to protect your hearing is with foam ear plugs. These sit in your ear canal, and reduce all the sounds around you, making sure the rifle shot doesn’t do any damage to your ears. If you choose to hunt with foam plugs, make sure you’ve inserted them correctly. Foam earplugs can easily work their way out of your ears, and you might not have the protection you need.
Digital Hearing Protection
Hunters are often reluctant to wear hearing protection since they’re worried it will block out the subtle sounds they’re listening for. Hearing the faint rustling behind the trees could make all the difference in a successful shot. That’s why digital hearing protection is the best way to protect your hearing this hunting season. Digital hearing aids are custom fit, comfortable, and reliable. They’ll allow you to hear the snap of a twig or the twittering of the birds, but the moment a shot goes off your ear plugs will activate and reduce that sound to safe levels so you won’t be damaging your hearing. You can enjoy the sounds around you, have a conversation with your friend, and have a successful hunt, all without compromising your hearing.
Custom digital hearing protection is the most comfortable, and offers the best fit, but you can also find digital technology in wearing muffs. Whether at the gun range or in the forest, you’ll hear all the sounds you’re straining to hear, but protect your ears from the loud gunshot. Digital technology doesn’t have to be expensive, and some in the canal models are ready to wear straight out of the box. Like earbuds, they have rubber covers of several sizes, so you can choose the one with the best fit, and experience quality ear protection.
Treating Hearing Loss
Hunters, protect your hearing this hunting season! If you haven’t been wearing hearing protection and are struggling to hear, then visit us at Hearing Health. Our team of hearing specialists will help you find the perfect device to hear all the sounds you’ve been missing.