How Shooting Sports Lead to Hearing Loss

  1. Beltone Audiology | Shooting Sports

Numerous studies show that gunshot noises can damage hearing. No matter what type of gun it is, all gunshot sounds can result in damage to cells in the inner ear. A large gun such as a shotgun gives off a loud boom sound, which is a burst of energy that can shake up the eardrums, and tiny bones that are located in the inner ear. It can also damage the fluid-filled organ called cochlea. The cochlea is a snail shaped organ with large numbers of little hair like formations that delivers sounds from the outside place into electric impulses the brain can understand. The system is a very complex system in which even a small amount of damage can cause hearing loss.

Gunshots can produce a large amount of sound especially if the noise is right by the ear. When looking at decibels (a measurement used to decide how loud a sound is) shotguns, rifles, and pistols pump out 100 decibels each time the gun is fired. For comparison, a large town bus when pulling off gives out 90 decibels. A huge twin-engine jet can give out a roaring sound of 110 decibels. And a live musical concert with a loud crowd issues a sound of 130 decibels.

So how can you protect your ears and still enjoy hunting? Be sure to buy the right equipment. Consider over-the-ear cups, which can provide additional protection for your ears. Even though sports shooters find the headphones uncomfortable, these special cups can block the sound wave that a rifle emits. Another option to protect your ears is standard-issue earmuffs.

Looking at the cause of hearing impairment due to shooting sports is very important. If you enjoy hunting ear protection is very important avoiding any ear trauma and damage to your precious ears.