Hunting season is under way in Washington, Idaho and throughout the Northwest. And whether you hunt big game, waterfowl, turkey or other wildlife, you are at high risk for hearing damage when exposed to firearms without hearing protection.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is clear: “People who use firearms are more likely to develop hearing loss than those who do not.” Yet a University of Wisconsin study found that “95% of the hunters reported never wearing hearing protection while shooting in the past year.”
How Hearing Loss Happens
Hearing loss from hunting or other sports involving shooting is called noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). The sound of gunfire can range from 140 dB to more than 175 dB. Compare that to the 60 dB level of normal conversation and you can imagine the damage to the sensory hair cells within your ears with the explosive sound of gunshots.
Even though the sound of gunfire is short, a single exposure can cause permanent damage to hearing.
Signs to Look For
Here are some symptoms that should prompt you to seek advice from a professional:
NIHL is Preventable
According to the National Institutes of Health, NIHL is the only type of hearing loss that is completely preventable. Here are their recommendations to protect your hearing for life:
Source: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Are you concerned about hearing loss from hunting?
Contact Palouse Specialty Physicians today to schedule an appointment with one of our ENT and Audiology professionals. We can test your hearing, provide recommendations for necessary treatment and help you find the most appropriate devices that will help protect your hearing. Most hearing tests are covered by health care insurance.
Published on October 12, 2017