When it comes to hunting, wearing hearing aids might seem like a logical choice. After all, hearing aids are designed to amplify sounds and help you hear better, which can enhance your experience in the great outdoors. However, it is crucial to understand that hearing aids do not provide sufficient sound protection, especially when using firearms or rifles.
The Temptation to Wear Hearing Aids While Hunting
It is understandable why wearing hearing aids while hunting may be tempting. These devices are capable of amplifying sounds, allowing you to hear the subtle nuances of the environment around you. Whether it’s the rustling of leaves, the distant call of an animal, or the chirping of birds, hearing aids can enhance your ability to connect with nature during your hunting expeditions.
You might reason that these hearing aids cost $6,000 and should do more than a pair of custom electronic hearing protection that costs a few hundred. But each device has a completely different purpose. Hearing aids are not built to protect your ears from loud noises.
The Limitations of Hearing Aids
However, hearing aids are not designed to provide sound protection in high-intensity noise situations, such as the discharge of firearms. It is essential to understand the physical construction of hearing aids to grasp why they do not offer adequate protection.
All hearing aids are built with either a dome, mold, or shell that fits into your ear canal. Each of these options has a vent that allows sound to enter and exit the ear. While this venting system is essential for providing a more natural sound experience, it also means that high-intensity sounds, like gunshots, can bypass the hearing aid and directly enter your ear.
Hearing aids are engineered to avoid amplifying already loud sounds, but they do not offer additional reduction or protection against such sounds. Consequently, wearing hearing aids while shooting can put your hearing at risk.
Protecting Your Hearing While Hunting
To ensure the safety and long-term health of your hearing, it is crucial to take appropriate precautions when using firearms. If you choose to wear your hearing aids while hunting, it is highly recommended that you remove them before firing a gun. Additionally, it is essential to use proper hearing protection to mitigate the harmful effects of loud noises.
Types of Hearing Protection
There are several types of hearing protection options available to hunters:
- Earplugs: Disposable or reusable earplugs are a popular choice for hearing protection. They are small, easy to carry, and come in various shapes and sizes to fit different ear canals. Earplugs effectively reduce the intensity of sound and are relatively inexpensive.
- Earmuffs: Earmuffs, also known as ear defenders, are another widely used form of hearing protection. They cover the entire ear and create a seal that blocks out noise. Earmuffs are particularly effective in reducing the volume of loud sounds and provide a higher level of protection compared to earplugs.
- Electronic Hearing Protection: For those who wish to maintain situational awareness while hunting, electronic hearing protection devices are an excellent option. These devices use advanced technology to amplify low-level sounds, such as whispers or the movement of game, while automatically attenuating or blocking out loud noises like gunshots.
Remember, although it may take a few extra seconds to remove your hearing aids and put on proper hearing protection, your long-term hearing health is more important than any shot you might take. Yes, one single shot can affect your hearing. By prioritizing hearing protection, you can enjoy your hunting adventures while minimizing the risk of future hearing loss.