There are plenty of everyday noises that can be attributed to hearing loss as a result of harmful decibel levels. One such noise is that which comes from firearms. You may have heard a gunshot in your life, or perhaps fired one yourself? Do you recall how loud the sound was? In this post we look at the connection between firearm noise and hearing loss. Read on to learn more.
Why firearm noise can cause hearing loss
Firearm noise can cause hearing loss for one simple reason; the noise that emanates from a firearm is way above the 80 decibels safety range. Noises above 80 decibels are considered unsafe because they can cause permanent hearing damage within hours. Firearm noise ranges at about 140 decibels, and that figure can go up if the firearm is held close to the ear when firing.
At almost double the safety range, firearm noise can cause permanent hearing loss within seconds. The loud noise from a firearm enters the ear canal and damages the small delicate hairs found inside the cochlea. This impacts hearing and can cause irreversible damage.
People and occupations most affected by firearm noise
Some people and some occupations are more at risk of firearm noise than others. The most affected categories include:
Day in, day out, police officers are surrounded by gun fire. The gun fire could be from their side or from the criminals they are interacting with. Sometimes this gunfire can last for hours during standoffs.
The military is most affected by military noise. During training and combat, military personnel endure hours of fire exchange. When deployed to war, military personnel can endure continuous firearm noise for weeks and even months at a time.
- People living in unsafe neighborhoods
People living in unsafe neighborhoods, such as parts of Chicago, endure daily firearm noise while in their homes and as they go about their daily duties. And although they may get used to the intermittent gun fire, their ears still suffer from the harmful decibel levels.
- Gun range enthusiasts and workers
People who love to visit gun ranges need to wear protective equipment at all times in order to protect themselves from hearing damage. However, those who frequent such areas, and those who work inside such places are still at a high risk of firearm noise because they can’t keep their ears protected 100% of the time.
How to safeguard your hearing from firearm noise
There are a number of ways in which you can keep firearm noise from harming your hearing. These are:
Move away from areas where gunfire noise is rampant.
Exit from careers where firearm use is rampant.
Use ear protection when handling guns or when in areas where firearm use is rampant. For example, ear muffs and ear plugs.
If you’re a firearm enthusiast, limit your use of the firearm where possible. That is, don’t fire your gun every other day. Limit your use to once weekly or monthly.
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