Summer and fall are the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors. But could your favorite outdoor activities be putting your hearing at risk?.
Loud noises associated with outdoor activities, such as motorsports, hunting, or recreational shooting can be very intense, even if brief. To understand how intense these sounds can be, it is helpful to understand how sound intensity is measured.
Sound intensity is measured in decibels (dB). An everyday conversation typically measures around 60 dB, while a gunshot coming from a .22 caliber rifle will generate around 140dB. Loud sounds such as a gunshot can damage hearing in less than 15 minutes, resulting in noise induced hearing loss.
But sound intensity is not the only factor to be aware of. Even regular exposure to sounds as low as 85 dB can cause hearing loss. This is why it is important to take proper safety precautions when participating in activities involving loud noises.
Best Practices For Hearing Protection When Hunting or Outdoors
Hunting and spending time in the great outdoors can be exhilarating and enjoyable. By understanding the risks of exposure to loud noises and taking steps to protect your ears, you can continue to enjoy your favorite outdoor activities while minimizing the risk of hearing damage.
Here are some important things you should know about protecting your ears while hunting or enjoying the outdoors:
- Wear hearing protection: The most effective way to protect your ears from loud noises is to wear hearing protection. Earplugs and earmuffs are both effective at reducing the level of sound that reaches your ears. When choosing earplugs or earmuffs, look for products with a high noise reduction rating (NRR). The higher the NRR, the more effective the hearing protection.
- Properly insert earplugs: When using earplugs, it is important to insert them properly. Roll the earplug between your fingers to compress it, and then insert it into your ear canal. Once inserted, hold the earplug in place for a few seconds to allow it to expand and create a proper seal.
- Choose the right type of earmuffs: Earmuffs come in different styles and designs. Some are designed for use in specific environments, such as shooting ranges or hunting. Choose earmuffs that are comfortable to wear and provide a good seal around your ears.
- Limit exposure to loud noises: While wearing hearing protection is essential, it is also important to limit your exposure to loud noises. Take breaks from shooting or other loud activities to give your ears a rest. Also, be aware of other sources of loud noise, such as boat engines or ATV’s, and take steps to protect your ears in those situations as well.
- Get your hearing checked regularly: It is a good idea to have your hearing checked regularly, especially if you spend a lot of time in noisy environments. A hearing test can detect early signs of hearing loss, allowing you to take steps to prevent further damage.
Protection Practice Makes Perfect
Once you select a hearing protection option, consider the following:
- Practice wearing your new hearing protection, just as you practice your aim. Make it part of your routine. A good time to start is during target practice or sighting.
- Always have disposable hearing protection like foam earplugs handy.
- Consider double-protecting your ears by wearing muffs over plugs.
- Avoid shooting in locations where noise reverberates in the space.
Need Help? Have a Question? Contact Us Today!
In conclusion, protecting your ears while hunting or enjoying the outdoors is essential for maintaining good hearing health. If you need help choosing hearing protection or need to schedule a hearing exam, please contact the team at Regional Hearing and Balance Center today. Call us at 208-497-3596 or click here to book a complimentary hearing assessment.