Much like you should never drive without a seat belt, you should always consider personal safety when buying a firearm. For your hearing, it’s important to consider proper ear protection when planning a live fire session.
The Effects of Repetitive Firing
Serious hearing issues can develop quickly if you aren’t careful. Sadly, the noise produced from a firearm is one of the most hazardous you can be exposed to. It can lead to immediate and permanent hearing loss after only a few minutes or shots.
Experts believe the damage of one shot from a .357 magnum is equivalent to more than 40 hours of exposure in a noisy factory or workplace. Compound that by dozens or hundreds of live rounds and you can quickly see why ear protection is vital.
Types of Ear Protection
The good news for firearm enthusiasts is there are several high quality forms of ear protection available. Despite this, some studies suggest only 50 percent of firearm owners wear protection on a regular basis. Whether this is from a lack of information or personal choice is unclear, but firearm owners should know there are a number of choices to fit every need, style and function.
One of the most popular choices is the standard ear muff. This type of protection uses padding to cover the ear and muffle the sound. It is preferred for its convenient price, durability, and coverage. An alternative to ear muffs is ear plugs. These are typically made of foam or plastic and are inserted directly into the ear. Some people prefer plugs because they allow the rest of the ear to remain uncovered while still providing excellent protection. Ear plugs are also the least expensive noise solution.
The third option is the most expensive, yet safest. Noise canceling ear muffs reduce the sound of the shot, while still allowing the user to hear human voices. This mechanism provides optimal protection and is the preferred choice for people who spend a great deal of time around firearms. While more expensive, they are certainly a worthwhile investment, with a typical cost starting around $50.