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My path to partial deafness began in 1965 in the Navy when I had to qualify with the .45 Auto pistol. Indoor range, no eye protection unless you needed glasses to see, and no hearing protection. After that episode, I had ringing for the next 3 weeks, and the only "cure" was the advice from the ship's medic - "Try to blow your nose while you pinch the nostrils shut". The procedure only diminished the volume of the ringing for about 30 seconds. This, coupled with the sounds of the 5-inch guns directly aft of our flight deck, and the horrendous whine of jet turbine engines doomed me to a lifetime of "What?". Fast forward though the next 40 years of working in a jet-engine-parts machine shop listening to metal being cut at high speed. It wasn't until the last 10 years that hearing protection was mandated by the state health department, but the damage was done many years before that. These days, I can't hear violins playing, various alarms, like smoke detectors, and voices on the TV unless I crank up the volume, or suffer through wearing wireless headphones when the wife complains.
The ears have the ability to turn down the volume of loud noises automatically, however, it can't turn it back up. <HEAVY SIGH>
 

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Hearing protection cannot be over stressed! Everytime you get that "ringing" in your ears, from whatever loud noise, you are causing permanent damage to your hearing. For a while, the ringing will stop after a peroid of time but eventually it won't stop and you'll be listening to it the rest of your life! Having been around the three worst - jet airplanes, guns and loud music - my hearing is horrible, with way to many "What's" and "Huh's." And take notice, there is no cure! Some of it depends on the firearm and a fair bit depends on the caliber... for some reason, I find .223 downright painful! For anything other than hunting, where you should use electronic muffs if legal or at least plugs, plugs and muffs are a necessity with anything other than .22 LR. Personally, I used both even for a .22. This is especially important for the younger kids! When you have to travel to shoot, hearing protection for everyone should be the #1 item on the list!
Cheers,
crkckr
 

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I think of this a lot when I watch a TV show involving a gunfight in an enclosed area. I know it is just TV, but I am a stickler for realism. No mention of hearing damage, or reaction of the actors. But just feeling the concussion from firing of handguns in an inside range makes me realize that doing that without protection would be extremely unpleasant at the very least, with permanent hearing loss a likely result.
 
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Once when I was overseas, I went to the outdoor range to practice instinctive hip shooting at a close target.

Got everything ready, did a couple of dry draws. Time to go live...

First shot: Bang! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! (the sound in my left ear). I sheepishly looked around to see if anybody saw me, then I holstered my pistol, reached up to my head, and put my muffs on. Boy, did I feel dumb!

I couldn't hear for a few days out of my left ear after that.
 

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When I was in, we had ear pro in basic training, but not in-country. That's why so many Vietnam vets are darn near deaf. Fast forward to now. My son's in. Whenever they left the FOB in Iraq or Afghanistan, everybody was required to wear eye & ear pro, and a ballistic plate in their body armor. Platoon leaders and sergeants had to make sure everyone was equipped. The ear pro they were issued are the ones you see on TV these days, the ones that are the target of a class action suit because they don't work. That said, I don't know if these guys are any better off than we were.
 

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One of the worst things I ever did was to fire a Walther model 5 .25 acp without hearing protection. It's not that big a round... is it? I think it was louder than my .45 P-90!
 

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One of the worst things I ever did was to fire a Walther model 5 .25 acp without hearing protection. It's not that big a round... is it? I think it was louder than my .45 P-90!
I think the worst round I've fired was a .22 Mag out of a revolver. That sound has a frequency pitch that could penetrate steel. It felt like an ice pick was suddenly shoved into my ear.
 

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I guess I'm not the only one that gets serenaded by the charming tinnitus ... I've always used hearing protection when target shooting, I guess nothing stops it completely ... the noise that is. My hearing is bad enough that I can't hear the beeping of the electronic thermometer, wife and son find great humor in that ...
 

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I too have government incurred hearing loss. In real life ear plugs don't enter your mind as far as putting them on before pulling the trigger. I kept mine on my web belt in a clear plastic case but unless I was walking toward a aircraft with its engines running, I usually never had the time to use them. A M-16 is a bit loud, louder than our .38s, but out other weapons were louder, the M-60 for example. The quietest things we had were the 40mm grenades launchers, M-148, M-79, and M-174.You didn't need protection from those. When you get into the 41 magnum, the sound and shock wave, not to mention the fire from the cylinder and barrel will increase quite a bit, as well as recoil. Some police departments went for the 41, like San Antonio P.D. It gives a good solid hit and isn't as fierce as the 44 mag. The 44 magnum is as far as I will go with a handgun. It's a small cannon with a incredible amount of power to put on a target. The noise alone is completely different from the other mentioned weapons. I've ween people who were surprised by the power of a 357, afraid to even try a 44 when they saw the size of the round. I would have loved to be able to carry a 44 magnum while I was in S.E.A.
 

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Went to the range with co-workers a couple times before COVID. All shooting 9mm, 380, etc. I started with 9mm and then swapped cylinders in my Blackhawk and fired off some nice hot .357 (H110 max load). The next time they asked if I brought my 'canon' again.
 

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I've had tinnitus all my life (got it from a two-day 105 fever during the 1957 flu). Somehow managed to compensate for it and was a successful live sound mixer and studio owner for over 25 years. Musicians told me I had "the best ears". Little did they know. I have always worn plugs or muffs (or both) when shooting, and keep a set of plugs at every home space I keep a gun.
Then one day two years ago I had an AD unloading my Ruger American 45 at home. My left ear is now much duller than my right. And the tinnitus pitch changed...
 

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I am religious about it now. I wear hearing protection on my motorcycle (under an expensive helmet), on the tractor, during all shooting except deer hunting (which I am starting to use protection this season), at work, operating my boat, using power tools. Our safety guy tells us if we need to raise our voice to be heard over a background noise, that the noise is loud enough for hearing protection.

I guess I am lucky, my years of miss-treating my ears has left me with only mild tinnitus, but my hearing is still extremely good. My hunting buddy calls me radar because I can hear ducks on the wing before anybody else in the boat.
 

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My hearing was shot by the time I was 20 and I didn't really know it. At 16 I spent a summer running a dozen with no muffler just a straight pipe. Then I bought a series of hot rods with headers and straight pipes. Since the cars were so load I had to have a butt kicking stereo. Always wore ear pro while shooting everything but .22 rifles but got caught of guard a few times. You never quite jump as high as when you're packing up when your buddy decides to fire off a Jennings .22 right behind you. I have no idea what he was thinking but he didn't have any ear pro on either and only shot one round.

Tried to join the reserve when I was 30 and failed the exam on hearing and blood pressure. Good news was when I 42 and had a stroke the meds they gave me cleared up the ringing...for a month then it came back.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
I have a pair of the Electronic Earmuffs. I have tried it both ways, on and off. It seems about the same. It just seems logical that the sound would be quieter turned off. Is that right?
 

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My hearing loss came from factory work. 80% of the machines I worked around were air actuated. Company laughed at us if we complained about the noise level. In the mid 80's they started strongly suggesting we wear ear protection and by then started supplying ear plugs. Shoot BP in the 80's and spent 7 to 8 hours on the firing line at Friendship it did not take long to figure out ear protection was a must. Now have Meniere's disease in right ear affects balance and hearing. Hearing aid most likely went work so not interested in even going that route right now and wasting the money.
Golden years my ass.
 

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aaarrgh. I just have to add a "me too."
65 years old, probably 40+ of them ear pounded by LOUD music and LOUD motorcycles. Then about 20 years ago I had a favorite Daewoo .223 folding stock before ARs were kewl. Same thing, left the muffs on the tailgate. 1 round. That's all, just one.

Now the sound in my ears "has a good beat, but you can't dance to it" and the hearing aids just make conversation sound like talking in a metal garbage can. Save 'em while you got 'em people. I hate having to look at grand kid's lips to try to discern the new English :cautious:

-jb, huh?
 

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I always wore the issued orange triple-flange earplugs the Army issued for qualifications, and they worked well for over 20 years. When I shoot my own weapons, I double up, adding earmuffs, especially indoors.

I did, however, get some severe muffling in my ears for a day when I fired my .357 Magnum at a hog. After that, I started wearing electronic earplugs. I want to preserve my hearing.
 

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I have a genetic condition that makes me extremely sensitive to sharp, loud noises. Firecrackers, car backfiring, even reciprocating aircraft engines... all make me have mild and controllable panic attack. I have to wear hearing protection. I put my earmuffs on at the driveway to the shooting range. When I was in the Military, they had never heard of hearing protection. Some guys put fired cartridges in their ears to deaden the sound, but it didn't seem to do anything for me. The physical I had before discharge rated me "within standards" I have always questioned that. Now, the VA provides me with great hearing aids, which doesn't help my right side "shooting ear" very much.
 

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I don't remember using ear plugs ever in the army. (66/68)rifles, machineguns, 106 recoiless, 3.5 rocket launcher. In Vietnam, .50 for the whole year as well as a pair of M60s just behind me. On an artillery base for several months, 105s, 155s, 175s and 8" guns not to mention the 90MMs on out tanks. Don't hear well but the Tinnitis is the worst thing.
 
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