Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Story of Hunting and Hearing Loss

Todays post is by guest writter John O'Connor.  John is a father, outdoorsman and is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.   Check out his new blog at!
I come from a big family that loved different sports. My siblings and I were all involved in various activities, so it was rare that we ever got to spend quality time together. Because of that, I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with my father, especially when we would go hunting. It was like we were a two-man-team by ourselves in the woods. We had fun and we learned much about each other during those days.

We also felt we were fully prepared for our hunting trips. But were we? We had the guns, the ammunition and the high-tech gear. However, we didn't have everything we needed, such as hearing protection. Back then, we never really gave it much thought, but now we realize how important hearing protection really is.

Now, my father is in his 70s and wears a hearing aid to help him hear. Though hunting wasn't the main reason he lost his hearing, his doctor does admit that it was a major contributor. The lack of protection over a long period of time finally took its toll on my father's hearing.

We often forget to take precautions to things like hearing protection because we don't realize its importance. We protect our body because any damage to it can cause an immediate threat. Hearing loss happens overtime, so we don't keep it at the front of our mind.

The Dangers Of Firearms

The sound of a shotgun puts out around 166 decibels (DB). The average person only speaks at sounds around 50 DB. The human ear can only take loud sounds for so long before it starts losing its function.

Moreover, if you practice your aim at an indoor shooting range, the sound is amplified and bounces off the walls. This can cause even further damage to your hearing if you are not using the proper protection.


Earplugs are the standard protection for hunters. They are often made out of foam, and they block the loud sounds of a gunshot, helping reduce the amount of DBs that enter your eardrum. Earplugs are cost effective, but don't offer the greatest protection.


Earmuffs offer greater protection than earplugs, but for many hunters, they work too well. In other words, hunters usually have a hard time hearing their partners. The clamshell design blocks many frequencies of sound from entering the ear. That is why I personally use electronic earmuffs.

Electronic Earmuffs

If you are serious about hunting and your hearing, then you should absolutely invest in a pair of electronic headphones. These high-tech gadgets block the dangerous levels of DBs from entering your ears, but also amplify low levels of sound to help you hear people around you.

Your hearing is more important than you think, so take the proper precautions when you are going to engage in an activity that involves loud sounds. You don't have to sacrifice your fun, but you do have to be safe as well.


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