Starkey Blog

Hunting and Hearing Loss

Hunting and shooting are one of the most popular past-times for men in America. But, shooting any type of firearm without the proper hearing protection can result in severe damage to your hearing, whether temporary or permanent.

A study by the University of Wisconsin found that men aged 48 to 92 who hunted regularly were more likely to experience high-frequency hearing loss, a risk that increased seven percent for every five years a man had been hunting. 

But what’s really alarming is that of the 3,753 study participants (83 percent of whom were eligible), “38 percent of the target shooters and 95 percent of the hunters reported never wearing hearing protection while shooting in the past year.”

One shot from a gun can range from 140 to 190 decibels, and can cause immediate damage to one’s hearing.

Avid hunter and writer for Outdoor News, Kristen Monroe, can attest to just how damaging a single shot can be; she’s ruptured her ear drum a couple of times. “I don’t think they all know that it really only takes one shot at the right angle to ruin your hearing and cause permanent ringing,” Monroe said of why hunters often overlook hearing protection. Monroe herself used to avoid using hearing protection because it got in the way while shooting, but said that since using SoundGear, she’s not only been able to protect her hearing but also not worry about the devices getting in the way while shooting.

So beyond the obvious use of hearing protection (a must if shooting any time of firearm), what are some tips to help protect your hearing while out hunting or shooting?

Silence That Shot!

Unless it’s illegal in your state, consider using a gun suppressor—or silencer—to help reduce the volume of a gunshot. Silencers offer some relief for your ears by helping to stabilize the loud propellant gases firearms produce when fired. It should be noted, however, that not all states allow silencers and that silencers don’t mean hearing protection can be avoided.

Take A Break

Even with the best hearing protection, long-term exposure to firearms can cause temporary or permanent damage. It may not be obvious at first, but any exposure to dangerous sounds can result in hearing damage. Over time, as the damage builds up, your hearing will decline. Consider taking breaks between rounds to help give  your ears a chance to decompress. SoundGear helps reduce sounds above 95dB while enhancing conversational and natural sounds, so even when you take a break from shooting, you don’t have to take your hearing protection out. This ensures that if someone else decides to keep shooting nearby your ears don’t get hurt in the process!

Keep Them On or In!

Just because you aren’t shooting, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be wearing hearing protection. If you are out hunting with a group or standing to wait your turn at a shooting range, keep your hearing protection on or in your ears. You may not be shooting but your ears are still being exposed to harmful levels of sound. 

But I’m Using a Bow…

If you’re out hunting with a bow hearing protection may still be necessary. Often times, you aren’t the only one out hunting, and if someone close by is using a firearm, your ears are still susceptible to damage. This is one of the reasons why SoundGear is so great. Unlike other hearing protection products that muffle all sound, SoundGear only reduces sound 95dB and over. And because it amplifies other natural sounds, not only are you protecting your ears from nearby shots, you’re also giving yourself a better chance at hearing approaching game.

To best protect your hearing while hunting or shooting, check out SoundGear, digital hearing protection that enhances environmental sounds and decreases the dangerous high-decibel sounds. Learn more about SoundGear here

By: Sarah Bricker