Hearing loss

Hearing loss

This is a discussion on Hearing loss within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hey everyone, I have been thinking, I bought a .45 a few months ago and have been keeping that next to my bed at night. ...

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Thread: Hearing loss

  1. #1
    Member Array jhfox462's Avatar
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    Hearing loss

    Hey everyone,
    I have been thinking, I bought a .45 a few months ago and have been keeping that next to my bed at night. Now, obvioulsly I would fire it if I had to at an intruder. What I was thinking about though was whether or not that would blow out my ear drums?
    Awhile ago I fired my walther p22 at the range without hearing protecting to see how loud it was and it made my ears ring. I can't imagine how loud a .45 would be in an enclosed area.
    What do you think?
    Benjamin Franklin once said, "he that would supplant a little liberty for a little safety deserves neither".

  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Heheheh! Unless you're shooting really hot .45s, its still subsonic, with decent powder-burn, so it won't be as bad as +P 9mm/.38Spl/.357, but it will ring your bell.

    DON'T SHOOT WITHOUT HEARING PROTECTION! EVER! It would be bad enough to be saying, "Wha'?", to everyone after defending yourself- worse to be saying that when the BG says he's gonna cap yo' a**. Hearing is another part of your defensive physique to be maintained.

  3. #3
    VIP Member (Retired Staff) Array P95Carry's Avatar
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    I am amazed my hearing is still very fair, tho some loss on left. Considering back in early 60's shooting MkIV Enfields at Bisley we had no ear protection - at best a twist of cleaning patch in each ear

    So - protection is way to go every time - except if you have to fire inside a house, car, whatever - you will probably suffer some effects. It is most unlikely any of us would have any hearing protection - in fact it could be counter productive when it comes to needing to hear sounds in the house.

    I rate the risk as necessary if it came to having to shoot - and the odds of that are slim hopefully. I doubt eardrum rupture would occur with a handgun of average performance but not impossible. Large cals or rifle then we may well be talking significant damage.

    I shall hope to not put this to the test
    Chris - P95
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  5. #4
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    You won't blow out your ear drums unless the weapon were fired right next to your ear!

    Over time shooting will cause some damage, but if you're in a self defense shooting don't worry about hearing loss, worry about loss of life!

    I know that when I hunt or when dispatching varmints, I don't use hearing protection. I want to be able to hear what is happening around me. I also recall, in most cases, I don't remember the sound of the shots, no ringing or pain. Don't know why that is......but for me that's what happens.

    On the range, it's a different story, if I shoot without protection it hurts!

    P.S. there is also a difference when the round you fire goes supersonic. Sub sonic like .45acp & 9mm don't have that 'crack' to it, since they don't go over the speed of sound. Other rounds like .357 & rifle calibers will! They will be more painful. Supersonic rounds will hurt MORE!
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  6. #5
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    Array Betty's Avatar
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    I've still got some tinnitus from shooting shotguns a long time ago without hearing protection.

    My nightmare is shooting my S&W 640 from inside the small metal box of my vehicle.
    "Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power." - Yoshimi Ishikawa

  7. #6
    Member Array Bando's Avatar
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    what??....I can't hear you. I shot a GLOCK 27(.40 cal) without hearing protection exactly once. And never again. My head hurt for two days. I'm sure some damage was done, but I can still hear fine...I think. Like others say, It will be the least of worries if you need your gun.
    The Problem: When stupid people do stupid things, smart people end up getting killed.

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array Ti Carry's Avatar
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    Get a set of the electronic ear muff's and put them next to your house gun and leave them there until you need them, these are your house gun set only. If an intruder breaks in, grab both and turn the volume all the way up. This way you can hear even better what is going on in the house where he might be moving and if you must shoot your ear's are protected with anything over .85 decibles instantly. I also don't believe that you would blow out your ear drums but always take caution.

    Train and train hard, you might not get a second chance to make a first impression!

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  9. #8
    Senior Member Array Sky Pilot's Avatar
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    Ti has a dandy idea!
    Thank you for that!
    Protect your hearing, my friend. My ears ring thanks to shooting very early in childhood without protection; did not get my first set of muffs until I was sixteen, by then the damage was done.
    Don't imitate my bad example!
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  10. #9
    Member Array timothius's Avatar
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    I have tinnitus after 23 years in ARMY aviation. During the 60's and in Nam they didn't care if you had ear plugs or not. Listen if you shoot at the range and when your done your ears ring the damage is done. Wear hearing protection if you got it. the ringing in my ears is insane and I fear it will drive me insane. Of course if someone is in your house and threatening you, just shoot. Your ears will ring but you'll be alive.


  11. #10
    Distinguished Member Array SixBravo's Avatar
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    I tried shooting one of my movement drills without ear protection once just to see if it would effect my ability to put rounds on target. It did, a small bit. It was extremely loud and my head hurt for about 30 minutes afterwards. There is a reason why people who are involved in shootings always talk about how they were surprised by how loud it was. I don't want to test the theory again.

    When I used to work at a training center, we did a lot of drills that ended up in gunfights. We did use ear protection as a standard - but the people we were training did not. It was rough.
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  12. #11
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    Array RETSUPT99's Avatar
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    As Stated Above...

    a loss of hearing is better than a loss of life. I don't think I would try to fire my .45 even once to see if 'it hurts'...why?
    My set of electronic muffs, for both my wife and I, only blot out the sound of the shot...conversation is still normal, and that is an important safety factor when at the range!

    Stay safe...

    Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”

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  13. #12
    VIP Member Array raevan's Avatar
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    I was thinking about this the other day.
    check this out,
    Blast: Environmental Noise decibel ratings

    The 357 SIG has sometimes been accused of having too much blast. Well, it depends. 357 SIG blast and flash is certainly less severe than a typical 357 Magnum revolver. Blast and flash can be controlled with various powders, flash inhibitors, and other components. A heavier bullet and/or a slower velocity can lower the noise level.

    In actuality, 357 SIG ammo can easily be produced with velocities in the subsonic, transonic, or supersonic ranges (920 fps to over 1400 fps with a 4” barrel). You can have the 357 SIG sound just about any way you want it to. I fired a Ruger .22 pistol, and then I immediately fired a 357SIG pistol with a light powered 357 SIG round, followed immediately by a full powered 357 SIG round. As expected, the .22 was the quietest. The light 357 SIG round was equivalent in sound to a typical "standard" 9mm Luger round. The full power 357 SIG round was the loudest of all, with that typical supersonic cracking sound. The 357 SIG can simply speak with authority if you want it to, and with typical 125 grain factory ammo, it does.

    I read an account by an officer who has been in situations of guns being fired in public. He said that in general, people are curious to see what the popping noise is and can sometimes get in the way of official business. Yet when a 357 SIG pistol was fired, everybody hit the ground in fear. A loud voice sometimes serves a purpose.

    When I shoot, or when I listen to others shoot "hot" supersonic rounds in, +P 9mm, .40 S&W, or +.45 ACP, the blast sounds fairly similar with that typical loud supersonic cracking sound like a 357 SIG. As far as I'm concerned, all duty calibers are too noisy.

    With recent advances in electronic ear protection, it's really a moot point. You can even have electronic ear inserts made. Unless you have just a split second to respond to a threat, use electronic ears with your gun, whether you're a Law Abiding Citizen, or a Law Enforcement Officer. Make it part of your training with easy access to your ear protection. Besides, electronic ears can help you hear normal sounds even better, while muffling out the loud noise.

    Here's a short list of Environmental Noise decibel ratings:

    Environmental Noise

    Normal breathing

    Interior home noise

    Crowded restaurant

    City traffic

    Hearing Damage Possible

    Lawn mower

    Threshold of Pain



    Jet engine at takeoff

    .22 pistol

    12 gauge shotgun

    .45 ACP pistol

    9mm pistol

    .357 Magnum revolver

    The decibel scale is a logarithmic scale, not a linear one. Each increase of 3 dB corresponds to sound that has twice as much energy (measured in pascals). Each 10 dB increase corresponds to a 10-fold increase in energy.

    Loudness is a subjective thing. People might perceive a particular sound to be twice as loud when there is actually a 10-fold increase in energy. Most people cannot perceive differences in loudness of less than 3 dB.

    Let's assume you have excellent electronic ear protection with an NRR rating of 29 dB. Let's use the quietest .22 caliber pistol, which has a noise level of 152 dB. Subtracting 29 from 152 still leaves you at a noise level of 123, this is still above the threshold of pain - 120 decibels. Like I said, all the calibers are too noisy.

    So why do some of us still have excellent hearing after shooting for so many years? Because, gunfire is a complex, short-lived sound wave, and it doesn't travel as well through hearing protection as pure sustained tones do. The NRR rating on ear protection might actually be higher than the nominal 29 dB rating, in regards to gunfire. Yet, for "continuous" noise, the NRR rating may be reduced by as much as 50% of the nominal 29 dB rating.

    So there you have it. Clear as mud.

    In summary, the .45 produces less decibels than the 9mm, which produces less decibels than a full power 357 SIG. ALL of these calibers produce decibel ratings that can easily cause severe hearing loss, especially in enclosed environments. I highly recommend using one of the newer electronic ear protection devices. I know millions of people see a lot of pistol and rifle play on TV occurring outside and inside buildings where the good and bad guys don’t wear ear protection; and then they carry on regular conversations afterwards like nothing happened (no hearing loss or ringing ears, etc). Folks, that ain’t the way it is. Protect your ears for the long term. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that your ears are OK if you use a .45. Just ask a lot of old-timers who have broken ear safety rules during their lives. Be safe.

    "Now hear This!", by Ralph Mroz, Combat Handguns, Sep 1998

  14. #13
    Distinguished Member Array Dakotaranger's Avatar
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    I already admitted this a few weeks ago, in another thread about an occurance that happened several years ago with my first 1911. And I don't need any more beating about a bad decision I made.

    I did get some hearing loss, and at the time it wasn't disorenting and no I don't know what extent it had effected my ears. While my ears did ring for a few minutes, I really don't want to have a repeat of the occurance either (and won't I learned my leason). I've yet to figure out a tatical ear protecion move, but I guess it would be an ideal thing to do, but unfortunately the BG's won't necessarly give a person time to rack a slide let alone put ear plugs in.
    "[T]he people are not to be disarmed of their weapons.
    They are left in full possession of them."

    Zacharia Johnson (speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention,25 June 1778)"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." ~Alexander Hamilton

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Having fired a 357 Mag inside a small enclosure without ear protection, I can say absolutely that it is loud. I've only fired a handgun a few times without ear protection, but I pay for it every day. Funny, it always seemed that the report was louer on the offhand side.
    That said, there is the principal of auditory exclusion during a high stres event. I've also read that extensive training will limit the exclusion. I wonder, if you don't hear the shot, does it still affect your hearing?
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

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  16. #15
    VIP Member Array Ti Carry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    Having fired a 357 Mag inside a small enclosure without ear protection, I can say absolutely that it is loud. I've only fired a handgun a few times without ear protection, but I pay for it every day. Funny, it always seemed that the report was louer on the offhand side.
    That said, there is the principal of auditory exclusion during a high stres event. I've also read that extensive training will limit the exclusion. I wonder, if you don't hear the shot, does it still affect your hearing?
    I have wondered this same thing too. I have heard in high stress situations such as a self defense shooting, that auditory exclusion does happen. Defense shooters as well as LE say this quite often, that they didn't even hear the shot/shot's fired. As to if it's damaging still?, that is a good question.

    I was watching a LEO on the stand after he shot a perp stating he fired twice with his BUG when the BG got his primary away from him when in fact he shot all 5 rounds. He wasn't in trouble or anything because he was defending his life, but it was interesting in that he really believed he only fired twice. It's strange what your body will/can do in a very high stress situation. If we are at the range and we fired all five shot's we would hear evey one of them because we are consintrating on how loud it's going to be. Put yourself in a high stress situation and things seem to go differently.

    Train and train hard, you might not get a second chance to make a first impression!

    I vote for Monica Lewinsky's Ex-Boyfriend's Wife for President.....Not!

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