Shoot! Bang!…Ouch! My Ears are Ringing!

Why protect your ears?

Noise exposure is well documented to cause hearing loss. Guns, power tools, motorcycles, and football crowds are uncomfortable, and they often fall in the 90-140 dB range. What is available to help you hear while still protecting your hearing?

Plenty of options

There are many products to protect against noise exposure. These products range from foam plugs, custom noise plugs, to high tech electronic custom molded devices for the serious shooter. The investment to protect hearing can range from a few dollars up to $1000+. While there are many products on the market, it is the professional component that is often most important: monitoring hearing, exactly which type of device to use, and how to use and care for your system. Audiologists can help!

Some great choices

Defend Ear: ($500–1,200/pair). These are a true investment for the frequent shooter and dedicated woodworker. Reports are extremely positive because they allow you to hear and shut down when the noise starts. They act in real-time to protect your ears as soon as the  gun fires or the power tools start up. These are electronic devices that require batteries. They can be custom molded for maximum protection and flexibility. There is also an instant-fit type of protector, depending on the investment.

Custom Plugs: ($100–200/pair). There are various levels of custom-molded noise plugs. Some are basic molded plugs.  Others have filters to accommodate different situations (e.g. musician’s plugs).  These are all very effective at protecting the ears. There are no batteries for these products.

Over-the-counter products: (<$5-10/pair) Examples include: foam earplugs, ear putty, or silicone noise plugs. Noise muffs (<$40) can also be included in this category. These plugs are the most difficult to get placed correctly in the ear. The actual amount of hearing protection varies tremendously based on the ear canal shape and size.

Please be gentle on your ears

Consider your ears’ health this fall while you are hunting, attending football and hockey events, using the leaf blower, using power tools, going on motorcycle rides, and taking care of noisy children or grandchildren. Those little things you do today to keep yourself healthy do pay off!

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