Before we proceed in selecting the proper hearing protection for avoiding hearing problems, let’s first discuss how people hear and what causes problems in hearing.
How do People hear?
There are 3 parts of the ear: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. Sound waves travel to the air much slower than light, but it can be measured in terms of Decibels. The part of the ear that we will discuss importantly is the inner ear.
So here is how sound travels. In our ear is a narrow canal from which sound waves travel (part of the outer ear), until they reach the eardrum (middle ear) where there are 2 bones that create the sounds. The sound waves cause vibration through the eardrum then travels to the inner ear where there are structures called the cochlea which contain tiny hair cells. These tiny hair cells are the one responsible for hearing which vibrates and sends the signals to your brain. People who can’t hear have a problem with the hair present in the cochlea. These hair cells are sensitive and may end up broken or bent or even die when you use high frequency or too loud sounds and they are irreplaceable. They don’t grow back unlike the human hair. People who have problems with hearing may have difficulty hearing high pitch sound or complains hear ringing or buzzing sound on their ears also called tinnitus.
Dangerous Decibels with Shooting
There are certain levels of sounds that are pleasant to the ears and there are levels of sounds that are devastating to the ear especially to the hair of the ears. Since sound levels are measured in decibels there is a normal level and a dangerous level. To prevent such damages you might consider to get ear plugs. You can check the latest ear plug models on http://www.wearplug.com.
According to research noise from guns are considered one of the most dangerous non-occupational noise that can expose people to. It is said that a single shot from a gun which is heard by a person without proper ear protection can lead to sudden and permanent hearing loss. It is often accompanied by ringing or buzzing sound (tinnitus), humming or hissing experienced by a person. It can either be a result of a long exposure to gun shot from an extended period of time or even from a single incident of gun shot fired at proximity.
Normally, noise heard at a certain range or amplitude level for a specific period of time like 90 Decibels for 8 hours. The permissible exposures of noise or level that can be tolerated and won’t damage the ear are about 115dB for about 15 minutes. Intensity duration and amplitude are both related how powerful a sound is that can lead to possible hearing damage. It is really quite damaging to work in an industrial plant or continuously hearing gunshots for about 6 hours at a level of 90 decibels than listening to the same level of 90 Decibels for 30 minutes.
Anything considered to be above 85 dB for long period of time exposure are considered dangerous to the ear without protection, but it can also be hazardous even with a single loud gun shot fired in just a short time.
Based on research it is proven that permanent damage hearing can happen when exposed to noises above 140 decibels without protection. Firing guns in a place that is closed where sound waves can bounce off will create even make it noisier and will further increase the possibility of hearing loss. It is imperative to wear ear protection every time you fire a gun to avert hearing damage even with the use of a .22 caliber handgun which can produce 140 dB levels. Without protection, your tiny hairs at the ear will die and remember, once it is damaged, it will never grow back or renew.
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