When you enter an indoor or outdoor shooting range there is one thing you’ll definitely notice: the abundance of hearing protectors. It is virtually unheard of for range shooters to go to the shooting range without any form of ear protection.
Shooting ranges require their patrons to wear some form of ear protection before they can participate in any kind of gun firing. The main reason for this is to protect shooters from the loud and potentially damaging noises produced by guns.
Hunters and Ear Protection: Do You Wear Ear Protection When Hunting?
Hunters, on the other hand, are not as cautious about ear protection as range shooters and they tend to forget about this necessary piece of protection which makes people ask, do you wear ear protection when hunting?
The short answer is a definitive yes, of course. Although it is easy to forget to wear protective ear muffs while in the middle of tracking and hunting your next prize they should still be worn during the actual act of firing. Just because you are out in the open space does not mean your hearing is not affected by the loud noise produced by your rifle.
Hunter Ear Protection History
Hunters who do not wear the correct hearing protection tend to suffer from “Hunter’s Ear” and wish they paid more attention to protecting their hearing when they were younger.
Hearing damage is usually permanent and hard to recover from. In the past it was understandable for hunters to forgo ear protection because they were limited to basic ear plugs which can be a handicap when hunting.
Using ear plugs during a hunt meant that you had to give up the full potential of your sense of hearing. This leaves a hunter prone to missing cues and sounds while tracking their prey.
Hence hearing protection was simply not a priority back in the day because ear plugs limited hunters’ ability to accurately hear their surroundings.
Bird hunters who fire multiple shots in the air are the most vulnerable to hearing loss because they tend to subject themselves to more shots. At the same time they rely on an accurate sense of hearing to hear quiet bird sounds.
For many hunters in the past, wearing protective passive ear muffs was also out of the question because they tend to get hot, sweaty and uncomfortable when used for hunting. Not to mention they also block out ambient noise while at the same time obstructing a hunter’s aim due to the caps.
With all these negative impacts of ear protectors it is very easy to understand why hunters often prefer to forgo adding ear plugs and ear muffs to their hunting gear.
Technology – Closing the Gap
This leaves most hunters at a loss and new hunters often ask: “do you wear ear protection when hunting?”
The great thing about hunting today is that you no longer have to sacrifice your sense of hearing to track and shoot a target. Technology has made it possible for hunters to protect their ears without limiting their ability to hear. Hunters these days are practicing better and safer hunting techniques all thanks to technology.
Electronic ear plugs and ear muffs are now able to connect to other devices which allow for quiet but understandable conversation. These technologically advanced ear protectors have the ability to block out or reduce the sounds of gun shots to a safe volume without limiting the ambient noise.
Most of these new ear protectors even have the ability to amplify ambient noises to make it easier to track prey, even from a distance.
Are Ear Protectors Worth It?
Hunters often question whether spending extra on high-quality ear protectors with technology they can barely understand is worth it. If you value your sense of hearing and you do not want to damage it further, the answer is, yes. Protecting your ears is worth it.
The great thing about ear protectors today is the numerous choices available. If you are not willing to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy ear muffs there are other more basic choices to choose from.
Save yourself from the pain of acoustic trauma and the woes of permanent hearing loss and damage. Be a smart hunter and protect your ears from the loud noise of your gun and you will have more years of active hunting to look forward to.