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#7212396 - 06/30/18 10:39 AM Hearing damage for firearms and other sources
mikei Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 11/16/14
Posts: 3378
Loc: Mason, TX
I've lost a good bit of my hearing over the years and have been researching the causes for it (other than old age!). This is what I've collected from other forums and the internet. If you have information to add to this, please do so.

Noise levels of different firearms and other sources

Facts on noise levels:
1. Decibels measure sound pressure and are logarithmic. That means that only a 3db increase almost doubles sound pressure, a 6db increase quadruples sound pressure, etc.
2. Gradual hearing loss may occur after prolonged exposure to 90 decibels or above.
3. Exposure to 100 decibels for more than 15 minutes can cause hearing loss.
4. Exposure to 110 decibels for more than a minute can cause permanent hearing loss.
5. At 140 dBA noise causes immediate injury to almost any unprotected ear.
6. There is also the more extreme ‘acoustic trauma’, which is an immediate loss of hearing after a sudden, exceptionally loud noise such as an explosion.

Comparative noise levels and length of time for damage to occur:
Jet engine taking off 140 dB Instant damage
Thunder/Ambulance siren 119 dB 3 minutes
Hammer drill 113 dB 15 minutes
Chain saw/Earphones/Concert 110 dB 30 minutes
Bull Dozer 105 dB 1 hour
Tractor/Power tools 96 dB 4 hours
Hairdryer/lawnmower 90 dB 8 hours

Noise levels of firearms:
.22 caliber rifle 130dB
.223, 55GR. Commercial load 18" barrel 155.5dB
.243 in 22" barrel 155.9dB
.30-30 in 20" barrel 156.0dB.
7mm Magnum in 20" barrel 157.5dB.
.308 in 24" barrel 156.2dB.
.30-06 in 24" barrel 158.5dB. In 18" barrel 163.2dB.
.375 18" barrel with muzzle brake 170 dB.
.410 Bore 28" barrel 150dB. 26" barrel 150.25dB. 18" barrel 156.30dB.
20 Gauge 28" barrel 152.50dB. 22" barrel 154.75dB.
12 Gauge 28" barrel 151.50dB. 26" barrel 156.10dB. 18" barrel 161.50dB.
.25 ACP 155.0 dB.
.32 LONG 152.4 dB.
.32 ACP 153.5 dB.
.380 157.7 dB.
9mm 159.8 dB.
.38 S&W 153.5 dB.
.38 Spl 156.3 dB.
.357 Magnum 164.3 dB.
.41 Magnum 163.2 dB.
.44 Spl 155.9 dB.
.45 ACP 157.0 dB.
.45 COLT 154.7 dB.

Properly fitted earplugs or muffs reduce noise 15 to 30 dB. The better earplugs and muffs are approximately equal in sound reductions, although earplugs are better for low frequency noise and earmuffs for high frequency noise.

Using muffs and plugs together: Take the higher of the two and add 5 dB. 30 plug with 20 muff gives an effective NRR of 35.

If you are shooting by yourself, with plugs and muffs on, you get to shoot up to a thousand rounds without damage (louder ammo/gun and the allowable drops by a factor of 5). Shoot with other people and you have to add all the rounds shot cumulatively (10 people shoot 100 rounds and everybody's done for the day; toss a handcannon or 30 cal rifle in and you're back down to 200 rounds cumulative). If you shoot on an indoor range then all the rounds fired while you are on the range go into your total. So you can see that it doesn't take very long on a range to have a thousand rounds popped off around you.

Don't forget about bone conduction of concusive sound waves. The mastoid bone will transmit the sound vibrations directly to your inner ear where the cochlea and the hearing nerves reside. Constant exposure to these kinds of concusive sound waves, ie: 50 BMG, industrial heavy machinery, will result in the degradation of your hearing quality. Even with ear muffs, bone conduction is a big factor in hearing.


Edited by mikei (06/30/18 11:15 AM)

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#7212408 - 06/30/18 10:57 AM Re: Hearing damage for firearms and other sources [Re: mikei]
FiremanJG Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 26082
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Yet the federal government makes us jump through hoops to get suppressors.
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#7212420 - 06/30/18 11:15 AM Re: Hearing damage for firearms and other sources [Re: mikei]
mikei Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 11/16/14
Posts: 3378
Loc: Mason, TX
Yep! Jump through hoops, takes forever, and shakes you down for some coin for your stamp. THEN you can buy an expensive suppressor (the cost to build them can't be more than 50-60 bucks) and you can finally get on with it. Maddening.

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#7212430 - 06/30/18 11:35 AM Re: Hearing damage for firearms and other sources [Re: mikei]
cbump Online   sleepy
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/02/06
Posts: 14930
Loc: Weatherford
How bout a 240g machine gun? I know I have hearing loss from them.

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#7212460 - 06/30/18 12:27 PM Re: Hearing damage for firearms and other sources [Re: mikei]
Pig_Popper Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/16/15
Posts: 1755
Loc: Fort Worth
Next episode: recoil effects on vision (retinal dettachment)

bang
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#7212477 - 06/30/18 12:45 PM Re: Hearing damage for firearms and other sources [Re: mikei]
White Falcon Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 10/11/09
Posts: 1811
Loc: Holly Lake Ranch Tx.
I have had them both.

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#7212596 - 06/30/18 03:48 PM Re: Hearing damage for firearms and other sources [Re: mikei]
White Falcon Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 10/11/09
Posts: 1811
Loc: Holly Lake Ranch Tx.
Laser to re attach retinal detachment is the worst pain I have ever experienced!! Like having an ice pic driven through your eye and out the back of your head! I have had it done 4 times. Told DR to strap me in the chair!

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#7212764 - 06/30/18 08:40 PM Re: Hearing damage for firearms and other sources [Re: mikei]
HWY_MAN Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 05/25/06
Posts: 27587
Loc: Howard County
Interesting to see where the 41 rated, made the mistake of shooting one without hearing protection and it was partially inside the vehicle. I knew the moment I pulled the trigger I'd done damage. What led to this was a coyotes crossing the road and I was in my company car, instead of getting out I rolled down the passenger window and shot it from the driver side.

One I don't see on the list is the 30 Carbine, that's another one that will ring your bell.
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#7212765 - 06/30/18 08:41 PM Re: Hearing damage for firearms and other sources [Re: mikei]
RiverRider Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 8223
Loc: Wise Co.
Yup. It's a noisemaker out of a Ruger Blackhawk for sure.
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#7212965 - 07/01/18 07:42 AM Re: Hearing damage for firearms and other sources [Re: mikei]
fray Offline
Tracker

Registered: 09/01/16
Posts: 702
Loc: Commerce, TX
105 Howitzer?

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#7213104 - 07/01/18 11:14 AM Re: Hearing damage for firearms and other sources [Re: mikei]
mikei Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 11/16/14
Posts: 3378
Loc: Mason, TX

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#7213714 - 07/02/18 08:03 AM Re: Hearing damage for firearms and other sources [Re: mikei]
redchevy Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 28306
Loc: Texas
We used to site guns in at my grandpa's farm without ear plugs. Now I wont start a tractor, lawn mower, weed eater, chain saw etc. without ear plugs. I also quit driving hwy trips with the windows down, just too much noise.
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#7213724 - 07/02/18 08:12 AM Re: Hearing damage for firearms and other sources [Re: mikei]
KRoyal Online   sleepy
Texoma Legend

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 15925
Loc: Sherman/North of Dallas
I have tinnitus bad just a perpetual ringing in my ears. Can only hear it when it's quiet though. I can't really sleep at night without the air conditioning on or some kind of ambient noise. Otherwise I just sit and have this buzzing noise in my ears drives me bananas. I won't shoot anything that isn't suppressed or I have really good ear pro on. I did it a lot growing up and as a young adult. Paying for it now.
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#7213761 - 07/02/18 08:57 AM Re: Hearing damage for firearms and other sources [Re: redchevy]
wp75169 Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 10/11/09
Posts: 4813
Loc: Wills Point
Originally Posted By: redchevy
We used to site guns in at my grandpa's farm without ear plugs. Now I wont start a tractor, lawn mower, weed eater, chain saw etc. without ear plugs. I also quit driving hwy trips with the windows down, just too much noise.


That’s a good lesson to learn at a younger age. Most wait until they have some level of hearing loss if they ever learn at all.

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#7213787 - 07/02/18 09:29 AM Re: Hearing damage for firearms and other sources [Re: mikei]
redchevy Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 28306
Loc: Texas
I am only 32 but unfortunately already have some amount of hearing loss. One of the reasons I don't like bars or concerts anymore, with the background noise I just cant understand people well.

On the other hand my wife has perfect hearing and in the woods etc. I hear all kinds of stuff she never hears lol.
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