Saturday, June 03, 2017

Deaf guy wants to go shooting, does he need hearing protection?

That question came up from daughter; my thought was that even if you couldn't have your hearing damaged, the pressure pulse from shots could be a problem, so asked around.  Answer is 'Yes'.
But I am deaf. And I’ve been deaf for as long as I can remember, so I know that pretty well. Despite my deafness, I still wear hearing protection when I shoot, and I’d like to tell you why . . .
My ears were instantly ringing. It wasn’t my 9mm, as I hadn’t even squeezed off a round yet. Some fellow, with his bolt action rifle, caliber unknown, had put out his target on the 100 yard line, and proceeded to sight in his gun. I shot mine, and the percussion seemed more intense than usual. The rifle to the left though…every time he fired, the ringing started anew and a sense of nausea began to grow.

I couldn’t take more than 15 minutes of it. Vertigo was kicking in big time. The tinnitus sounded like every air raid siren in Honolulu was going off, a cold sweat was breaking out. I was going to be lucky to make it out of the range without chucking lunch all over the shop floor.
I’m fine now. It took a week or two for the tinnitus to fade away. The headache, the nausea, the vertigo, all eventually receded. But left behind was an indelible lesson: ear protection isn’t just for protecting your hearing. Aside from hair cells inside your cochlea that turn sound waves into signals your brain translates into auditory input, there’s a lot more going on. And that protection helps make sure your body can do that for a long time. There are bones, fluids, tubes…all kinds of physiological processes going on that make for a bad time if you don’t protect them when you go out shooting.

My range has always had a rule: 'You go on the firing line, you wear hearing protection.  Period.  Don't care if you're deaf.'  Partly it's the general principal, partly nobody wants to hear "Hey, he's not wearing any, why should I have to?"  Turns out there's other good reasons.

1 comment:

Larry said...

Blind guy goes to the beach, does he need sunscreen?

Just because one can't perceive the danger doesn't mean it's not there.