Protect Your Hearing!
Our hearing is one of those things we take for granted until we lose it. Once we lose it, it’s lost forever. Hearing loss tends to be a gradual process over an extended period. However, you can suffer a permanent loss after just one exposure. Here are some common sounds measured in decibels (dB):
- 60 dB sewing machine
- 95 dB electric drill
- 120 dB ambulance sirens
- 143-170 dB rifles
- 160-170 dB shotguns
Let’s put this into perspective when it comes to firearms. According to Dr. William Clark, senior research scientist at the Noise Laboratory at the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, “the damage caused by one shot from a .357 magnum pistol, which can expose a shooter to 165 dB for 2msec, is equivalent to over 40 hours in a noisy workplace.”
Exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage your hearing. Everyone is different, so you never know what noise will damage your hearing. Keep in mind your AR15 in 5.56/.223 starts at 158 dB.
Preventing Hearing Loss
Obviously, the best way to prevent hearing loss is never to expose yourself to anything that would cause it in the first place. The next best thing is to wear hearing protection. If you are going to shoot, especially in an indoor range, some suggest you should wear hearing protecting with a rating of no less than 25 dB. There are three common types of hearing protection; earplugs, passive ear muffs, and electronic ear muffs.
Of all the choices, earplugs are the most economical, relatively easy to put in and take out, and don’t take up a lot of space. Another plus is earplugs don’t interfere with prescription or safety glasses. These days, earplugs are no longer just pieces of foam that you plug into your ear. Manufacturers now use high-end modern materials. These materials include medical grade products that mold to your ear, and are long-lasting.
Passive Ear Muffs
Passive ear muffs provide shooters with comfortable ear protection because they have soft padding that fits over the ear. They provide better hearing protection than earplugs but cost more. At Live Free Armory, we recommend that you use a combination of earplugs and passive ear muffs to protect your hearing.
Electronic Ear Muffs
Unlike passive ear muffs, electronic ear muffs use technology to regulate sound. This is by far, the most expensive option reaching over $300.00 in some product lines. One of the benefits of electronic ear muffs is being able to hear regularly when you wear them. When the ear muffs sense the change in noise level, they help block it out and go back to normal when the noise has dissipated. In a way, you get two for the price of one. If the batteries run out, electronic ear muffs revert to being passive, so you still have protection.
Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
NRR ratings can be very confusing because the numbers are misleading. The NRR rating is not a true number. Once you use their formula, the true value is approximately cut in half. The highest rating for earplugs is around 33. The highest rating for ear muffs is around 36. Higher end protection offers more than a rating of 36. Other than getting the highest rating you can afford, as stated earlier, try using at least 25 dBs for indoor range work. Shooting out in the open is a bit more forgiving, but you should still consider hearing protection that is no less than 25dB.
If you’d like more information or have any questions, feel free to email me at Murgado.firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember that Live Free Armory is here to help you whether you choose to buy from us or not. We believe that obtaining the right information should always be your first step.