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From: (Doug White)
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: SAFETY/MEDICAL: Hearing losses at 1000 Hz range
Date: 21 Jun 1996 07:15:48 -0400

In article 
   Alexander Eichener <> wrote:
<Having done a (superficial) audiogramm today, it appears that there is
<a slight negative valley in the 1000 hertz area. This appears unusual
<to me as a medical layman, because one would expect shooting-related
<hearing impairments rather in the 4000-8000 hertz range.
<Would any of you have similar or different experiences ?
<Second question: the audiogramm was not taken beyond 8000 hertz, which
<I am inclined to regard as a major professional blunder, since my
<subjective feeling of sensitivity loss extends exactly _above_
<this limit.
<How high would an extended audiogramm reach ?
<I shall see the university hospital tomorrow; suppose they have more
<sophisticated equipment there.

I had a detailed hearing test on Tuesday, and had a lengthy chat with the 
technician.  I have a slight but noticeable dip in both ears right at 4 
KHz, which she said is classic for loss from loud noise damage.  She said 
that they don't have good tests for frequencies above 8 KHz because the 
wavelengths are short enough that getting uniform, repeatable coupling 
into the ear is very tricky.  She also said that the frequency where the 
damage appears can be completely unrelated to the frequency of the noise 
that causes the damage.  Prolonged exposure to loud low frequency noise 
can produce a dip at 4 KHz just as well as noise at higher frequencies.

I'm 44 now, and have tried to be very careful over the last 25 years of 
shooting regularly.  Unfortunately, I wasn't so careful when I was a kid, 
and occasionally, someone will set off something loud when I'm not ready. 
 I don't have a baseline test establishing when the loss occured that I 
now show, but at least I have one for future comparison. 

She also said that damage can result from an inadequate recovery time 
between exposure.  Noises that might be OK on an infrequent basis can 
cause permanent damage if they occur the same number of times but over a 
short period.  I was always told that ringing in the ears indicates 
permanent, irreparable damage had been done.  Apparently it is more 
accurate to claim that bits have been at least bruised, and that some 
hearing can come back if the bruise heals before it gets zapped again.

Doug White

From: gmk@falstaff.MAE.CWRU.EDU (Geoff Kotzar)
Subject: Re: Is there a "quiet" handgun?
Organization: Case Western Reserve University

In article <> decwrl!apple!!well! (Roy Stuart Levin) writes:

#I once touched off a .44 spl inside at an indoor target range without ear
#protectors, just to see what kind of noise it would make, since I realized
#that if I ever had to use the weapon for home defense I would probably not
#be wearing ear protectors in the middle of the night.  It was very loud, but
#did not cause any permanent hearing damage.  I think what the other posters
#mentioned about adrenalin and the heat of battle was correct, if you ever had
#to use the weapon in an emergency situation you wouldn't be concentrating on
#the noise.  Just go to the range and use your earprotectors and don't worry
#about an eventuality which we all hope won't happen anyway.  If you did have
#to use the gun indoors it might make your ears ring for a while, but everything
#I have read about PERMANENT hearing damage requires consistent, numerous,
#cases of exposure to heavy sounds over a sustained period of time.  Any
#ENT M.D.'s out there reading this net?  This is IMHO of course, I'm not an M.D.

I thought I would add a little more anecdotal information to this discussion. I
live on a small farm which until very recently still had a number of animals
on the premises. Since it nestled in pocket of timber we get the occasional
predator looking for a handout and over the years it has been necessary to
stake out the barn and ambush the repeat offenders. To data I have had to fire
a 12 gauge, a .357, and a .45 ACP inside of buildings and .44 Mag and .45 ACP
outside without hearing protection. On every occasion hitting my target was of
such importance that my concentration was focussed on the front sight and I
never heard the shot(s). There was never any ringing and only with the 12 gauge
was there a slight dullness or muffling of the sounds which disappeared by the
early morning. The only time my ears have ever rung was when Joe Macho Asshole
discharged a Python with full power loads while standing next to me when I was
a kid. As long as I have been standing behind the gun the muzzle blast has not
been deafening. I have only had to fire multiple times (4 each) when I was
outside, the indoor discharges have only been single rounds out of necessity.

Before anyone comments about my not using ear protection especially indoors
with a 12 gauge, I gave it a lot of thought. But when you are sitting in
total or, in my case, near total darkness, your ability to hear your prey
moving is exceptionally important. The new electronic muffs would be an
asset in that application only they were not available and I don't plan on
doing a lot of that kind of house cleaning in my life. The particular
critter turned out to be a weasel, which has to be the most destructive
animal the gods ever created, and it had killed 7 of our birds at the time.
Small, about 9 ounces, fast and incredibly vicious, killing two or three
birds just for the pleasure of killing.  We did not even know how it had
gotten into the coup, so I had to know as much as I could about where it was
and where it was moving before it knew I was there. It was the second night
I had sat up waiting for it, and I do not know about the rest of you folks
out there but I cannot afford to sit up from mid- night to 3 or 4 in the
morning for many days in a row and still function at work at 8 AM.

I agree with Roy's observation about not worrying in a self defense situation
about going deaf. You may damage your hearing a little but it will be incon-
sequential in the long run, especially if you use good hearing protection when
you practice. Also your family members are not going to have their long term
hearing compromised any more than you. The only piece of advice I could offer
is the obvious one: Since hearing damage is cumulative and the more shots you
fire the greater the damage, stay calm, watch your front sight and don't miss.

Geoff Kotzar    

From: Gale McMillan <>
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Hearing loss during battle.
Date: 14 May 1998 23:37:05 -0400

Gary wrote:
# wrote:
# #
# # One thing I've always wondered is how soldiers deal with the loudness of
# # gunfire.  Do soldiers use ear plugs
In the years of my service little was known about hearing losses and
when I fired the guns in the top turret of the B25s I was a crew member
on if there was cotton in the turret ring we would use it but if not we
didn't worry about it because the engine noise was above 140 decibels we
couldn't hear the guns all that much.As a result I had a hearing loss of
about 25%. Believe me you don't miss it till it's gone. Even when the
jets came alone we didn't take any precautions until a lot of us added
to our hearing loss now every precaution is taken to prevent damage.

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