Sunday, December 16, 2012

Guest Blog: Hearing Protection During the Big Hunt

About a week ago John O'Connor, a fellow blogger, contacted me about sharing a post on hearing loss here on SUH&F.  This is kind of a new direction for us, going down a road we have never been down here, but I think you will find this post very useful and informative.  In fact, after reading this article I have the desire to write more posts on health, physical conditioning, and even a bit of nutrition when it comes to being in the outdoors.  This is a great post, and really hits home to me as I know several individuals close to me that struggle with hearing loss.  Just to clarify to my wife, this does not apply to my "selective hearing", as she knows I wear hearing protection when I shoot, so this information probably won't help much around the house! 

I would like to thank John for the post!  Enjoy.


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!



Hearing Protection During the Big Hunt

The fall season means a lot of different things for a lot of different people.  However, most people will agree that for the avid outdoorsman, fall means hunting season.  Hunters get very anxious when the leaves begin to change colors, the air becomes a little cooler, and all of the sporting goods shops have all of the latest gear for them to use on their hunting trips.  As they head to these shops and begin to purchase their hunting gear, few hunters remember to purchase hearing protection.  They often remember to buy their new guns, ammunition and camouflage but hearing protection is often thrown on the back burner.  As a hunter, it is our job to consistently remember to not only have our hearing devices with us while hunting but also to always have it on.

To stress how important hearing protection really is, my father who was a hunter for many years and a frequent goer to the shooting range, often did not pay much attention at all to his hearing while shooting his guns.  Now many years later he is paying the price for his actions.  Affected severely by hearing loss, he wears a hearing aid in each ear to amplify sounds around him.  Although not the only cause of his hearing loss, his doctor did say that hunting played a major role in his decreased levels of hearing.  Even in his 70’s he still likes to get out and practice with his guns, but he always makes sure that he has his hearing aids in and hearing protection on to ensure proper protection.

If there is one thing that will make a hunting trip successful, that one thing is being able to hear the sounds of the animals.  Not only does a hunter need to hear the sounds of the animals, but he or she will also need to hear other hunters or other vehicles that are nearby.  If hearing protection is not worn during a hunt, the hunter risks damaging their ears and eventually not being able to hear these things. A gun produces a gunshot with a decibel of at least 140.  Most experts note that anything over 85 dB will significantly damage someone’s hearing.

It does not require changes in someone’s usual hunting routines for him or her to protect his or her hearing.  The easiest thing for these hunters to do is wear hearing protection.  Hearing protection for a hunting trip will consist of earplugs, earmuffs, or electronic earmuffs.  The earplugs can be worn alone or in conjunction with the earmuffs and electronic earmuffs.  The type of hearing protection device the hunter chooses to wear depends on the hunter’s preference; however, experts recommend that hunters wear both earplugs and earmuffs to reduce the chances of hearing damage.  Experts also recommend that everyone on the hunting trip wear hearing protection as well. 

Hunters should not worry about not being able to hear the game if they are wearing hearing protection.  Certain hearing protection devices have been designed to allow hunters to hear their game and others around them and protect their hearing from the sound of gunfire at the same time.  Specifically electronic earmuffs allow sounds in up to 80 dB and cancel out any sounds that exceed this level. 

All hunters should make the mart decision and invest in hearing protection devices.  If not, they risk the chances of losing their hearing for the future.