Do You Need Hearing Protection at the Range?

smiling man wearing hearing protection

It’s important to look after all aspects of our health, including our hearing. While our ears are amazingly designed, they’re also pretty sensitive, so even small amounts of damage can have long-lasting consequences. Whenever you’re in an environment that has loud noises, you should do everything you can to protect your ears from the noise. This is true whether you’re at a concert, a loud working environment or the gun range. If you’ve been to the range before, then you’ll know just how loud a firearm can be when it’s discharged. 

The Dangers of Shooting Without Hearing Protection 

You can view the dangers of shooting without hearing protection just by looking at the numbers. Anything over 85 decibels is unconsidered unsafe. When you fire a weapon, the noise levels can be between 140-170 decibels. At the top of the scale, that’s double what the safe exposure to noise is. A firearm shot can have your ears ringing, and in truth, even just one shot can damage an ear. And the risk is even more pronounced if you’re repeatedly exposed to the sound of firearm shots.

So, what kind of damage could occur? The damage to the ear could, over time, result in hearing loss. You may also experience tinnitus, which is a kind of ringing or buzzing that occurs inside the ear. While tinnitus isn’t a serious medical condition, it can be frustrating to live with. The best way to avoid this issue is to invest in hearing protection. 

Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can take different forms. In most cases, hearing loss is a gradual process that takes place over a period. For other people, it’s an instant process. If you’re experiencing tinnitus, then that’ll be a telltale sign that you’ve damaged your ears. Other symptoms of ear damage include:

  • Finding it difficult to hear people when they talk.
  • Listening to the radio/TV at a louder volume than normal.
  • Temporary complete hearing loss. This can come back, but it’ll be important to get your hearing checked out. 

How to Protect Yourself

If you’re going to fire a weapon, then it’s essential that you protect your ears with hearing protection. There are many options available, such as earmuffs. You can also find hearing protection that has been designed specifically with firearms in mind. This is the case when it comes to hearing protection for hunting. If you’re unsure of which product will be right for you, then be sure to speak to an audiologist. 

If You’re Experiencing Hearing Loss

If you think that you’ve damaged your ears, then be sure to make an appointment with an audiologist at the earliest convenience. They’ll be able to give you a test that will determine whether there is damage and, if so, the extent of the damage. If there is, then the audiologist will also provide treatment options. This may involve getting a hearing aid fitted or offer some lifestyle tips that help to make the effects of tinnitus more manageable.