November 20, 2013
As hunting season officially gets underway, millions of outdoorsmen and women are routinely packing their gear in hopes of landing their prize. While things like vests, hats and gloves easily come to mind, another safety feature can be commonly overlooked: hearing protection.
Avid hunters who do not wear hearing protection are not only at risk of developing hearing loss—they may already have it.
According to the National Council for Better Hearing the most common type of hearing loss suffered by hunters is sensorineural hearing loss. It occurs when inner ear nerves are damaged and cannot transmit sound signals to the brain. Repeated exposure to loud noises, such as gunfire, can cause cells in the inner ear to wither and gradually lose their ability to detect sounds properly.
Generally, exposure to a sound over 85 decibels is harmful to the ears. A 12-gauge shotgun comes in at 165 decibels.
Luckily, there are many different styles of hearing protection available to hunters today. From ear plugs to headphones, there is a protective device to suit anyone’s comfort and style to ensure they will be enjoying the sounds of the great outdoors for years to come.