Gun Noise and Ear Damage

Comparing gun noise with other common noises. The left column is the noise level measured in ("db") the right column is noises around us. The db scale is logarithmic,  level 2 is twice as loud as level 1, level 60 is twice as loud as level 59. The average siren is about 110 db at 10 feet this will start to damage the unprotected ears after 45 minutes. Therefore it is easy to understand that even one gunshot at 140db is injurious of unprotected ears.

0 The quietest sound you can hear
30 Whisper, quiet library
60 Normal conversation, sewing machine, typewriter
90 Lawnmower, shop tools, truck traffic, 8 hours per day is the maximum exposure (protects 90% of people)
100 Chainsaw, pneumatic drill, snowmobile; 2 hours per day is the maximum exposure without protection
115 Sandblasting, loud rock concert, auto horn; 15 minutes per day is the maximum exposure without protection.
140 Gun muzzle blast, jet engine; Gun noise causes pain and even brief exposure injures unprotected ears. Maximum allowed noise level with hearing protector. Truly deafening.


When shooting it is always  preferable to use some kind of ear protection. During sustained shooting the shooter should use double protection, i.e. ear plugs and ear muffs because ear plugs do not always protect fully at these pressures. Ear plugs and muffs are available at any gun shop, most hardware and home building materials retailers tools sections.  Remember Hearing aids are a nuisance and never work very well - save your ears because once gone silence is forever.

If you do experience gun noise to the extent that it leaves your ears ringing for more than one hour you should seek an Ear Nose and Throat specialist (ENT) with a specialty of neurotology or otology immediately. You may have a 50/50 chance of regaining full hearing with his medical treatment. Immediate treatment is necessary if full recovery is desired.


Loud noise ear damage is accumulative add gun noise to other exposures all around and you can assure the need of a hearing aid at an early age.




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