By Courtney Parmley, Au.D., CCC-A and Joanna Capobianco, Au.D., CCC-A, Central Illinois Hearing & Balance Center

Autumn is here, which means falling leaves and dropping temperatures. There are those who welcome this change of season with open arms and then there are others who simply view it as a “precursor” for what’s to follow — winter in Central Illinois. For hunters, the autumn season takes on a whole new meaning. It is finally deer season and hunters will be flocking to the woods with excitement and determination for opening day.

Any hunter will tell you that remaining very quiet in the woods is vital to accurately hear their game or any other noises sneaking up on them. For that reason, there are many hunters who do not wear hearing protection. They view it as more of a hindrance than anything. Fortunately, there are different types of hearing protection that still allow certain sounds to be heard and even amplified. This type of hearing protection is called electronic hearing protection.

Electronic hearing protection is different from traditional hearing protection that dampens all sounds. Electronic hearing protection uses a combination of external microphones and internal speakers. This combination lets the user hear everything around them at a normal level, or even at an amplified level. When a dangerously loud sound is detected by the electronics, such as a gunshot, the speakers to the ears are deactivated until the noise reaches a safe level again.

So what level of sound intensity is too loud for the human ear? Most experts agree you would have to be exposed to eight continuous hours of noise at 85 dB to cause permanent hearing loss, but sound spikes of 130 dB or more can cause permanent damage instantly.

This means every shot fired has the potential of damaging the ears of anyone within close hearing range.

Hearing protection should be on the top of every hunter’s must have list. You can have fancy hunting gear and the best camo around, but what good is it going to be when you can’t hear in the woods due to a hearing loss from not wearing proper hearing protection?

This article was originally published in the October issue of Healthy Cells Magazine. To see the original article, please click HERE.