Hi my name is John O’Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  Over the past few years I have become more and more interested in hearing loss.  My father and grandfathers, who are and were all hunters, are affected by hearing loss.  I feel that there is a general lack of understanding around the issue and it is our job to spread awareness where we can. Check out my new blog at bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com!


Protecting Your Hearing While Hunting

Hunting is a hobby, sport and way of life in many parts of the world.  Some hunt for meat while others hunt for trophy’s like the horns or the antlers.  One thing all hunters have in common is the risk of hearing loss due to the sound of the rifle or gun they are using.  The risk of hearing loss is not just for the one who is shooting the shooting, in fact, it can happen to anyone who is standing around the shooter, therefore, anyone who is around the shooter should take precautions to protect their hearing. My father for many years neglected his hearing while out in the woods and now is severely affected by hearing loss and wears hearing aids to help him hear better.  His doctors say that, although not the only cause, hunting has played a major role in damaging his hearing levels. There are some things that hunters and recreational shooters can do to reduce the risk of hearing loss and protect their hearing for the future.

Ear Plugs

Earplugs are one of the most popular things that help to protect hearing while shooting.  They are small pieces of foam that mold to the shape of the inner ear to help cushion any sounds that cause hearing loss.  These plugs can fit directly into anyone’s ears, from small children to adults and the price for the plugs are typically very cheap.

The earplugs are easy to use and allow the user to continue to hear the things going on around them while protecting their hearing from the loud shot of the gun.  These are one of the more popular types of hearing protection although they are not as effective as some of the other options.

Earmuffs and Electronic Earmuffs

Earmuffs are more effective than the earplugs although they are bulky and they eliminate all sounds.  The typical earmuffs are placed over the ears and protect the hearing the best from even the loudest noise.  While these work great for those who are simply shooting at a gun range for a short period of time, hunters who are out in the woods for hours at a time do not like them because of the weight and the fact that they cannot hear anything around them.

Electronic earmuffs are the newest craze that shooters and hunters are enjoying.  These feature all of the benefits of the traditional earmuffs as far as protection for the hearing although it adds a bonus.  These earmuffs can detect certain sounds like a normal speaking voice so that the user can still listen to their surroundings while protecting their hearing.

Avoid Shooting Inside

Many shooting ranges offer indoor shooting.  This is a great benefit for many shooting enthusiasts who do not want to brave the hard winters in their area to shoot but they want to remain accurate.  The downside is that shooting in enclosed environments create an echo that amplifies the sound of the gun which also damages hearing, even when precautions are taken.

It is extremely important to protect hearing from the start.  Once a portion of the hearing is lost, it cannot be regenerated; it is simply gone.  Earmuffs, electronic earmuffs or ear plugs should be worn every time a gun is fired, whether you are hunting for food or shooting at a range for sport.


Contact one of Chamber Members if you are concerned about your hearing!