New Tinnitus Sufferer. Opinions on Shooting and Hearing Protection.

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Celtic Roots, Jun 4, 2015.

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    1. Celtic Roots

      Celtic Roots Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/14
      Hello all. I have been lurking around on this site since acquiring my Tinnitus in late December of last year, and I 've finally decided to sign on and share my feelings on a few things.

      First my background on how I acquired my Tinnitus. Last December while hunting I was exposed to several blasts from a 12 gauge shotgun, both from mine as well as my hunting partners. The result is a constant ringing in my left ear, along with, according to my ENT, a slight hearing loss only in the highest frequencies. All noise from my left ear also is "muffled", though I believe that it has gotten slightly better in the last few months. I also suffer a sharp stabbing pair deep in my ear periodically, though it is not that bad and quickly fades. I feel that on most days the tinnitus is starting to lessen in volume. Symptoms aside, on to the reason for my post.

      Ever since acquiring my T I am now passionate about protecting my hearing. WHich means when I shoot, I now wear deeply inserted foam plugs with the highest NRR muffs I could find, 31 NRR. With this combination the blasts from all types of firearms, even big bore revolvers and muzzled breaked rifles, is muffled to such a high degree that I am completely comfortable, it's so effective that one can barely hear the report of a 22. rifle.

      I have seen various people here ask opinions on whether T suffers should give up shooting or not, and folks saying that people with T should not shoot guns anymore as it's too big of a risk (police and military have T suffers, do they stop shooting?). Examples given I've seen sound like "If you still use ear protection your ears are still taking damage". Im not convinced that's the case.

      Which leads me to the Decibel number game I like to call it. I understand that 30Nrr muffs and 30nrr plugs does not equal 60 nrr protection. And I"m also aware of the various degrees of decibels for firearms, a 357 magnum for instance is around 165 decibels. This is the part I have trouble understanding and am skeptical of. Lets say my 33 nrr plugs and 31 nrr muffs are giving me a total nrr of 35. Which would mean that this would reduce a 357 magnum shot to 130 decibel's. I find it hard to believe that considering how muffled it sounds with proper hearing protection, and that it is, after doing the decibel math, as loud as a 22. rifle without hearing protection. My point of all that being is I don't think you can simply take the number of decibels from gunfire and equate that to how much noise your ears are going to take.

      With that said, I personally refuse to give up on my passion of shooting. Although I am young, 29, I strongly feel that as long as I am careful as can be, and as overprotective of my ears as possible, I can still enjoy my passion. Giving up on shooting and having that stress lingering on my mind would probably cause my tinnitus to spike worse than the shooting ever will. In a way there is one positive thing that came of my tinnitus, and that's I'm more protective of my hearing now that I ever would have been had the T not been there. I hope to hear from other shooters here and how you feel about shooting and your tinnitus. Sorry about the long winded post, glad to be here!
       
    2. Danny Boy
      Cheerful

      Danny Boy Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      7/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      NAC the supplement can help protect your hearing even better than earplugs, so get some of that!
       
    3. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Sound doesn't just enter your body through your ears. There also is bone conductivity.

      I don't know if I would take the risk of continuing to shoot. But then, I don't shoot, so its easy for me to say. It appears like you have weighed the pros and cons, and have decided the best decision for you is to continue with this activity -- using ample ear protection. Sounds reasonable. Little in life is risk free.
       
    4. Celtic Roots

      Celtic Roots Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/14
      I will check into the NAC supplement, thank you.

      And you make a good point, sound is indeed conducted through the ear, however, I have seen no data showing what kind of effect it would play on hearing loss, provided one is wearing good hearing protection. A good tight fitting muff would really help to protect the bones of the ear. Shooting a pistol may be even less effect on the ear, as one does not have a stock laying against the cheekbone.
       
    5. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      BTW, while I have found NA C helpful and also would recommend it, it's not better than ear plugs. Plugs are the frontline defense against noise exposure. Just saying.
       
    6. Atlantis

      Atlantis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2014
      My T got worse this year from my friend's hunting rifle. I wasn't even shooting myself. I used muffs. Think six times before doing this to yourself. Is the love for the hobby reason enough to possibly having to suffer permanent increase?
       
    7. Celtic Roots

      Celtic Roots Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/14
      I wear adequate hearing protection so there has not, and will not, be any worsening of my condition.
       
    8. He|ix

      He|ix Member

      Location:
      Sydney, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      October 2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unkown
      Hi Celtic, thanks for your post.

      I too am a passionate hunter and shooter and at times have toiled with the idea of giving it all away. I don't know that my tinnitus is as all a result of noise as I suspect that there are other factors at play, however I have this fear of making it worse and do experience a spike after shooting sometimes even with ear plugs. I am 'recoil shy' and shoot with a muzzle break on my .308 which makes the noise worse, as a result I am trying to lean towards shooting smaller calibres. Giving it all away has not really been a practical option for me, I have been involved with shooting my entire life, it is my hobby, many of my friends shoot and I am also quite financially invested in it as you would understand.

      I have always worn ear plugs but I now double up with plugs and muffs at the range but have found this difficult to do out in the field where you may need to take quick shots unexpectedly and need all of your senses tuned to the surrounding environment. I only use ear plugs in these cases and limit myself to only a few shots in a weekend.

      It really sucks to be stuck with tinnitus from a few 12 gauge shots. I know people who are in their 70's, been shooters living on the land their entire lives and have little to no T. I guess some of us are just more sensitive than others, I believe I fall into that same bracket.
       
    9. He|ix

      He|ix Member

      Location:
      Sydney, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      October 2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unkown
      How close were you to the rifle, what calibre, how many shots were there and what was the NRR of your hearing protection?

      Unless your answers to the above were on the extreme end of the scale, I would find this very hard to believe.

      It is more likely that your paranoia and anxiety from the experience led to a spike than any permanent noise damage.
       

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