What? Huh? In the ear...

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by CHLChris, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

    The other day, for my last shot at an outdoor range I took off my ear protection and fired from my 9mm. My ears didn't ring or anything but the loudness was pretty strong...an understatement.

    It made me really wonder what effect the extreme sound of a discharged firearm (especially many times, especially indoors) would have on me if I was ever in a critical self-defense situation.

    If I was in my hall firing on an intruder coming toward me, or in an enclosed parking garage firing back after being shot in the arm during a bungled mugging attempt, what sort of physical response would I encounter concerning the sounds involved?

    How do our marines or army in combat handle such extreme sounds in battle?

    I just cannot imagine the extreme sounds involved in a gun battle, even of only a few rounds fired, especially since a .45acp 1911 is next to my bed.
  2. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

    Can't comment on the battlefield sounds but I am familiar with the notion of the "fog of war" and the disorientation that takes place.

    Regarding the physical effects of having to fire in self defense in a confined space, depending on the number of rounds temporary to permanent ear damage, ringing in the ears and possible loss of hearing.

    A typical gun shot is between 140 and 165db, hearing damage can begin at 85db or so.

    BTW...don't make a habit of unprotected shooting...even without the noise the overpressure wave from the muzzle can damage your inner ear.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010

  3. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    How do soldiers handle the noise in a combat firefight? Most of us go deaf. Note that there is no smiley face attached. The veterans administration handles a lot of hearing aid requests.

    An M16 is bad enough. now try 25 of them. add in a few belt fed firearms. toss in the recoiless weapons, such as the M72 LAW, an AT4. Season with the occasional claymore mine, detonating artillery or mortar shell, garnish with air support.

    How will it affect you in a self defense situation? Everyone is different- but most folks say they never heard the gun.
  4. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

    You don't worry about it. You are more worried about getting your *** or your buddies *** killed that you don't think about the noise.

    Coming from a guy with 30%+ hearing loss STOP SHOOTING WITH OUT hearing protection.

    You get only one set of ears. TO give them up in defense of your and your family's life is ok but don't give them up just "TO SEE HOW IT IS" is dumb bordering on stupid. if you can't hear as well as the bad guy trying to kill you he has a tactical advantage.

    1 just 1 shot from a pistol or rifle will damage your hearing permanently.
  5. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

    The closest I have come to "battlefield" conditions was shooting in a local Garand match hosting 40 shooters in 2 relays. For whatever reason I was running behind getting to the firing line for a rapid fire sitting stage. In my haste I had forgotten my "ears" which were sitting back at the ready line.

    I was pretty close to the center of the line (#8 or 9 IIRC) so I had 19 other .30-06 semi-auto's on either side of me, putting rounds downrange very quickly. The first shot fired on the line sparked that OH SH$T reaction in my head when I realized what I had (not) done. :eek:

    The strange thing is - my ears never did ring afterward. Yet one shot with an air rifle in my basement (it dieseled - long story...) had my ears ringing for a couple of hours after that one. So I suppose the pressure wave being contained indoors does tilt the scales a bit vs. shooting outdoors.

    In a relaxed environment like that (friendly competition) it will definitely throw off your concentration. (Yes, my score sucked for that string....)
    In a life or death situation I doubt it would even register due to the adrenaline pumping though your system. But that's just a guess on my part. Being alive and deaf still beats the alternative though IMO.
  6. michigan0626

    michigan0626 New Member

    In combat they ring some, but you really dont pay attention to it. I only concentrated on putting rounds down range. But, during our firefight I had a 50 cal in a humvee firing from about 10 feet behind me, loud, but such a soothing sound. It is very reassuring hear the big 50 covering you. I wasnt in the heavy stuff so I cant speak for what is like for the grunts, multiple firefights a day and mortars and artillery going off around them. Plus I was in the open areas, not the enclosed buildings of the big cities. All I know is they are hard of hearing, so am I but not that bad.
  7. superc

    superc Member

    A heck of a lot of vets and long time shooters have trouble hearing certain frequencies. The upper ranges usually goes first. Unfortunately a lot of human speech is in the upper range. This causes higher volume settings on the television and lot of people saying, what? Can you say that again?
  8. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

    I have to second tango on this one.
  9. Gojubrian

    Gojubrian New Member

    It gets super loud where I work 120db or higher. A gunshot from a 9mm is roughly 140db. I always use hearing protection. Alot of times I wear earplugs under my earmufflers.

    I was in field artillery for 9yrs. The 155mm 's were loud as heck!!! Repeated night fires for several days were not uncommon. Lots of the older guys couldn't hear for crap! I always wore ear protection.

    I think in a gunfight there would be so much adrenaline and tunnel vision you wouldn't realize the loud bangs because you would be too focused on what's going on. That doesn't mean it won't hurt your hearing though.

    Just my own speculation as I was never in battle.
  10. michigan0626

    michigan0626 New Member

    Thats me to a T.
  11. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

    This is what I've heard and it makes me wonder if there is some sort of superhuman protection--through intense adrenaline--of one's hearing when truly in a life or death situation, especially a short-term thing.

    My vocation and my main avocation (very closely related) require perfect hearing. I am more sensitive than most, not bragging. It is like saying I am balding...it is just plain true. Thus, I am more (is worried the word?) concerned about maintaining my hearing.

    Those electronic muffs seem like a good way to go. At least you could hear talking.
  12. zhuk

    zhuk New Member


    My uncle is quite profoundly deaf now due to manning a coastal battery gun during WW2. You can't really be in the same room watching TV with him its turned up so loud.

    +1 on electronic muffs - they are completely awesome.

    I have quite reduced hearing in the upper register due to an ear infection when I was 6; went utterly stone deaf until an operation restored most - but not all - of my hearing (can relate to the 'can't clearly discern the speech on TV' thing, superc).

    Was wearing those cheap hardware store muffs for my pistol holster course, and couldn't hear either the RO or the beeper - someone had to tap me on the shoulder when it sounded :rolleyes: Bought a pair of electronic ones asap...its like having a hearing aid, noise suppression just kicks in with sharp sounds. I can hear people talking metres away...and don't have to lipread anymore (which I've been doing all my life).

    Highly recommended.
  13. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

    Now here's a question that deep down my instincts are screaming "WHAT A STUPID QUESTION!!!!!"

    But here goes:

    If someone broke in your house and you hear them down the hall, would you a) pick up your gun [duh...yes], b) pick up your tactical flashlight that you've trained to use [depends on conditions, but probably], and/or c) put on a pair of electronic ear muffs that you keep next to your bed.

    I know it sounds stupid, but if 5 rounds of .45 acp in your hallway could cause irrevocable hearing loss, lasting a lifetime, would electronic earmuffs turned all the way up be helpful?

    Here's what I think the answer will be: One cannot discern all-important information like distance and direction of noises with those earmuffs like one can with the naked ear, right? So putting on earmuffs could get you killed and it is better to experience hearing loss with your family safe, than it is to have no hearing loss but be dead or a family member shot.

    Is that the answer?
  14. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

    Not to mention the 1 or 2 seconds to locate and don the ears may be the difference between life and death.
  15. JonM

    JonM Moderator

    the few times ive fired in life or death type stuff i never really heard the shots i fired. adrenalin kinda tuned it out. had other things more important going on. i have fired a 44mag under a overhang at skunks before and it hurt the ears a lot. i think adrenalin makes a big diff. but its a good idea to do some un protected firing so you are aware what its like. slip off the hearing protection in a indoor range once or twice wont kill you.
  16. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

    You all don't sleep with your ear muffs on? :confused:
  17. gatopardo

    gatopardo New Member


    Inside indoors ranges the hard flat surfaces mirror the sound in every direction, its almost unbearable, the sound is amplified because it cannot dissipate efficiently.

    Those of you guys who played and experiment with gunpowder fireworks when kids will agree, no matter how big the explosion is not that bad because the open space, of course delivering a 105mm projectile is a deafening experience, back to the muffs:eek:

    As for the gun battle rapid fire sounds just like firecrackers, the mortars are loud but not unbearable.
  18. buckhuntr

    buckhuntr Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    When I was a teenager, my idea of hearing protection was to plug my ears with my index fingers while the other guy was shooting. By the time I wised up and got protection, the damage was done, and my right ear (I'm right-handed) has noticably worse hearing than my left ear, to the point that I don't bother holding a phone to the right ear. :(
  19. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

    Yeah, if you think hearing protection is uncool, imagine sleeping with ear muffs...:D
  20. ET1

    ET1 New Member

    When I was 12 my father gave my grand dad's 16 ga. single shot shotgun to me for my birthday. He taught me how to be safe with a firearm. The one thing that he neglected to tell me was to protect my hearing. I shot thousands of rounds out of that 16 ga. over the years. I didn't realize I needed to wear hearing protection until it was too late. Now I have a constant ringng in my ears and don't do so well in crowded rooms. I can't pick out an individuals voice to have a conversation with. Back in the sixties no one I knew used any type of hearing protection. So now we are the hard of hearing generation. I guess the music will make this newest generation the same way, only there are a lot more of these guys listening to music then there were kids booming shotguns in my day.