Ear protection is an important part of firearms use. But do you always need it? What if you’re only firing a few rounds, or firing a light, small-caliber cartridge?
As you’ll see, ear protection remains important, no matter what you choose to fire.
How Bad is Shooting for Your Ears?
It’s one of those common-sense measures that most people accept, but have you ever thought about how bad firing can be for your ears? A study from Switzerland found that high-frequency hearing impairment (HFHI) was significantly linked to exposure to shooting noise without ear protection. The researchers concluded, among other things, that mandatory use of hearing protection should be encouraged “from the first shot.”
Another study, this one conducted in Wisconsin, found that men who engage in recreational firearms use experience more cases of HFHA than those that don’t shoot.
It seems obvious, but now you have scientific backing, not just speculation, for wearing ear protection.
Wear Ear Protection, Even When Firing Small Cartridges
Clearly, regular shooting can be bad for your years, but what if you are shooting a small-caliber cartridge, such as a .22 Long Rifle? It’s still important to protect your ears. According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, anything over 140-dB can harm your hearing, and .22-caliber firearms can produce around 140 dBs.
Also, when you go to the range, there’s a strong possibility that a shooter next to you will be firing a larger cartridge. Therefore, no matter what type of ammo you are using, it remains essential to wear ear protection.
Whether you use ear plugs or ear muffs for ear protection, it’s important that you protect your hearing whenever you practice at the range.