Shooting a Gun in Police Academy — Could I Do It with Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Roberto10, Oct 14, 2019.

    1. Roberto10

      Roberto10 Member

      Location:
      spain
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma (concert)
      Hi, I have a mild tinnitus from 2016 produced by a concert. I am now absolutely habituated to my tinnitus and it doesn't disturb me.

      The question is: I am in the process of becoming a police officer in my country. In the police academy I would have shooting classes, and I am worried about it. I have never used firearms and I would like to know if I can do this job (this is the job I have always wanted).

      The information I have about the shooting practices is: the firearm we have to use is HK USP Compact 9 mm parabellum, and the classes are 2 per week, 50 minutes per class, 8 months.
      I really want to be a police officer, but I don’t want to risk my hearing, so I am very worried about this.

      Could I do the shooting practices using 35 dB foam earplugs plus 35 dB earmuffs (Peltor)?

      I know that earplugs plus earmuffs is not a 35+35 dB protection (if this was the case I would not be worried), so I would like to know if the double hearing protection would be secure enough for me to complete the shooting practices or not?

      Thank you so much, and sorry for my English, I am from Spain.
       
    2. Mathieulh
      No Mood

      Mathieulh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Paris, France
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/24/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Chronic headphones use and acute noise induced trauma.
      I would avoid shooting guns if you are experiencing tinnitus, even with ear protection, those will NOT protect you against bone conduction related sounds, which are quite prevalent when shooting guns. I would seriously consider another career altogether.
       
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    3. arctic loon
      Dreaming

      arctic loon Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      loud music
      Shooting would be seriously bad for you. You're in a good spot with your tinnitus but it can change in a moment. Maybe find a quieter job and keep protecting your ears? No job in the world is worth the risk on your ears and quality of life.
       
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    4. Harley

      Harley Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      The problem I see is, that there are lot of very important verbal instructions during those shootings, which are passed along.
      Different situations are simulated and they require certain approach.
      Dealing with supressing the enemy fire, advancing your position, using cover, multiple shooter scenarios etc..
      Your safety and the safety of your team members is paramount.

      Lot of time the ear muffs come on and off for this, but sometimes minor adjustements to your live fire excercise are done on the go by the instructor just shouting.
      If you already have some degree of hearing loss and double protection on top, you might miss something that could have bad consequences for you or others.

      Also if this is a complex of shooting ranges, there might be live fire going on in the next one as you are recieving instructions with the earmuffs off.
      While not enough to cause damage to the healthy hearing, I'm not sure how much yours is already compromised.
      All of this needs to be considered.
       
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    5. Tex

      Tex Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure
      I have bad tinnitus and use good quality noise cancelling ear muffs and shoot from time to time. That is what you will use in the academy. I don't think you will have any instruction where you are required to remove your hearing protection.

      What I would be concerned about is that we are in a totally different world. A large portion of our citizens have no respect for law enforcement. Once you hit the street you WILL encounter some a-hole screaming at you. You won't be wearing hearing protection. If you ever work in a riot situation you will have hundreds of a-holes screaming at you.
      And if you ever have to use your weapon your tinnitus will be back worse than ever. If you never use your weapon you may be in a situation where your partners do. You won't be wearing hearing protection.
       
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    6. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      temporarily banished from this plane of existence.
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      I personally don't shoot anything over .22 anymore without putting a silencer on it, and I definitely would not feel comfortable at indoor ranges (which are much louder). Correctly inserted foam plugs underneath earmuffs are not sufficient to fully protect you from centerfire weapon discharge, it's just insanely loud, especially indoors.

      In addition to that -- if you become a cop, then you need to have a willingness and ability to aim and discharge your weapon in an emergency situation, without hearing protection. Are you up to that? I know for a fact this would be a complete dealbreaker for me, because while I like to think I would set aside my personal fears of my hearing worsening etc in the interests of "dealing with a bad guy", I know on some level I would be thinking "what do I need to do to not shoot this gun off?"

      Of course, American cops in general are notoriously trigger happy, so while in general it'd probably be real good if they took a step back before they pulled the trigger -- the idea of having an armed cop who is scared to use their service weapon in a crisis seems real bad to me.
       
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    7. Tex

      Tex Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure
      Here is a YouTube video showing a chase. There was a shootout during the chase. The the cop fired many rounds from within the inside of his car, through his own windshield, at the car he was chasing. You know that cop's ears are forever damaged. They have to be.

      Las Vegas Shooting: Watch cop's body cam...
       
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    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Roberto10

      Roberto10 Member

      Location:
      spain
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma (concert)
      Thank you so much to all of you for the answers! it seems that there are different perspectives, but all of you agree on the bad option that would be for me to be a police officer. However, for some of you (for those that think that the problem would be in the street after pass the police academy) I have to say that It would be okay in that aspect, because I would be in the “judicial police”, so would be very rare that I had to use the firearm in unexpected moments and without hearing protection. Because of this, my worries are about police academy, where I must use the firearm 100% sure.
      Some of you think that shooting will be harmful for me even with hearing protection, but some others seems to think that, if I use the firearm always with hearing protection, it will be okay, so I am still thinking about which is the best option: in one hand, if I avoid to be police, I don’t have to use firearms and this will assure zero problems about hearing and tinnitus. In the other hand, if shooting with earplugs plus earmuffs is secure, I would pass the academy and I will be police officer for the rest of my life without harmful events for my ears (due to mi functions in the police after the academy).

      The problem is that I am still not sure about the security for the ears of shooting an hk usp compact 9mm parabellum with earplugs and earmuffs, so I am still thinking about it
       
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    9. Jim Goose

      Jim Goose Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ????
      I’ve shot a lot the last years. It has to have some role in my tinnitus. Even though I wore great protection, these days people are firing rifle calibers at the ranges.

      I went shooting early in the morning last week, I was by myself, and my tinnitus has spiked after 100 rounds. I even spent $ on new plugs and muffs.

      Tinnitus has totally changed my view on military and police service. You don’t need combat to leave with long lasting damage. And I’m sure they don’t explain that when you sign up.
      Seriously reconsider.
       
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    10. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      temporarily banished from this plane of existence.
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      out of everything I've read in the past several years -- William Gibson's Peripheral has a sequence where a character is unexpectedly caught in gunfire between two rival factions, and the book really dwells on the instant muffled high pitched she gets, and the certainty of permanent damage having been inflicted.
       
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    11. Vincent R
      Caffeine

      Vincent R Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      If you attend shooting classes with tinnitus, then you risk to worsen your condition. There's no way getting around this. I would opt for another career.

      However, if you insist, I advise the following:

      1. Make sure the foam earplugs are deeply inserted. Search the web for visual instructions. One of the most important points with foam earplugs, sometimes overlooked, is not how much they protect, but the fact that they protect against misfortune. If you attend a shooting class, you might be asked to remove your ear muffs to listen to instructions. This leaves the health of your ears in the hands of the other students, who might fire their guns after you have removed your ear muffs or before you have put them back on. With foam earplugs deeply inserted, you always have a line of defence, though not necessarily sufficient.

      2. With regards to what I point out above, be the last student to remove your earmuffs and the first one to put them back on.

      3. Don't wear anything that messes up the seal created by the earmuffs. Wear no earrings. Wear lenses instead of glasses. You could even shave your hair (Yes, it sounds a bit extreme, but with deeply inserted foam earplugs, high-quality earmuffs and nothing that limits their effectiveness, you will enjoy no small amount of protection.

      4. Get used to your hearing protection well in advance. Like I have already said, foam earplugs need to be deeply inserted and earmuffs need some fitting as well. Make sure to practice. But the earmuffs's cushioning must not be wrinkled when you enter the shooting classes. If they are, buy a new pair of the same model.

      5. Eat magnesium before, during, and after the day of the shooting class.

      The five pieces of advice above do not guarantee safety, but will improve your chances to retain your ear health.
       
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    12. JohnAdams
      Festive

      JohnAdams Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Vatican
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 1st 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Aspirin Toxicity/Possibly Noise
      That's badass.
       
    13. Skinjob
      Batty

      Skinjob Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Early 90s
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bowie, The Chameleons, etc.
      Seriously. This WILL make your tinnitus worse, and you could end up with tinnitus AND hyperacusis, which makes tinnitus by itself seem mild by comparison. JUST DON'T DO IT! Shooting and tinnitus don't mix, not ever. People with severe tinnitus and hyperacusis have no quality of life and contemplate suicide. Don't get to that place, please. I know what I am talking about. Protect yourself by NOT DOING IT.
       
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    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Roberto10

      Roberto10 Member

      Location:
      spain
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma (concert)
      Hi again! I have been thinking about all of the factors for my decision and finally... I won´t be police officer. It has been a very difficult and tough decision for me, that is hard because I really would love to get this work, but tinnitus have won the battle this time. I appreciate my actual situation with tinnitus (mild and totally habituated to it) and I have to avoid to make it worse. I am a jurist, so I will get a work in any court, in a quiet ambient.

      Apart of this... I have been thinking about why there is no a hearing protection that could get a minimum of 50 decibels of attenuation. Is this impossible to get? I have wrote to the company "3M" asking about this possibility. I am sure that if this protection is possible... many people would buy these hearing protection! (but I don't know if this is scientifically possible.
       
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    15. Julien87
      Not amused

      Julien87 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure (concert)
      Hello Robert.
      Sorry to read this, but it is probably the best choice.

      Is the shooting training mandatory for every position in the judicial police?
       
    16. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Roberto10

      Roberto10 Member

      Location:
      spain
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma (concert)
      Yes, it is mandatory... independently of your future charge. This really make sense because is normal that they want that all the police officers know how to use a firearm just in case you need it one day.
       
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    17. maestromusica
      Batty

      maestromusica Member

      Location:
      Edinburgh
      Tinnitus Since:
      22/10/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Club

      Sorry to hear that. Good decision.

      No, it is not possible. The bones in your skull can conduct noise - normally it is negligible, but with extremely loud noise such as gunfire it can be significant and sufficient to cause damage.
       

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