Skip to comments.A question for you shooters re hearing protection. (Vanity)
Posted on 01/03/2014 9:33:37 AM PST by LouAvul
I often see experienced shooters wearing only ear plugs for hearing protection. I usually double up with plugs and muffs, but when I'm shooting in extreme cold, sometimes it's uncomfortable (not being able to wear the type of head covering I might normally wear).
I'm headed to the range next week to break-in a couple of rifles, a CMP Garand w/CMP ammo and an unfired M1A w/factory ammo. The charts usually circulated say 140 dB at an unprotected ear causes instant damage. The M1A is a 308 at 156.2 dB and the Garand is 30-06 at 158.5 dB.
My plugs are rated at 31 dB. My understanding is that because these figures are logarithmic, I subtract 5 from the 31. The plugs actually only reduce the sound by 26 dB. That reduces the Garand, for example, to 132.5 dB.
Assuming one has the plugs inserted correctly, etc, and assuming one is shooting by himself, exposure to instantaneous sounds at 132.5 dB is safe.
After all, even with the addition of muffs, you only add 5 dB to the total hearing protection anyway.
Any Freeper's input on this subject?
I wear plugs and earphones. Every bit of protection you can wear, WEAR!
Dont forget the eyes and shooting gloves......and never, EVER take the OPROD out of an M60 if the charging handle is locked back. Trust me.
Since that is not where your ears are when you fire, the sound is far less. I first fired an M-14 many decades ago and my 17yr old ears only had plugs. All I heard was a loud thump. You should be fine.
If someone else is shooting, stay well behind them for max sound reduction.
Why are you assuming a 5 dB decrease in effectiveness? The fact that the measure is logarithmic is just describing the measuring system of dB. It means that an increase of 10 in the system is 10x as much. So an earplug which does 20dB protection, vs. 30 dB is 1/10th as good.
So if you have earplugs which do 31dB of noise reduction, then just subtract that number from the noise level.
Personally I just use earplugs for most of my shooting unless I am at an indoor range (which I avoid). I shoot plenty of rifle and I don’t have any issues with the noise.
Always wear hearing protection. ANything is better than nothing. Even if shooting a .22 Hearing loss is cumulative. So you might go out today and have do affect but prolonged exposure is what gets you. It isn’t always the decibel level either.
This is from somebody who has tinnitus from shooting *hand cannons* when he was young and stupid, it ain't worth it.
Never did trust ear plugs, they can slightly slip out of position without you noticing.
Forget not that if you are at an indoor range and the fellow next to you pulls out his .454 Casull or .44 Mag and you’re there with your lightweight earplugs, you will hate life.
I wear plugs, plus electronic ear muffs, which amplify speech (so I can hear people on the range) but cut out loud sounds like gunfire.
Find the highest quality, lowest profile, most efficient, most comfortable shooting muffs that can be afforded. Not only does a muff keep the compresional wave out of the ear canal, protecting the tender bits within, it comes in contact with the temporal and mastoidal bones around your ear. These bones can act as transducers for the concussive force of muzzle blast and harm the inner ear as well.
Electronic muffs are great for training situations where one needs to listen to instructors. They block muzzle blast and then continue to allow hearing. With or without ear plugs, good muffs are a best practice. Make headgear adjustments to protect hearing and still keep the noggin warm.
Over the years when I’ve gone shooting I’ve only worn foam plugs in the ear or the outdoors, and doubled up when indoors. I also work on a flightline where I am bombarded by loud intensity noise constantly, so I take measures to preserve my hearing. Fortunately, it’s been a trend over the years for me to pass yearly audiograms with flying colors, never having to move my baseline back.
Something I’ve also learned is that the perception of noise/muzzle blast also ties in where you are in relation to the muzzle of a firearm, and also what’s on it like brakes or compensators. How this effects how many decibels you take with each shot is an unknown, but SOMEBODY had to have done this test. 90 degrees to the left or right of it and it can be painful, even with hearing protection, whereas behind it not so much. I have some research to do, I’m intrigued now.
Five dB isn’t much, but once you lose it, you don’t get it back, at least naturally.
There is no cure for Tinitus!
My father is totally deaf and was an expert marksman. (representing RI in the Camp Perry meet in the early 50’s) We spend a lot of time shooting (outside) with a 30-06 when I was a youngun. Back in the 70’s there was no priority to safety and I didn’t wear protection. Now I have tinitus and always will.
I wear ear plugs of the highest rating as well as ear muffs also.
Always protect your hearing, if you can.
The OSHA Hearing Conservation Standard introduced in 1981 was based on 8 hrs of continuous noise exposure. You aren’t going to be exposed to constant noise while shooting.
Firearms produce concussive sound pressure levels. It is crucial that right-handed rifle shooters protect their left ears as it is open to more of the blast than the right ear in standard shooting positions. Vice versa for lefties.
I wear the best plugs I can get when shooting standard rifle and handgun calibers. When hunting with any rifle I wear a left ear plug. If I was part of an artillery crew I’d wear plugs AND muffs.
The noise that will really kill your hearing comes from turbine engines.
You will be fine with just ear plugs. Just make sure that you have them fully inserted. I can’t shoot with the covered ear head phones because I lay my head along the stock when I shoot which pushes them off my right ear.
There is a brand of ear plugs which have little caps to cover a small channel into the center of the plug. Leaving the little cap off and wearing electronic muffs over top, with mics aimed to your back (to hear the range master) will give excellent hearing protection, BUT allow you to pick up rnage commands too.
I prefer muffs.
Off topic but when going to the movies i bring ear plugs
NRR rating. The electronics in the ear muff do not protect your hearing. Only the ear muffs can do that. Make sure you get an NRR rating high enough to provide the protection you need. Small caliber weapons call for a minimum NRR 20. Larger bore hand and long guns call for NRR 25 or better, and for large caliber and magnum handguns, long guns and shotguns, the highest rating you can get (NRR 33) is appropriate. Dual protection which includes wearing ear plugs under your electronic ear muffs, is also recommended for large caliber practice. In general, you will need more protection when practicing due to the number of muzzle blasts to which you are exposed. Similarly, indoor shooting calls for higher, and/or dual protection due to the sound being trapped and echoed within the room.
A change of 3db is either a doubling
or halving of loudness.
Question: How does the sound power decrease with distance"? Answer: "April fool - The sound power does not decrease (drop) with distance from the sound source."
Levels of sound pressure and levels of sound intensity decrease equally with the distance from the sound source. Sound power or sound power level has nothing (!) to do with the distance from the sound source.
Thinking helps: A 100 watt light bulb has in 1 m and in 10 m distance really always the same 100 watts, which is emitted from the lamp all the time. Watts don't change with distance.
A frequent question: "Does the sound power depend on distance?" The clear answer is: "No, not really."
Based upon the above, I'm firing a 308 with a 24 inch barrel, the 24 inch distance doesn't really matter.
in the army plugs would always fall out, I wore muffs around the back of the neck so I could still get my helmet on.
“never, EVER take the OPROD out of an M60 if the charging handle is locked back”
Ask me how I know.
I only double up on an indoor range. Earpugs are fine outdoors especially for rifles.
Peltor headset. All you need.
For your rifles, the major sound impulse is going mostly forward and to the sides, not back at you.
Also, energy drops 6dB for every doubling of distance, whether it is light or sound. Spherical expansion of the energy, impossible for it to remain the same intensity if you stop and think about it.
Someone should ask the genius that wrote this, "Why can't I use a 100W bulb to read 100 feet away if as you imply, it is just as bright?"
Yeah, I have been surprised at the slap back from reflected sound more than a few times.
The sound level depends on what you are shooting and your attachments. Flash suppressors are different from a compensator.
A compensator redirects blast force and sound back towards the shooter. A compensator can increase the sound to more than 10-15db.
A 25dB NRR doesn't actually mean you subtract that from the outside noise. The recommendation is that you cut 5dB off of the NRR and apply that.
IOW, 165db - (25dB-5dB)=> 145dB exposure per shot.
That detail in the noise exposure guidelines is often missed.
The guy above who said that if you're indoors and somebody sets of a .454 Casull (or even a .44 mag, in my experience) you will be uncomfortable even with both kinds of protection was right. That's also very true with high power rifles like 30-06. The muzzle blast is pretty intense from a powerful gun of any sort.
On a lighter note, I always tell women shooters I use both plugs and pads. It takes them a while to figure that smart @$$ comment out.
Study compensator vs flash suppressor.
Smartest thing I ever did was have custom molded plugs made.
Block out everything, and are comfortable all day.
Granted this guy is local to me, but this webpage gives you an idea of what I’m talking about.
In 1985 I attended National Gun Day in Louisville, Ky. Somebody was selling a M60 for $3500. In 1986 Reagan signed into law a stipulation that no machine gun manufactured after 1986 could be sold in America.
That same M60, today, sells for around $60,000. Reagan must have had a personal collection of machine guns.
Doesn't make sense. I can hear people shooting shotguns in fields that surround my area but I don't need ear protection.
OK, then I guess he was just saying the noise ratings are overstated. Has nothing to do with the logarithmic system.
But as I said, I just use the foam earplugs I get at Lowes in bulk when shooting and it seems quite adequate.
OK genius, show me where he stated either rifle will have a compensator or brake on it.
Last I saw, CMP M1 is stock unadorned bare muzzle. M1A comes with basic mil spec flash "hider".
The are arguing semantics. Being further away from the gun does not make the gun quieter, it is just as loud, but the energy delivered to your ear drops by square of the distance. Distance is very important, otherwise all that shooting in the middle east would have deafened all of us by now.
I wear plugs and muffs now... was just a plug man... but six months ago I damaged my left ear when a plug came out as I fired a .45 acp. I have high frequency Tinitus in my left ear. Be warned!
Is he sure? It’s very easy to confuse the two and there are many products that attempt to do both with various degrees of success. The two terms are frequently confused and or used (i.e. clip and magazine) even by knowledgeable shooters.
The only way to be sure is measure the db level and choose hearing protection accordingly.
Get a bigger hat. :)
You know those “custom molded” earplug that specialists charge you a ton of money for? You can make them yourself. Pretty much the same thing, for about $12-15 a set. Look for the do-it-yourself kits.
I wear them for 6+ hours at a time and forget they are on.
Put some electronic muffs like Leight or Peltor on over them with the volume turned up. Comfortable and you can still hear a little bit.
Or he could get a “Elmer Fudd” hat. Wear the plugs, put the flaps over the ears then put the muffs on. Problem solved.
My hearing has degraded since I started shooting skeet, 5 stand, and sporting clays. My left ear is worse than my right, which is consistent with shooting, for some reason. Foam plugs have got to be seated well in the ear canal. But nothing will stop the shockwaves conducted through your skull.
Correct. I used to have a 30-06 field gun with a muzzle brake. Unbelievable how loud it was. I'd have guys from other shooting lanes come over just to make sure I wasn't shooting a 50 BMG, or some such.
From wearing both ear plugs and muffs, the next step up is something like a flight line helmet. They have to be able to block both very high dB continual and peak sounds.
In shooting single-shot pistols and magnum handguns, many with muzzle brakes, I wear both.
Hearing loss is cumulative.
Last winter, I shot some handguns with my brother in-law, who also let me fire his new 50-caliber "Desert Eagle" handgun. He lives on a farm, and we set up our range about 15 yards from an all-metal barn. I neglected to bring my hearing protection, and I could definitely tell that my left ear--the one closest to the barn--was significantly hurt by the reflected sound.
Have to laugh at guys with .223/5.56mm agonizing over what bake to use.....
Probably change my mind with a .338 Lapua though.......
I do not even take my AR 15 pistols out of the vehicle to shoot at the range if I cannot find a dock at least four docks away from any other shooters. The sound level is actually painful to anyone not behind the weapon wearing good hearing protection.
Check out these electronic muffs:
I use the Howard Leight Impact. The thing I don’t like about muffs, other than what I’ve already mentioned, shooting in cold weather and all, is that some of my rifles have iron sights which puts the sight plane lower. With my cheek weld, the muffs really bang on the gun stock. It’s not so bad with a scope mounted rifle.