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A Longtime Shooter's Notes on Hearing Loss

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August 22, 2011

A Longtime Shooter's Notes on Hearing Loss

By David E. Petzal

Having started shooting in the 1950s when no one wore hearing protection and having persisted for half a century, I now have what the doctor describes as “profound” loss of hearing in both ears. What has happened is that some of the hairlike receptors in the middle ear, called cilia, have dropped dead from all the noise. This has had three effects: First, I have to wear hearing aids, but even with those I still have trouble understanding some people. Second, I have constant ringing in my ears, called tinnitus. Third, I have lost my ability to tolerate high-pitched sound that doesn't bother other people, such as fire sirens or Michelle Bachman speeches. This is called “recruitment.”

Of the three, the least known is recruitment. It occurs because your ears essentially re-program themselves when some of your cilia call it quits, and have other cilia doing double duty to compensate for the loss. The result is, that when certain sounds hit your ear, they get very loud very quickly because the way you process sound is all screwed up and some of your cilia are pulling in that sound much harder than they normally would. This is why, when a fire engine passes you with its siren going, you clap your hands over your ears and fall to the ground foaming at the mouth. And people with normal hearing merely stare at you in curiosity.

About hearing aids. The ones they have now are infinitely better than the ones that existed only a decade ago. But they are not a cure-all. If you’re trying to talk to someone who jabbers like a rhesus monkey, or speaks softly, or both, or has Valley Girl Lockjaw,* you will not understand them.

I've found it best to be pretty blunt about the situation. I point at my hearing aid and say “Speak slower [louder], I’m deaf, I can’t understand you.” Almost invariably, the person to whom I explain this will say “Oh, I didn't know.” And then will start again, speaking exactly the way they did before—too fast, or mumbling, or too softly, or whatever. Or, they will get out one sentence I can understand and then default to their normal pattern of speech. It makes for a stressful existence. For example, when I gave blood a few days ago I dealt with three vampires at the blood bank and had to ask them speak slower/louder a total of 7 times.

What I’m curious about is, do those of you who have also gone deaf have the same experience? Do you find that the people with whom you deal in the course of a day react to your lack of hearing as the ones I run into? Maybe it’s my approach. I’m considering having cards printed that say:

“I am hearing impaired. In order that we may conclude this transaction with a minimum of difficulty, kindly slow the f**k down and speak the f**k up.
Thank you.”

Or should I put it in stronger terms? Let me know what you think.

*I’m referring to the habit of some girls of high school and college age to clench their jaws when speaking, as though they had developed tetanus. The mouths don’t move and the sound, like, doesn't come out.

Comments (82)

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from Moose1980 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I had cronic ear infections as a youth and several sets of tubes. When a doctor I haven't seen before looks into my ears he usually says something like "Yee gads.....have you had tubes?". I have quite the scar tissue on my ear drums. Consequently, if there is any background noise such as the air handler blower going on right now, I need to look at the person talking to me, or I will have to ask them to repeat themselves. However, out in the woods my hearing is fine and I can hear a mouse fart....unless its a windy day! And as I'm only 31 I really put the hearing protection on at the range to save what I got.

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from jjas wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

As a person who's been shooting for almost 40 years, I too have a bit of hearing loss. Not sure if the loud music contributed to it....okay it did, but between the two I've noticed a bit of loss.

I'm usually fine unless there is noise in the background or like Mr. Petzal said, people are mumbling....(or @ least I think they are mumbling).....

Regardless, it sucks and I wish I'd started wearing hearing protection when shooting sooner in life and listened to my parents when they screamed @ me to turn the D*mn stereo down.....

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from rock rat wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Happens on the phone also. One thing I do is speak extremely slowly so they can get the idea, when they catch on and stop running words together a million miles an hour I too speak at a normal pace.

One thing I've noticed with the recruitment. I can hear small sounds in a quiet environment easier than others. A tig snapping in the woods or a far away engine.

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from SD_Whitetail_Hntr wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I'm very much on the young end of the spectrum at 26 years old. However I was out in the field with a shotgun in hand by age 10. And can probably count the number of times I used hearing protection (prior to shooting pistol) on one hand. I have tinnitus quite bad for my age. When I took my last hearing test over 3 years ago, my ability to hear even reasonable higher frequencies was pretty much garbage. I know I've already done enough irreperable damage to my ears that I will have some difficulties by the time I'm 40. I try to be somewhat concious about it when I'm shooting now. But when I'm actually "hunting" I just don't foresee me utilizing hearing protection too often. I've started when bird hunting at least.

Not much of an answer to your question since I'm dealing with too many people I can't understand yet. The number of people who complain about me not listening to them is quite a different story however. That's not going to change.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Put on those earphones and hear myself think? Gets flat out loud, and scary.

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from MJC wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I can definitely point to several instances when I should have been using hearing protection, but didn't with painful results. The most dramatic occurred while acting as an a-gunner on a machine gun. I was stuffing pocket lint into my ears as fast as I could after the first string.

As a result, if there is any whitenoise in the background my ability to hear goes out the window. Most of the time, I just fudge my way through half-heard conversations over crowd noise, a fan or running water. If it ever gets worse though, I think I'll go your route and make up the signs.

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from bigeyedfish wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

DEP,
If you showed those signs to me during a conversation, I would die laughing and the transaction would get nowhere. I can think of many worse ways to go.

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from fox4 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Hearing loss has its own benefits. One is subject to a lot less useless and annoying chatter. Further, when a person or subject begins to fit into the annoying or useless category, hearing loss can be used to excuse oneself from the BS, person or subject. Polite, and therefore often useless and annoying company usually stop talking to me when I explain that my hearing loss is a result of too many guns and too many aircraft. I often think that what I miss in conversation may positively contribute to my long term mental health.
However, I am still able hear my grandchild. My son-in-law shoots with me occasionally and I advise him to wear hearing protection. That is chatter he does not want to miss.

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from fieldgeneral wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Dave-
To answer your question I simply point to an ear and then cup my ear toward the person-they usually get it. The loss of hearing occurred on the firing range during basic training in 1971. My ear plugs popped out and fell on the ground in trench that I occupied. Under no circumstances were we allowed to reach down inside trench during a live fire exercise. By the time a ceasefire was called my ears were ringing. I filed a disability claim with VA in 2006. It was approved two months later-10 per cent.

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from Bellringer wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I too have hearing loss but it does not bother me too much, because at my age, not much anyone says matters to me anyway.

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from NHshtr wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Huh? What? Dave, c-a-n y-o-u r-e-p-e-a-t t-h-a-t, p-l-e-a-s-e?

I have tinnitus and some recruitment from far too many rounds of handgun 22's without ear protection over the years. When I was young it didn't seem loud. But I became more sensitive over time and now, it's very loud. Not too bright, but you could figure that much anyway.

I always wear protection at the range, but I've never used any hunting. I'll be bird hunting with some hearing protection this year. Not so sure about deer hunting though.

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from Harold wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I too started shooting in the 1950s and it was well into the 1960s before someone introduced me to a pair of hearing protectors. Add to that 6 years of shooting the Army's 8" howitzer and loud rock bands, PLUS a family genetic propensity to male hearing loss, it escapes me how I can hear anything at all without my new hearing aids. With them in its a whole new world-a very noisy one I might add. I could have bought one hellofa rifle or shotgun for the dough I sunk into them, but perhaps this year I will be able to hear cow elk chirp and bark and perhaps even most of a bugle.

But to answer your question Dave, my experience is much like yours. My "favorite" example is an old friend, who when we're driving in my car will stare out the right-side window and direct his remarks to the same. I don't know how many times I've asked him to point his mouth towards me. He does-for about three sentences. Then he goes back to talking to the window!

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from RS08 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

dave, i think your card idea is like way to polite. you should probably put it in stronger terms, don't hold back.

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from Bernie wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Dave, my experience is precisely as yours has been--people who "whisper" when they speak, others who do not enunciate, people who speak too fast...

I started shooting as a youngster, am 62 now, have tinnitus and some hearing loss. (My Marine Corps health records show a hearing loss when I was discharged in 1971, yet it took me 35 years to get a ten percent compensation for the tinnitus.)

I got hearing aids three months ago and they are great! I still run across people who mumble and who I have to ask to repeat themselves. Then, maddeningly, as Dave points out, they speak in the same manner as they did the first time!

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from ckRich wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I think the cards will wo...my apologies. I THINK THE CARDS WILL WORK, YOU BETTER GET A SHOEBOX FULL PRINTED ASAP.

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from Oryx wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Does anybody hunt with the "Game Ear" or whatever the latest is called? Never tried a set.

If they would allow you to hear somewhat normally and still provide protection they may be worth a look.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

While at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center for hearing aids, the audiologist said in no way I could lose that much hearing in that short of time thanks to a deployment to an abandoned Russian Air Base south of Cairo Egypt in the middle of "BFE" itself. While digging and moving sand, we uncovered rusted out barrels and other buried trash. Later to find they were having chemical warfare exercises with live chemicals, nice!

So my problem is two parts, exposure to unknown substance and cheep hearing protection procured by the military. I remember the ground and air pounding louder than all entire rock concert combined by B52's and KC135's at full throttle being the norm. When the Hospital came out to do there tests, engines were cut back and a quite hour especially during the evenings of Little House on the prairie.

Being on the Base HP Team and the Air Force Shooting Team, they said that's where I lost my hearing. Funny thing, after cross training getting away from the aircraft including increased shooting, part of my hearing did come back debunking there myth.

Hearing aids drive me frigging nuts!

I have a mid to high range hearing loss and every door knob rattle & slam of a door to someone typing to the rustle of paper sounds like its right in my ear.

Sometime ago, I contacted Walkers Game Ear asking how good they would be for my use?

Watching their advertisements, I wasn’t convinced and they couldn’t give me a straight answer.

FYI !

It's not how loud the noise is.

It's how much and the duration of the noise even at tolerating levels. You can say, it's like being exposed to X-Ray!

73's & M1A's

TARGETS UP!

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from davycrockettfv wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

The reason some of you are only having a hard time when people speak is because with what they call "noise-induced hearing loss", you lose your ability to hear high frequencies first. A lot of consonant sounds we use are produced at higher frequencies, so when you lose the ability to hear that, it often ends up sounding like Charlie Brown's mom on the phone. I bet some of you may notice it can be more difficult to understand girls, or those with higher voices. Keep in mind that you still have more cilia working in your "inner ear" (not middle ear), so it's still vitally important to wear hearing protection. As of right now there's no way to grow those guys back. On a related note, those little earbud headphones that we use with our ipods are playing a HUGE role in hearing loss, so be careful with those too!

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from davycrockettfv wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Clay, you're right about how much and duration of the noise, but there are times when a one loud noise can give you hearing loss. It's usually a sound above 140 decibels (65 is how loud we speak in conversation). So being too close to the muzzle of a rifle can do the same thing.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

davycrockettfv

Very true, we all know about the big bangs and loud noises of Air Boats etc. But the real problem in hearing loss in the Sporting Community, we have to educate those to the sounds that leave our ears instantly with a 3 or so days, more so just short of the ringing ears that do the most damage over long term. It just creeps in, a little loss here, a little loss there!

I can here a fire truck or Ambulance down the road coming over the stereo and vehicles in the woods way before someone with perfect hearing can.

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from Oryx wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

yeah, but I've never been able to understand girls. Never will, God willing.

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from jbird wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Great post Dave. If we ever meet, and I hope we do, I will gladly talk loud and slow for you. After experiencing how difficult it was to carry on a conversation with my Grandpa (who had severe hearing loss) I became "religious" with hearing protection when I'm at work (very noisy) and when I'm out shooting.

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from duckcreekdick wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I wear two hearing aids courtesy of the V.A. and they help me out a whole lot. Thanks for cluing me in about "recruitment". So that's why some noises to me are overly loud.
I find most people accomodating if I answer, "Huh?" and ask them to repeat what they said. Once a smart-ass said "Can you hear me now?", like that old cell-phone ad. I was not amused.
Anyone out there like me using the closed caption feature on their TV? Pretty handy.

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from Scott Jones wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I'm 46, been shooting for over 30 years, more 22 pistols than anything else. Add to that over 25 years in industrial plants. Yeah, I can tell I have some loss, but if I get in the woods and aclimated to the quiet I hear pretty well. I'm at the point where if there is background noise I have to look at someone to understand them. I seem to have more trouble understanding people when its noisy.
Wife keeps telling me I don't have a hearing problem, I have a listening problem. Or some such, I really wasn't paying attention.

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from fitch270 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I'm 43 and have been holding off on hearing aids for a couple years now. I'll need them eventually to keep my
CDL, but no one can explain to me how they won't make things worse when you have to wear them in a noisy truck. Electronic earmuffs have saved turkey hunting for me, and I'll be wearing them this fall so I can hear my Brit's beeper collar.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I have tinnitus from flying in an Aerail Rocket Artillery Gunship in Viet Nam without a Crew Helmet once when they did not have a Spare! Have always used ear protection ever since.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I have had tinnitus for years before we had a name for it, but it doesn't come from one occasion. Years and years of shotgun usage and idiots shooting over my shoulder caused it. Fortunately there is a mental excercise that helps eliminate it. Basically pay no attention to it sort of like when your wife bitches at you.

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from Bernie wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I should have mentioned that at the range in Marine Corps boot camp the drill instructors gave us pieces of cotton to stuff into our ears--certainly not an effective protection. I shot on the USMC rifle team at Camp Lejeune in late 1971, and I believe that was the same protection they supplied...crazy.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

It has a name and it's called selective hearing Jim!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

For you folks who wear hearing aids as I've been told, not to use them unless you really need them. The higher disables produced by the hearing aid just may have the same impact as to hazardous noise.

Sounds plausible

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from dickgun wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Yes,
As a kid on the farm running tractors and machinery. Take the muffler off and let'er crack. Kind of like the Harley you would love but could never afford.
As a young man learning to fly and then flying for a long time before ear protection. No ear plugs back in those simple planes with no sound proofing and not much of a muffler. And, no headset, of course. Who needs a headset with no radio?
And then the guns. My guns, other guns, then lots of client guns too close to the ear when lying prone on a hump looking through binos for a trophy shot. Not to mention the advent of a guides most likely eardrum buster - the dreaded muzzlebrake.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW, DAVE?

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

WAT YOU SAY' SONNY?

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from vtbluegrass wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

This is the very reason I make sure to try and not lose my hearing. I mean I wear muffs when mowing the grass and in the boat when the outboard is going(can't afford a quiet 4-stroke). I take a ribbing in the duck blind but electronic muffs are the best thing ever and they keep your ears from freezing. Also I don't say "huh" for hours after hunting.
Hopefully this advantage of the previous generations hindsight will keep my hearing as it is now where I can hear a gnat pass wind at 10 paces.

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from ingebrigtsen wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Million of hunters worldwide have severe hearingloss.. its a habitual hazard cos we dont front the culture of using hearingprotection in the field..
Last my ears got tested i had only 60% of my total hearing left and no permanent tinnitus so far. but the lucky part is that my spectres on my left and right ear only partially overlap leaving me with still 98% of the total spectre left.. so i can hear well still, but what ear i can disseminate speach with is different on the left or right and dependant on weather the speach is high or low pitched.. and i have explained it to my wife thoroughly that she has to speak in my good ear for me to hear her.. and she has accepted it, but i havent told her what my good ear is so i still claim the right to misunderstand when i feel like it.. shes tired of repeating herself already so ;)
But just as we wouldnt buy our kids skatebords, rollerblades and so on today withouth pads and a helmet. and especially not a motorbike withouth leathers and roadhelmet, we shouldnt get our kids and younger ones ANY loud guns withouth electronic hearing protection.. electronic cos they r really good today, some will actually increase your natural hearing ability, and then be a good example to em and wear them yourself all the time while hunting.. most of us have precious little hearing left and we should try to protect the little we got left.. and then protect our kids hearing.. its an attitude adjustment across the board for all hunters thats gonna help prevent the next generation hunters be able to still enjoy music, listen to theire loved ones and be able to take part of social conversations.. And yeah i know it kinda feels good to get some "peace from the wife naggering", blablah. but i worked 2 weeks in an oldpeoples home, somatic department last year and saw people totally isolated from loss of hearing, eyesight etc.. theire quality of life was horrific cos of this isolation of the senses and they couldnt engage the outside world cos they couldnt talk to them anymore..they basically just sat around alone tended by strangers waiting to die with death not comming fast enough since medicine already has come so far in life extention. its not a nice prospect to not be able to appreciate your grandkids cos u where lasy and or toughguy and didnt wanna look bad wearing hearing protection.. sack the heck up and buy E-hearing protection for yourself and loved ones and wear them religiously, or are u guys cowardly ken-dolls about yer looks?? Or is it stupidity and inability to learn from your own mistakes??:P

AND ONE LAST THing, i just got'' 'e'' u''''s''... ... ... ... ... .. . ..... ...... ........ beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

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from shane wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Petzal, you spelled Bachmann wrong. I could give two farts, but I thought I'd point out the rare flub up for you.

At what point do you suggest religiously plugging and muffing? Can I still shoot my .22s without protection? Do you think it's overdoing it to wear protection for that one shot on big game hunts?

I blame two Ted Nugent front stage photo passes as much as I blame the shooting. That bastard is loud in every way, especially when plugged in. He seems to be no stranger to the guns, either last time I checked. He must be deaf as an adder (What the hell does that mean? Deaf as a Gun Nut. There we go.).

Good thing this is all in text. This blog would be a sorry sight with all you geezers around.

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from shane wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I'm glad I'm not crazy -- others here can't hear normal stuff, but then get them in the woods and they can hear things most never could. I'm that way. Makes no sense to me.

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from nc30-06 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I have tinnitus. I "hear" the loud ringing over anything that is going on. Of course it is due to machinery, guns, jet engines, and such. Working on F-4s in the Marine Corps and of course shooting the .45 and M14 and M16 contributed. When I wake up, I have to get up. If I try to lay there for a few extra minutes, I start listening to the loud ringing and it drives me crazy. All the years flying without ear plugs or any hearing protection didn't help either. Now, the wind noise when riding a motorcycle is just too much, even with helmets that supposedly are "quiet".
When I was young, I used to say I could hear snow falling. Boy, I miss that.

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from JCB wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Move away from the NY City area. People there talk too fast. Move to the southern states. They talk a lot slower there.

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

To Shane: Anything louder than an air rifle, wear headphones. Plugs, even the best ones, are a poor substitute.

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from Blade wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Looking at the comments, I don’t think everyone heard you. I also have severe profound hearing loss in both ears. I have a 97% loss in the right ear and 96% in the left, with tinnitus ringing loud every minute of the day. I also did all the wrong things that destroyed my hearing. I often shot a 357 Mag in an old sand pit, had a Browning Sweet 16 that was the loudest damn shotgun made and shot it every weekend. Back then if you had hair on your balls you didn’t dare use hearing protection. My dad owned an old blacksmith and welding shop in a small farming community. The blacksmith 50 pound little giant trip hammer he had was one loud piece of equipment to be around and the old blacksmith had it going 10 hours a day. I often used a side grinder while repair welding farm equipment and never thought about the damage that was happening to my hearing. No one can really understand the handicap the deaf and near deaf live with. I seldom talk on a phone and I will not watch a movie or anything on TV without the caption. I have tried everything made to help overcome my hearing loss just to be able to talk on a phone, listen to music, watch a simple program on TV or have a nice conversation with someone. If I cannot see your lips I cannot understand you when you talk. It is just that simple. Dave understands the tough part, we sit in meetings and all we hear most of the time is a loud noise. Not a good thing when your boss is talking about your performance. I cannot understand someone speaking in a loud restaurant, auditorium or the preacher trying to save my poor ass on Sunday morning. Some of the asses will say “buy better hearing aids or turn em up” and that really pisses me off. I once had a jury summons in the mail so to fulfill my civic duty I showed up all nice and proper. I tried to explain to the judge about my hearing loss. Well old “Judge Roy Bean” had a low tolerance for pain and screamed out loud that he would just talk louder, no one messes with me and excuses for not serving would not be allowed. I thought “oh yea” and from that point on I turned the volume way down, and court was underway. The assistant DA was asking prospective jurors the normal question crap they spew, when she got to me I just sit there listening to the mumbling coming out of her mouth. This went on for a few minutes and she looked real frustrated and said “are you deaf”. That part I fully understood and I screamed out, “that is what I have been trying to tell everyone in this building”. I wasn’t selected by either side. :>/

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from Blade wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Looking at the comments, I don’t think everyone heard you. I also have severe profound hearing loss in both ears. I have a 97% loss in the right ear and 96% in the left, with tinnitus ringing loud every minute of the day. I also did all the wrong things that destroyed my hearing. I often shot a 357 Mag in an old sand pit, had a Browning Sweet 16 that was the loudest damn shotgun made and shot it every weekend. Back then if you had hair on your balls you didn’t dare use hearing protection. My dad owned an old blacksmith and welding shop in a small farming community. The blacksmith 50 pound little giant trip hammer he had was one loud piece of equipment to be around and the old blacksmith had it going 10 hours a day. I often used a side grinder while repair welding farm equipment and never thought about the damage that was happening to my hearing. No one can really understand the handicap the deaf and near deaf live with. I seldom talk on a phone and I will not watch a movie or anything on TV without the caption. I have tried everything made to help overcome my hearing loss just to be able to talk on a phone, listen to music, watch a simple program on TV or have a nice conversation with someone. If I cannot see your lips I cannot understand you when you talk. It is just that simple. Dave understands the tough part, we sit in meetings and all we hear most of the time is a loud noise. Not a good thing when your boss is talking about your performance. I cannot understand someone speaking in a loud restaurant, auditorium or the preacher trying to save my poor ass on Sunday morning. Some of the asses will say “buy better hearing aids or turn em up” and that really pisses me off. I once had a jury summons in the mail so to fulfill my civic duty I showed up all nice and proper. I tried to explain to the judge about my hearing loss. Well old “Judge Roy Bean” had a low tolerance for pain and screamed out loud that he would just talk louder, no one messes with me and excuses for not serving would not be allowed. I thought “oh yea” and from that point on I turned the volume way down, and court was underway. The assistant DA was asking prospective jurors the normal question crap they spew, when she got to me I just sit there listening to the mumbling coming out of her mouth. This went on for a few minutes and she looked real frustrated and said “are you deaf”. That part I fully understood and I screamed out, “that is what I have been trying to tell everyone in this building”. I wasn’t selected by either side. :>/

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from Blade wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Sorry about the duce post :>/

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from steve182 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I cup my hand around my better ear and lean in the direction of the speaker(mumbler). Dave, Perhaps you need one of those old-fashioned conical devices (like a funnel)you hold up to your ear. That'd be a funny sight, no offense.
On a serious note it's the tinnitus that really bothers me, worse than the hearing loss.

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from wgiles wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I have very little hearing in my left ear and some loss in my right ear. My tinnitus sounds like crickets chirping all the time. I can't blame it all on shooting, since I've been around heavy equipment and other noise most of my adult life. The thing that I am beginning to notice is that I can't localize sounds any more. I can hear them, but don't know where they are coming from. I can't understand conversation when there are other sounds in the area. I need to mute the TV or radio to understand speech. The biggest problem that I have with people speaking to me is getting them to understand that they don't need to speak louder, just slowly and clearly. And give me a moment to turn down the noise.

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from Jim in Avon wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Yours is the story of my hearing life as well. Nobody talked about hearing protection in the days of Warren Page, when I grew to love the "crack" of my '03 Springfield.

My eldest has chosen audiology as a career, so of course she used me as a test dummy for her basic courses. The tests include, among other steps, sitting in a soundproof room (except the tinnitus still sounds like 10,000 crickets in high dudgeon even in that environment), wearing a headset and repeating words spoken at ever-lower volumes by the tester. After one unintelligible word, I saw through the glass window she was near tears. After the session, I asked her what the problem was.

"It was the word, dad, the word you couldn't hear -- 'shotgun.' "

My hearing chart has a mid-range drop-off like a Wile E. Coyote cliff. Even so, I generally can make out what people say, IF there is minimal background noise and IF they will move their @%*% lips and enunciate. Since my retirement job is that of a substitute teacher, there's generally plenty of the former and none of the latter.

And of course I share your frustration with teen-agers who move neither lip nor jaw while mumbling in a monotone. So I make no embarrassed bones about it; I cup my left ear, tilt my head and, in an exaggerated voice, semi-shout "I'm half deaf! Kindly move your lips when you mumble, so that I might read them!" They love the candor, just as they love honesty in all interactions. And they speak louder, slower and more clearly. For awhile.

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from tom warner wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I imagine that you will get much more comment than usual on this one! I am now 78 yrs. old and have severe hearing loss, which is mitigated quite a bit by top of the line hearing aids, which I have been wearing for almost 20 years now. As a boy I had better than average hearing, but that all ended when I went in the army during the 50's. During basic, we were not allowed to wear any kind of hearing protection whatsoever on the shooting ranges. Rifles, machine guns, grenades, etc. If you were caught doing so, it was a punishable offense! This was at Ft. Dix, NJ. Typical military ignorant stupidity. Each day I would return to the barracks with such a loud ringing in my ears that I could barely hear anything. We now know of course that the ringing was a sign of bad hearing damage. Later on, much too late to do so, I found that I could have applied for compensation for my loss. Each time that I think of all this I get very angry. Because, like all of us, I have continued to shoot a lot for the rest of my life, including many years of competitive skeet shooting. Although I then wore hearing protection (mostly plugs) the hearing loss no doubt continued to a large extent. My best friend was a fighter pilot during WW2, shot a lot of skeet during his training, never wore hearing protection around the planes of any kind, then or since, and now is almost entirely deaf. So, you might say that he also was robbed of his hearing beginning with the military, which should have required that he wore protection, but did not. I have read that people living in so-called primitive societies have greatly superior hearing abilities compared to humans in modern societies, where we are surrounded daily by damaging assaults on our ears by a huge variety of overly loud sounds. Few older friends of mine still have decent hearing. They are all shooters.

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from SD Bob wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I've got it especially bad in my left ear and my wife accuses me of using it as a crutch to not listen. I'm not admitting to anything! I had to buy a different alarm clock because if I rolled onto my right ear, I wouldn't hear it go off.

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from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I suffer from tinnitus and audio nerves beaten to hell. I have a VA Disability due it although I'm also a performing musician.

Weird the minute the medical community knows a person shoots that gun fire is the sol problem source. Nonsense. Military Life is noise pollution personified. No one can understand the long term effects being on a flight line and inside a military aircraft. A member will suffer hearing loss.

What I discovered is my high freq. hearing loss, while not great, affects greatly my speech discrimination after tinnitus is added to the mix. My tinnitus flairs when exposed to noise of a open car window.

Also, when I mix music in post-production recordings I have to cut high freqs 10% because what I compensate for my hearing loss.

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from firedog11 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Dave if you think the noise from the siren is loud outside you should try being on the inside and the old air horns that we used for years plus the engine noise has caused most of us in the fire service to suffer from the the same problems you describe. After 40 years in the fire service I am basically in the same boat as you. I bought a good set of head phones to wear while shooting and hunting.

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I am a member of the club, unfortunately. Now I hate loud noises to the extent that I sometimes plug and muff when mowing the lawn, and background noise is very hard to filter from conversations. Add to that my rapidly worsening vision, and all of a sudden Helen Keller jokes just aren't funny any more.

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from oldgene wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

My blind niece would tell you to put that your blind on the card, people always slow down and speak louder to someone who's blind.

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

http://www.hearingfrequencytest.com/

Try this test... I can only hear between 200 and 10,000 Hz. Very sad indeed. Driving tractors all day when I was a child, 40 years of shooting, worked in a millwork shop for 7 or 8 years with LOUD machines running all day. And my wife thinks I am just ignoring her when she talks to me. She may be half right.

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from MaxPower wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Dave-

I'm with you on the inconvenience of being deaf, it truly blows. I'm 28 and have had hearing aids since I was 26, partly hereditery, partly shooting withour proper protection and partly from rock concerts. In all I've lost 65%.

The inability to understand people even though you can hear them is called discrimination. To me this is the worst part of being deaf. I can hear people, and I know we're speaking the same language but I can't make out the words (unless I read their lips). I feel like a social handicap.

On the plus side, it sure is easy to fall asleep once the hearing aids come out. Not that that was ever an issue for me anyway.

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from 17claybird17 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I'm 67 and I have all the problems all the writers are commenting about and for mostly the same reasons. Gad, all those large centerfire handguns I owned and shot WITH NO PROTECTION for so many years. Well, it's 2011 and I am shooting handguns and rifles much less and my shotgun a lot more. My ENT and a top-notch audiologist have examined me and ordered me to double-up on ear protection if I continue shooting. I use custom-molded ear plugs that fill the outer ear well PLUS Peltor electronic muffs.I am constantly being asked how I can shoot with all the s - - - on and in my head and I have repeated my story dozens of times. I wish I could know the joy of trapshooting without muffs but facts are facts. I am doing very well with my Remington 870 TC (extended forearm and gorgeous wood). I truly enjoy besting all the fancy artwork from Europe that cost 3-10x what my 870 was. The 23-old gun does the trick when I do my job.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I was very serious about learning to ignore the ringing. You'll go nuts if you don't.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

At a stopover in Hawaii heading back to Okinawa, I got a dress for the misses for $5.00 instead of $28.00 by a street vendor. Yep! bad hearing has its drawbacks and advantages too! Kids will say something I didn't catch, they bite there tongue then instantly back track and reword what they should of thought and said, I just smile!

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from semp wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Ever notice how when you get one of those calls from your credit card FRAUD department ... just after you purchased something of 'life and death' need ... like your 5th Glock or just another version of the 870? Run to the phone ... call the FRAUD numeber outta breath and Bingo ... ya get some fast talking babe, whose 1st language is never American, quizzing you softly thru a BlueTooth headset? Seems evertime 4 me ... so I hang up find my friend Jack#7 and calmly consider whether or not to retrieve the handset that holed my window screen. And note again to get a hearing test :-)

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from dasmith wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

When I started using a chainsaw it hurt my ears, so I was the first one in the family to wear hearing protection while using a chainsaw. In the Army they issued us the rubber plugs in a plastic carrier that we wore on the shirt pocket of the uniform. For the last 8 years, I have carried the soft plugs in my pocket. Even taking precaution I have lost hearing in my left ear and now have a hard time hearing one voice when there is background noise or several people talking.

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from Zermoid wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

You could also have the
“I am hearing impaired. In order that we may conclude this transaction with a minimum of difficulty, kindly slow the f**k down and speak the f**k up.
Thank you.”
Tattooed across your forehead, save you from constantly having to dig out the card. Alternately it could be printed on a hat...........

Never heard of “recruitment” even though I do have the tinnitus problem, and the high pitched sound problem to a lesser degree.
Side note, a rock concert has about the same effect as gunfire on your ears, be warned if you are so inclined to attend one. Found that out when Alice Cooper was at our local county fair a couple years ago, my ears were ringing as bad as if I'd shot alot of rds of 44mag sans ear protection.

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from buckmeister2 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Dave, Thank you for a great article! I have precisely the same problem, same degree of loss (profound), courtesy of Uncle Sam. My hearing aids cost $4800, and do little good for the exact reasons you describe. People just don't get it until they have it.

I seldom talk on the phone, and when I do talk with someone I do not know, I stop them during the first sentence, explain my situation, then ask them to continue. I also tell them I prefer email, if they can do that. I do not engage people at the poker table, and never try to talk with people in any crowded area where there is a lot of background noise. I used to be outgoing, witty, and very engaging. I was a salesman all my life. I can no longer do my job effectively due to hearing loss. If it is any comfort, millions of men in their 60's, some younger, are in the same situation. Jim

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from Tigerbeetle wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Dave, Most of your story is like reading my autobiography - which I haven't written. Everything has been said and I really can't add much, except I had a few hundred hours in Hueys and C-130s back in the 60s to go along with riding a John Deer tractor all day in the summer starting at about age 9 or 10 (1951) along with shooting a .22 or bigger about every day as well. My hearing was what it is by 1970, and didn't get much worse. My wife finally made be get hearing aids about 4 years ago.

The mega-dollar hearing aids are nice, but I would rather have had the CVFA's superposed in a light 20 bore for about the same money. What irritates me is that I can't wear them when it is raining, very foggy or when I am sweating. They are not only NOT water proof, they are not even water resistant. So about half the time I am outdoors trying to enjoy myself, I can't hear a hell of a lot. It is surprising how quietly I can stalk! Even through dried leaves....

Just this morning I ordered an inexpensive pair of "game ear" type hearing aids for dove hunting, deer hunting, fishing, etc. I figure they will help me hear a few of the subtle sounds of nature I am missing otherwise. And if I fall in the lake or get drenched (without a pouch to put them in) at least it won't cost me a second mortgage to get some more. And if that happened, I don't think I would.

Keep up the good work, and let me know who made the business cards for you, or just send me 100 or so and I will help you hand them out. TB

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from Tigerbeetle wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Dave, Most of your story is like reading my autobiography - which I haven't written. Everything has been said and I really can't add much, except I had a few hundred hours in Hueys and C-130s back in the 60s to go along with riding a John Deer tractor all day in the summer starting at about age 9 or 10 (1951) along with shooting a .22 or bigger about every day as well. My hearing was what it is by 1970, and didn't get much worse. My wife finally made be get hearing aids about 4 years ago.

The mega-dollar hearing aids are nice, but I would rather have had the CVFA's superposed in a light 20 bore for about the same money. What irritates me is that I can't wear them when it is raining, very foggy or when I am sweating. They are not only NOT water proof, they are not even water resistant. So about half the time I am outdoors trying to enjoy myself, I can't hear a hell of a lot. It is surprising how quietly I can stalk! Even through dried leaves....

Just this morning I ordered an inexpensive pair of "game ear" type hearing aids for dove hunting, deer hunting, fishing, etc. I figure they will help me hear a few of the subtle sounds of nature I am missing otherwise. And if I fall in the lake or get drenched (without a pouch to put them in) at least it won't cost me a second mortgage to get some more. And if that happened, I don't think I would.

Keep up the good work, and let me know who made the business cards for you, or just send me 100 or so and I will help you hand them out. TB

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from badgerguy wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

forty plus years of airplanes, guns and chainsaws have taken their toll. As good as today's hearing aids are they still fall short of real hearing. Take care of your ears and hearing!! Since you can't listen to Bachman, I suggest you read her message. Even you don't know everything.

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from Carl Huber wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I have hearing loss from various causes. But being old I only listen to the voices in my head. So it's all good!

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from Sciacchitano wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Dave, why didn't you tell us all about this 50 years ago? You do a great service to younger shooters bringing this up, and I wish all of the shooting and shooting sports magazines would pay a lot more attention to it - hearing protection should be the 11th commandment of shooting.

For Harold and other military veterans above who seem to have used their own hard earned cash to pay for their hearing aids, forget about all of the bad stuff you have heard about the VA, and get yourself registered with them. Have a hearing test and find out what they can do for you.

If you are service connected in any way, and in many cases even if you are not, they will be happy to get you a set of the latest hearing aids. If you also file a claim for hearing loss or tinnitus, be sure to do so with the assistance of a trained professional from your state department of veterans affairs, the DAV, VFW, VVA, or some other veterans organization. Things will go a lot smoother.

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from 99explorer wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I have found that in conversation, when I cup one ear and lean forward as steve noted, the speaker repeats himself more loudly, thinking that he was at fault.

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Mostly my wife just gives me a dirty look like I am not paying attention. I just nod and smile.

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from tunadave wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Like most of the bloggers, I also have significant hearing loss in both ears from shooting indoors as a youngster without protection, the USMC, and a parade of jobs in high noise areas. I've been blessed to have had hearing aids for about 5 years now, having just received a new set 2 weeks ago after wearing the first set out. No, they don't replace normal undamaged hearing, but unless you wear them and can speak from experience, you don't have a clue how much better life is WITH them. I can hear my truck lock. I can hear birds sing. Things I was always unable to do before getting them. Usually about every other day I encounter someone who makes life difficult for me by speaking too softly or swiftly, and I just tell them right up front "Whoa, whoa, whoa! I am mostly deaf, so if you will speak more slowly or plainly we'll do a lot better" and it usually works. Also, my new aids (all $4500 worth) are magnificent. They self adjust for crowded rooms, most overly loud sounds, and they are Bluetooth equipped, so if I get a call on my cell phone, I answer it by tapping a transmitter I wear like a necklace under my shirt and hear the conversation in both ears, hands free, just as if we were speaking face to face. They're also a lot smaller than my old ones, with a wire that runs from the unit to a tiny in- ear microphone rather than my old "tube and earpiece" set. They are definitely worth the cost. Also, for those of you who know you have hearing loss and choose to just ignore it, your brain will eventually lose the ability to hear those lost frequencies if it isn't stimulated to, and once that happens, you'll never be able to access them again. And for hunting, I wear the Walker Game ears. Nice to be able to actually hear the leaves rustling again, and know where that turkey is and about how far away when he gobbles.

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from mayerco wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

From a tank commander to a competive shooter since 1960 my hearing is terrible. I hate the loss but loved my service to my country and my shooting sports.IT is a terrible handicap in life no TV radio or Board meetings. Yesv I would do it again.Jim

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from tom warner wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

To TigerBeetle and all those who are dissatisfied with whatever they have been using as hearing aids: I agree 100% with tunadave! My hearing aids are a top-of-the-line brand that fit snugly in the ear canal and are impervious to rain, sweat, fog, etc. I can't wear them swimming or the shower, but otherwise they are a god-send and are worth every penny (many pennies) that I have paid for them. I have just heard from my audiologist that even better ones will be along very shortly. I would strongly advise all of you to do much more investigating into what is available!

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from Tigerbeetle wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Tom, I would be curious if these are the implant types advertised on TV with no cost info. Somewhere south of $30 K as I have read. I have found little water tight booties on the web designed for use by children with hearing disabilites for BTE hearing aids. Saves the parents money and the replacement hassles, but they are not fail safe. I have not found a manufacturer of external BTE or ITE aids that will even say theirs are moisture resistent, let alone water proof. Specialty Mfrs make some for swimmers and scuba divers, but hardly what you would wear otherwise. Walker GE won't even respond to such a question.

I DO appreciate my HAs. I found a lot of new sounds I hadn't heard - e.g. my steps squeak on our stairs. But as much as they are a God's send, they don't beat the real thing... good ears. BTW, my game ears ought to be here in a few days. I hope to hear my son holler when a dove comes my way from behind my back. TB

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from Tigerbeetle wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

My apologies, Tom.. I missed the "can't wear them swimming or in the shower..." But I still haven't found the mfr...

Maybe the VA can help me next time when mine wear out. TB

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from cbrownkwmo wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

As a Hearing Instrument Specialist and a shooter, I can understand what you are going through. We give cards to our patients that say they are hard of hearing and direct the reader to please face the person you are talking to and speak slowly and plainly.

Most importantly,when I shoot or go to the range, I double muff (earplugs and earmuffs) and I take daily some anti-oxidants (Vitamins and minerals) that help protect what little hearing I have left. (I also have a profound loss) cbrownkwmo@yahoo.com

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from cbrownkwmo wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Siemens makes a hearing aid that is water resistant and that you can swim in. It is brand new. Siemens Aquaris.

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from tom warner wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

TigerBeetle: My hearing aids are Widex "in the ear". I think that they make various models, cannot recall. Get the best one. The price, as you might imagine, is rather steep. There may be other makes that are comparable, but my audiologist seems to feel that these are the best, and I have been very impressed with her expertise over many years. She has just told me that she expects them to market a greatly improved version quite soon. I have found mine to be satisfactory in every way. My quality of life would be greatly diminished without them. Be sure to buy also a good "dry & store" drying box for keeping overnight. The Zephyr is a good one. Very important, since moisture is the enemy. Find it on the internet. Any questions? Good luck!

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from tunadave wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Tigerbeetle,
As tom warner indicated, frequently your audiologist has a brand or style that they feel will work the best for you in your particular situation. Mine suggested the Unitron Latitude 16's behind the ear, which are the ones that I am breaking in. Even though you may have had aids before, she told me that they have to "ramp me up" gradually over a period of weeks so that my brain can adjust to the difference in frequencies it is getting. Like starting over. But as I indicated, my new ones are smaller, lighter, more powerful, and have a lot more features than my old ones. I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but she also gave me a Bluetooth item that I hook up to my TV and it sends the sound directly into my hearing aids; sort of like wireless headphones. I also, as tom warner has, a good dry box where my hearing aids reside when I'm not wearing them. I'll report back on the Bluetooth TV accessory in a few weeks. As my name implies, I'm going on another tuna trip down in Mexican waters, starting next week. I won't wear my hearing aids on the boat, due to the salt spray, and I shouldn't need them to hear a big yellowfin flopping on the deck.

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from BobGWI wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

I've been wearing hearing aids for 4 years now, bad genes, you can't pick your parents. Please remember to protect your hearing ALL THE TIME not just when shooting, like when mowing the lawn, using a chain saw, using the ice auger, most power tools, etc.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

One must always use protection when shooting, lest you will end up with hearing AIDS, OK, bad joke, but what stinks the most about hearing loss is not being able to hear game walking in the leaves, the drumming of a turkey at 20 yards, or a doll 25 years younger than you say, "Let's get out of this noisy bar," and you just look at her, and stupidly nod cause you couldn't hear the proposition,,,

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from BamaHunter wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

After a lifetime of shooting and 22years of diesel engines, sirens , and air horns in the fire service, I'm not quite in the same boat as Dave but I still say'HUH?" fifty times a day. I more often see deer before I hear them most of the time. It does come in handy though when the wife yells from the next room that I've got to fix the leaking toilet before I go fishing.

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from Gaujo wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

when hunting, i go plugs, when at a range, plugs + muffs. Dad was a helicopter pilot, and ALWAYS wore protection, and still has tinnitus. Three things I'll never understand are people who don't use hearing protection, seatbelts, or shooting glasses.

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from AZShooterDude wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Dear Mr. Petzal You have hit the nail on the head, I struggle in everyday conversation and especially with those who are motor mouthed or soft spoken. I am plagarizing your article and taking it in to work for our morning meeting safety topic. I am hoping to disuade some of the younger bulletproof and famous individuals that there are consequences to not using hearing protection. Thank You for the mentioning Recruitment, I wondered what was up with that, a freight train's horn is dibilitating. Now I know, when the train's come through I turn my hearing aids off.

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from mdezort wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

Great article Petzal. I've made sure my kids NEVER (not one single time) shoot without hearing protection. It's too late for us but we can make sure all new shooters don't suffer the same hearing loss we have.

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from ckRich wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I think the cards will wo...my apologies. I THINK THE CARDS WILL WORK, YOU BETTER GET A SHOEBOX FULL PRINTED ASAP.

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from Moose1980 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I had cronic ear infections as a youth and several sets of tubes. When a doctor I haven't seen before looks into my ears he usually says something like "Yee gads.....have you had tubes?". I have quite the scar tissue on my ear drums. Consequently, if there is any background noise such as the air handler blower going on right now, I need to look at the person talking to me, or I will have to ask them to repeat themselves. However, out in the woods my hearing is fine and I can hear a mouse fart....unless its a windy day! And as I'm only 31 I really put the hearing protection on at the range to save what I got.

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from Bellringer wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I too have hearing loss but it does not bother me too much, because at my age, not much anyone says matters to me anyway.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

While at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center for hearing aids, the audiologist said in no way I could lose that much hearing in that short of time thanks to a deployment to an abandoned Russian Air Base south of Cairo Egypt in the middle of "BFE" itself. While digging and moving sand, we uncovered rusted out barrels and other buried trash. Later to find they were having chemical warfare exercises with live chemicals, nice!

So my problem is two parts, exposure to unknown substance and cheep hearing protection procured by the military. I remember the ground and air pounding louder than all entire rock concert combined by B52's and KC135's at full throttle being the norm. When the Hospital came out to do there tests, engines were cut back and a quite hour especially during the evenings of Little House on the prairie.

Being on the Base HP Team and the Air Force Shooting Team, they said that's where I lost my hearing. Funny thing, after cross training getting away from the aircraft including increased shooting, part of my hearing did come back debunking there myth.

Hearing aids drive me frigging nuts!

I have a mid to high range hearing loss and every door knob rattle & slam of a door to someone typing to the rustle of paper sounds like its right in my ear.

Sometime ago, I contacted Walkers Game Ear asking how good they would be for my use?

Watching their advertisements, I wasn’t convinced and they couldn’t give me a straight answer.

FYI !

It's not how loud the noise is.

It's how much and the duration of the noise even at tolerating levels. You can say, it's like being exposed to X-Ray!

73's & M1A's

TARGETS UP!

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I have had tinnitus for years before we had a name for it, but it doesn't come from one occasion. Years and years of shotgun usage and idiots shooting over my shoulder caused it. Fortunately there is a mental excercise that helps eliminate it. Basically pay no attention to it sort of like when your wife bitches at you.

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from jjas wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

As a person who's been shooting for almost 40 years, I too have a bit of hearing loss. Not sure if the loud music contributed to it....okay it did, but between the two I've noticed a bit of loss.

I'm usually fine unless there is noise in the background or like Mr. Petzal said, people are mumbling....(or @ least I think they are mumbling).....

Regardless, it sucks and I wish I'd started wearing hearing protection when shooting sooner in life and listened to my parents when they screamed @ me to turn the D*mn stereo down.....

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Put on those earphones and hear myself think? Gets flat out loud, and scary.

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from bigeyedfish wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

DEP,
If you showed those signs to me during a conversation, I would die laughing and the transaction would get nowhere. I can think of many worse ways to go.

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from fox4 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Hearing loss has its own benefits. One is subject to a lot less useless and annoying chatter. Further, when a person or subject begins to fit into the annoying or useless category, hearing loss can be used to excuse oneself from the BS, person or subject. Polite, and therefore often useless and annoying company usually stop talking to me when I explain that my hearing loss is a result of too many guns and too many aircraft. I often think that what I miss in conversation may positively contribute to my long term mental health.
However, I am still able hear my grandchild. My son-in-law shoots with me occasionally and I advise him to wear hearing protection. That is chatter he does not want to miss.

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from Harold wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I too started shooting in the 1950s and it was well into the 1960s before someone introduced me to a pair of hearing protectors. Add to that 6 years of shooting the Army's 8" howitzer and loud rock bands, PLUS a family genetic propensity to male hearing loss, it escapes me how I can hear anything at all without my new hearing aids. With them in its a whole new world-a very noisy one I might add. I could have bought one hellofa rifle or shotgun for the dough I sunk into them, but perhaps this year I will be able to hear cow elk chirp and bark and perhaps even most of a bugle.

But to answer your question Dave, my experience is much like yours. My "favorite" example is an old friend, who when we're driving in my car will stare out the right-side window and direct his remarks to the same. I don't know how many times I've asked him to point his mouth towards me. He does-for about three sentences. Then he goes back to talking to the window!

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from davycrockettfv wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

The reason some of you are only having a hard time when people speak is because with what they call "noise-induced hearing loss", you lose your ability to hear high frequencies first. A lot of consonant sounds we use are produced at higher frequencies, so when you lose the ability to hear that, it often ends up sounding like Charlie Brown's mom on the phone. I bet some of you may notice it can be more difficult to understand girls, or those with higher voices. Keep in mind that you still have more cilia working in your "inner ear" (not middle ear), so it's still vitally important to wear hearing protection. As of right now there's no way to grow those guys back. On a related note, those little earbud headphones that we use with our ipods are playing a HUGE role in hearing loss, so be careful with those too!

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from davycrockettfv wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Clay, you're right about how much and duration of the noise, but there are times when a one loud noise can give you hearing loss. It's usually a sound above 140 decibels (65 is how loud we speak in conversation). So being too close to the muzzle of a rifle can do the same thing.

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from Scott Jones wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I'm 46, been shooting for over 30 years, more 22 pistols than anything else. Add to that over 25 years in industrial plants. Yeah, I can tell I have some loss, but if I get in the woods and aclimated to the quiet I hear pretty well. I'm at the point where if there is background noise I have to look at someone to understand them. I seem to have more trouble understanding people when its noisy.
Wife keeps telling me I don't have a hearing problem, I have a listening problem. Or some such, I really wasn't paying attention.

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from rock rat wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Happens on the phone also. One thing I do is speak extremely slowly so they can get the idea, when they catch on and stop running words together a million miles an hour I too speak at a normal pace.

One thing I've noticed with the recruitment. I can hear small sounds in a quiet environment easier than others. A tig snapping in the woods or a far away engine.

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from SD_Whitetail_Hntr wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I'm very much on the young end of the spectrum at 26 years old. However I was out in the field with a shotgun in hand by age 10. And can probably count the number of times I used hearing protection (prior to shooting pistol) on one hand. I have tinnitus quite bad for my age. When I took my last hearing test over 3 years ago, my ability to hear even reasonable higher frequencies was pretty much garbage. I know I've already done enough irreperable damage to my ears that I will have some difficulties by the time I'm 40. I try to be somewhat concious about it when I'm shooting now. But when I'm actually "hunting" I just don't foresee me utilizing hearing protection too often. I've started when bird hunting at least.

Not much of an answer to your question since I'm dealing with too many people I can't understand yet. The number of people who complain about me not listening to them is quite a different story however. That's not going to change.

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from MJC wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I can definitely point to several instances when I should have been using hearing protection, but didn't with painful results. The most dramatic occurred while acting as an a-gunner on a machine gun. I was stuffing pocket lint into my ears as fast as I could after the first string.

As a result, if there is any whitenoise in the background my ability to hear goes out the window. Most of the time, I just fudge my way through half-heard conversations over crowd noise, a fan or running water. If it ever gets worse though, I think I'll go your route and make up the signs.

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from fieldgeneral wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Dave-
To answer your question I simply point to an ear and then cup my ear toward the person-they usually get it. The loss of hearing occurred on the firing range during basic training in 1971. My ear plugs popped out and fell on the ground in trench that I occupied. Under no circumstances were we allowed to reach down inside trench during a live fire exercise. By the time a ceasefire was called my ears were ringing. I filed a disability claim with VA in 2006. It was approved two months later-10 per cent.

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from NHshtr wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Huh? What? Dave, c-a-n y-o-u r-e-p-e-a-t t-h-a-t, p-l-e-a-s-e?

I have tinnitus and some recruitment from far too many rounds of handgun 22's without ear protection over the years. When I was young it didn't seem loud. But I became more sensitive over time and now, it's very loud. Not too bright, but you could figure that much anyway.

I always wear protection at the range, but I've never used any hunting. I'll be bird hunting with some hearing protection this year. Not so sure about deer hunting though.

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from RS08 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

dave, i think your card idea is like way to polite. you should probably put it in stronger terms, don't hold back.

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from Bernie wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Dave, my experience is precisely as yours has been--people who "whisper" when they speak, others who do not enunciate, people who speak too fast...

I started shooting as a youngster, am 62 now, have tinnitus and some hearing loss. (My Marine Corps health records show a hearing loss when I was discharged in 1971, yet it took me 35 years to get a ten percent compensation for the tinnitus.)

I got hearing aids three months ago and they are great! I still run across people who mumble and who I have to ask to repeat themselves. Then, maddeningly, as Dave points out, they speak in the same manner as they did the first time!

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from Oryx wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Does anybody hunt with the "Game Ear" or whatever the latest is called? Never tried a set.

If they would allow you to hear somewhat normally and still provide protection they may be worth a look.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

davycrockettfv

Very true, we all know about the big bangs and loud noises of Air Boats etc. But the real problem in hearing loss in the Sporting Community, we have to educate those to the sounds that leave our ears instantly with a 3 or so days, more so just short of the ringing ears that do the most damage over long term. It just creeps in, a little loss here, a little loss there!

I can here a fire truck or Ambulance down the road coming over the stereo and vehicles in the woods way before someone with perfect hearing can.

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from Oryx wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

yeah, but I've never been able to understand girls. Never will, God willing.

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from jbird wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Great post Dave. If we ever meet, and I hope we do, I will gladly talk loud and slow for you. After experiencing how difficult it was to carry on a conversation with my Grandpa (who had severe hearing loss) I became "religious" with hearing protection when I'm at work (very noisy) and when I'm out shooting.

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from duckcreekdick wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I wear two hearing aids courtesy of the V.A. and they help me out a whole lot. Thanks for cluing me in about "recruitment". So that's why some noises to me are overly loud.
I find most people accomodating if I answer, "Huh?" and ask them to repeat what they said. Once a smart-ass said "Can you hear me now?", like that old cell-phone ad. I was not amused.
Anyone out there like me using the closed caption feature on their TV? Pretty handy.

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from fitch270 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I'm 43 and have been holding off on hearing aids for a couple years now. I'll need them eventually to keep my
CDL, but no one can explain to me how they won't make things worse when you have to wear them in a noisy truck. Electronic earmuffs have saved turkey hunting for me, and I'll be wearing them this fall so I can hear my Brit's beeper collar.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I have tinnitus from flying in an Aerail Rocket Artillery Gunship in Viet Nam without a Crew Helmet once when they did not have a Spare! Have always used ear protection ever since.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

It has a name and it's called selective hearing Jim!

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from dickgun wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Yes,
As a kid on the farm running tractors and machinery. Take the muffler off and let'er crack. Kind of like the Harley you would love but could never afford.
As a young man learning to fly and then flying for a long time before ear protection. No ear plugs back in those simple planes with no sound proofing and not much of a muffler. And, no headset, of course. Who needs a headset with no radio?
And then the guns. My guns, other guns, then lots of client guns too close to the ear when lying prone on a hump looking through binos for a trophy shot. Not to mention the advent of a guides most likely eardrum buster - the dreaded muzzlebrake.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW, DAVE?

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from shane wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I'm glad I'm not crazy -- others here can't hear normal stuff, but then get them in the woods and they can hear things most never could. I'm that way. Makes no sense to me.

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

To Shane: Anything louder than an air rifle, wear headphones. Plugs, even the best ones, are a poor substitute.

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from Blade wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Looking at the comments, I don’t think everyone heard you. I also have severe profound hearing loss in both ears. I have a 97% loss in the right ear and 96% in the left, with tinnitus ringing loud every minute of the day. I also did all the wrong things that destroyed my hearing. I often shot a 357 Mag in an old sand pit, had a Browning Sweet 16 that was the loudest damn shotgun made and shot it every weekend. Back then if you had hair on your balls you didn’t dare use hearing protection. My dad owned an old blacksmith and welding shop in a small farming community. The blacksmith 50 pound little giant trip hammer he had was one loud piece of equipment to be around and the old blacksmith had it going 10 hours a day. I often used a side grinder while repair welding farm equipment and never thought about the damage that was happening to my hearing. No one can really understand the handicap the deaf and near deaf live with. I seldom talk on a phone and I will not watch a movie or anything on TV without the caption. I have tried everything made to help overcome my hearing loss just to be able to talk on a phone, listen to music, watch a simple program on TV or have a nice conversation with someone. If I cannot see your lips I cannot understand you when you talk. It is just that simple. Dave understands the tough part, we sit in meetings and all we hear most of the time is a loud noise. Not a good thing when your boss is talking about your performance. I cannot understand someone speaking in a loud restaurant, auditorium or the preacher trying to save my poor ass on Sunday morning. Some of the asses will say “buy better hearing aids or turn em up” and that really pisses me off. I once had a jury summons in the mail so to fulfill my civic duty I showed up all nice and proper. I tried to explain to the judge about my hearing loss. Well old “Judge Roy Bean” had a low tolerance for pain and screamed out loud that he would just talk louder, no one messes with me and excuses for not serving would not be allowed. I thought “oh yea” and from that point on I turned the volume way down, and court was underway. The assistant DA was asking prospective jurors the normal question crap they spew, when she got to me I just sit there listening to the mumbling coming out of her mouth. This went on for a few minutes and she looked real frustrated and said “are you deaf”. That part I fully understood and I screamed out, “that is what I have been trying to tell everyone in this building”. I wasn’t selected by either side. :>/

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from Blade wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Looking at the comments, I don’t think everyone heard you. I also have severe profound hearing loss in both ears. I have a 97% loss in the right ear and 96% in the left, with tinnitus ringing loud every minute of the day. I also did all the wrong things that destroyed my hearing. I often shot a 357 Mag in an old sand pit, had a Browning Sweet 16 that was the loudest damn shotgun made and shot it every weekend. Back then if you had hair on your balls you didn’t dare use hearing protection. My dad owned an old blacksmith and welding shop in a small farming community. The blacksmith 50 pound little giant trip hammer he had was one loud piece of equipment to be around and the old blacksmith had it going 10 hours a day. I often used a side grinder while repair welding farm equipment and never thought about the damage that was happening to my hearing. No one can really understand the handicap the deaf and near deaf live with. I seldom talk on a phone and I will not watch a movie or anything on TV without the caption. I have tried everything made to help overcome my hearing loss just to be able to talk on a phone, listen to music, watch a simple program on TV or have a nice conversation with someone. If I cannot see your lips I cannot understand you when you talk. It is just that simple. Dave understands the tough part, we sit in meetings and all we hear most of the time is a loud noise. Not a good thing when your boss is talking about your performance. I cannot understand someone speaking in a loud restaurant, auditorium or the preacher trying to save my poor ass on Sunday morning. Some of the asses will say “buy better hearing aids or turn em up” and that really pisses me off. I once had a jury summons in the mail so to fulfill my civic duty I showed up all nice and proper. I tried to explain to the judge about my hearing loss. Well old “Judge Roy Bean” had a low tolerance for pain and screamed out loud that he would just talk louder, no one messes with me and excuses for not serving would not be allowed. I thought “oh yea” and from that point on I turned the volume way down, and court was underway. The assistant DA was asking prospective jurors the normal question crap they spew, when she got to me I just sit there listening to the mumbling coming out of her mouth. This went on for a few minutes and she looked real frustrated and said “are you deaf”. That part I fully understood and I screamed out, “that is what I have been trying to tell everyone in this building”. I wasn’t selected by either side. :>/

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from wgiles wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I have very little hearing in my left ear and some loss in my right ear. My tinnitus sounds like crickets chirping all the time. I can't blame it all on shooting, since I've been around heavy equipment and other noise most of my adult life. The thing that I am beginning to notice is that I can't localize sounds any more. I can hear them, but don't know where they are coming from. I can't understand conversation when there are other sounds in the area. I need to mute the TV or radio to understand speech. The biggest problem that I have with people speaking to me is getting them to understand that they don't need to speak louder, just slowly and clearly. And give me a moment to turn down the noise.

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from Jim in Avon wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Yours is the story of my hearing life as well. Nobody talked about hearing protection in the days of Warren Page, when I grew to love the "crack" of my '03 Springfield.

My eldest has chosen audiology as a career, so of course she used me as a test dummy for her basic courses. The tests include, among other steps, sitting in a soundproof room (except the tinnitus still sounds like 10,000 crickets in high dudgeon even in that environment), wearing a headset and repeating words spoken at ever-lower volumes by the tester. After one unintelligible word, I saw through the glass window she was near tears. After the session, I asked her what the problem was.

"It was the word, dad, the word you couldn't hear -- 'shotgun.' "

My hearing chart has a mid-range drop-off like a Wile E. Coyote cliff. Even so, I generally can make out what people say, IF there is minimal background noise and IF they will move their @%*% lips and enunciate. Since my retirement job is that of a substitute teacher, there's generally plenty of the former and none of the latter.

And of course I share your frustration with teen-agers who move neither lip nor jaw while mumbling in a monotone. So I make no embarrassed bones about it; I cup my left ear, tilt my head and, in an exaggerated voice, semi-shout "I'm half deaf! Kindly move your lips when you mumble, so that I might read them!" They love the candor, just as they love honesty in all interactions. And they speak louder, slower and more clearly. For awhile.

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from tom warner wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I imagine that you will get much more comment than usual on this one! I am now 78 yrs. old and have severe hearing loss, which is mitigated quite a bit by top of the line hearing aids, which I have been wearing for almost 20 years now. As a boy I had better than average hearing, but that all ended when I went in the army during the 50's. During basic, we were not allowed to wear any kind of hearing protection whatsoever on the shooting ranges. Rifles, machine guns, grenades, etc. If you were caught doing so, it was a punishable offense! This was at Ft. Dix, NJ. Typical military ignorant stupidity. Each day I would return to the barracks with such a loud ringing in my ears that I could barely hear anything. We now know of course that the ringing was a sign of bad hearing damage. Later on, much too late to do so, I found that I could have applied for compensation for my loss. Each time that I think of all this I get very angry. Because, like all of us, I have continued to shoot a lot for the rest of my life, including many years of competitive skeet shooting. Although I then wore hearing protection (mostly plugs) the hearing loss no doubt continued to a large extent. My best friend was a fighter pilot during WW2, shot a lot of skeet during his training, never wore hearing protection around the planes of any kind, then or since, and now is almost entirely deaf. So, you might say that he also was robbed of his hearing beginning with the military, which should have required that he wore protection, but did not. I have read that people living in so-called primitive societies have greatly superior hearing abilities compared to humans in modern societies, where we are surrounded daily by damaging assaults on our ears by a huge variety of overly loud sounds. Few older friends of mine still have decent hearing. They are all shooters.

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from firedog11 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Dave if you think the noise from the siren is loud outside you should try being on the inside and the old air horns that we used for years plus the engine noise has caused most of us in the fire service to suffer from the the same problems you describe. After 40 years in the fire service I am basically in the same boat as you. I bought a good set of head phones to wear while shooting and hunting.

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from buckmeister2 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Dave, Thank you for a great article! I have precisely the same problem, same degree of loss (profound), courtesy of Uncle Sam. My hearing aids cost $4800, and do little good for the exact reasons you describe. People just don't get it until they have it.

I seldom talk on the phone, and when I do talk with someone I do not know, I stop them during the first sentence, explain my situation, then ask them to continue. I also tell them I prefer email, if they can do that. I do not engage people at the poker table, and never try to talk with people in any crowded area where there is a lot of background noise. I used to be outgoing, witty, and very engaging. I was a salesman all my life. I can no longer do my job effectively due to hearing loss. If it is any comfort, millions of men in their 60's, some younger, are in the same situation. Jim

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from badgerguy wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

forty plus years of airplanes, guns and chainsaws have taken their toll. As good as today's hearing aids are they still fall short of real hearing. Take care of your ears and hearing!! Since you can't listen to Bachman, I suggest you read her message. Even you don't know everything.

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from Carl Huber wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I have hearing loss from various causes. But being old I only listen to the voices in my head. So it's all good!

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from Sciacchitano wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Dave, why didn't you tell us all about this 50 years ago? You do a great service to younger shooters bringing this up, and I wish all of the shooting and shooting sports magazines would pay a lot more attention to it - hearing protection should be the 11th commandment of shooting.

For Harold and other military veterans above who seem to have used their own hard earned cash to pay for their hearing aids, forget about all of the bad stuff you have heard about the VA, and get yourself registered with them. Have a hearing test and find out what they can do for you.

If you are service connected in any way, and in many cases even if you are not, they will be happy to get you a set of the latest hearing aids. If you also file a claim for hearing loss or tinnitus, be sure to do so with the assistance of a trained professional from your state department of veterans affairs, the DAV, VFW, VVA, or some other veterans organization. Things will go a lot smoother.

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from mayerco wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

From a tank commander to a competive shooter since 1960 my hearing is terrible. I hate the loss but loved my service to my country and my shooting sports.IT is a terrible handicap in life no TV radio or Board meetings. Yesv I would do it again.Jim

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from tom warner wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

To TigerBeetle and all those who are dissatisfied with whatever they have been using as hearing aids: I agree 100% with tunadave! My hearing aids are a top-of-the-line brand that fit snugly in the ear canal and are impervious to rain, sweat, fog, etc. I can't wear them swimming or the shower, but otherwise they are a god-send and are worth every penny (many pennies) that I have paid for them. I have just heard from my audiologist that even better ones will be along very shortly. I would strongly advise all of you to do much more investigating into what is available!

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

One must always use protection when shooting, lest you will end up with hearing AIDS, OK, bad joke, but what stinks the most about hearing loss is not being able to hear game walking in the leaves, the drumming of a turkey at 20 yards, or a doll 25 years younger than you say, "Let's get out of this noisy bar," and you just look at her, and stupidly nod cause you couldn't hear the proposition,,,

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from Bernie wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I should have mentioned that at the range in Marine Corps boot camp the drill instructors gave us pieces of cotton to stuff into our ears--certainly not an effective protection. I shot on the USMC rifle team at Camp Lejeune in late 1971, and I believe that was the same protection they supplied...crazy.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

For you folks who wear hearing aids as I've been told, not to use them unless you really need them. The higher disables produced by the hearing aid just may have the same impact as to hazardous noise.

Sounds plausible

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

WAT YOU SAY' SONNY?

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from vtbluegrass wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

This is the very reason I make sure to try and not lose my hearing. I mean I wear muffs when mowing the grass and in the boat when the outboard is going(can't afford a quiet 4-stroke). I take a ribbing in the duck blind but electronic muffs are the best thing ever and they keep your ears from freezing. Also I don't say "huh" for hours after hunting.
Hopefully this advantage of the previous generations hindsight will keep my hearing as it is now where I can hear a gnat pass wind at 10 paces.

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from ingebrigtsen wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Million of hunters worldwide have severe hearingloss.. its a habitual hazard cos we dont front the culture of using hearingprotection in the field..
Last my ears got tested i had only 60% of my total hearing left and no permanent tinnitus so far. but the lucky part is that my spectres on my left and right ear only partially overlap leaving me with still 98% of the total spectre left.. so i can hear well still, but what ear i can disseminate speach with is different on the left or right and dependant on weather the speach is high or low pitched.. and i have explained it to my wife thoroughly that she has to speak in my good ear for me to hear her.. and she has accepted it, but i havent told her what my good ear is so i still claim the right to misunderstand when i feel like it.. shes tired of repeating herself already so ;)
But just as we wouldnt buy our kids skatebords, rollerblades and so on today withouth pads and a helmet. and especially not a motorbike withouth leathers and roadhelmet, we shouldnt get our kids and younger ones ANY loud guns withouth electronic hearing protection.. electronic cos they r really good today, some will actually increase your natural hearing ability, and then be a good example to em and wear them yourself all the time while hunting.. most of us have precious little hearing left and we should try to protect the little we got left.. and then protect our kids hearing.. its an attitude adjustment across the board for all hunters thats gonna help prevent the next generation hunters be able to still enjoy music, listen to theire loved ones and be able to take part of social conversations.. And yeah i know it kinda feels good to get some "peace from the wife naggering", blablah. but i worked 2 weeks in an oldpeoples home, somatic department last year and saw people totally isolated from loss of hearing, eyesight etc.. theire quality of life was horrific cos of this isolation of the senses and they couldnt engage the outside world cos they couldnt talk to them anymore..they basically just sat around alone tended by strangers waiting to die with death not comming fast enough since medicine already has come so far in life extention. its not a nice prospect to not be able to appreciate your grandkids cos u where lasy and or toughguy and didnt wanna look bad wearing hearing protection.. sack the heck up and buy E-hearing protection for yourself and loved ones and wear them religiously, or are u guys cowardly ken-dolls about yer looks?? Or is it stupidity and inability to learn from your own mistakes??:P

AND ONE LAST THing, i just got'' 'e'' u''''s''... ... ... ... ... .. . ..... ...... ........ beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

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from shane wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Petzal, you spelled Bachmann wrong. I could give two farts, but I thought I'd point out the rare flub up for you.

At what point do you suggest religiously plugging and muffing? Can I still shoot my .22s without protection? Do you think it's overdoing it to wear protection for that one shot on big game hunts?

I blame two Ted Nugent front stage photo passes as much as I blame the shooting. That bastard is loud in every way, especially when plugged in. He seems to be no stranger to the guns, either last time I checked. He must be deaf as an adder (What the hell does that mean? Deaf as a Gun Nut. There we go.).

Good thing this is all in text. This blog would be a sorry sight with all you geezers around.

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from nc30-06 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I have tinnitus. I "hear" the loud ringing over anything that is going on. Of course it is due to machinery, guns, jet engines, and such. Working on F-4s in the Marine Corps and of course shooting the .45 and M14 and M16 contributed. When I wake up, I have to get up. If I try to lay there for a few extra minutes, I start listening to the loud ringing and it drives me crazy. All the years flying without ear plugs or any hearing protection didn't help either. Now, the wind noise when riding a motorcycle is just too much, even with helmets that supposedly are "quiet".
When I was young, I used to say I could hear snow falling. Boy, I miss that.

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from JCB wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Move away from the NY City area. People there talk too fast. Move to the southern states. They talk a lot slower there.

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from Blade wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Sorry about the duce post :>/

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from steve182 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I cup my hand around my better ear and lean in the direction of the speaker(mumbler). Dave, Perhaps you need one of those old-fashioned conical devices (like a funnel)you hold up to your ear. That'd be a funny sight, no offense.
On a serious note it's the tinnitus that really bothers me, worse than the hearing loss.

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from SD Bob wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I've got it especially bad in my left ear and my wife accuses me of using it as a crutch to not listen. I'm not admitting to anything! I had to buy a different alarm clock because if I rolled onto my right ear, I wouldn't hear it go off.

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from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I suffer from tinnitus and audio nerves beaten to hell. I have a VA Disability due it although I'm also a performing musician.

Weird the minute the medical community knows a person shoots that gun fire is the sol problem source. Nonsense. Military Life is noise pollution personified. No one can understand the long term effects being on a flight line and inside a military aircraft. A member will suffer hearing loss.

What I discovered is my high freq. hearing loss, while not great, affects greatly my speech discrimination after tinnitus is added to the mix. My tinnitus flairs when exposed to noise of a open car window.

Also, when I mix music in post-production recordings I have to cut high freqs 10% because what I compensate for my hearing loss.

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I am a member of the club, unfortunately. Now I hate loud noises to the extent that I sometimes plug and muff when mowing the lawn, and background noise is very hard to filter from conversations. Add to that my rapidly worsening vision, and all of a sudden Helen Keller jokes just aren't funny any more.

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from oldgene wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

My blind niece would tell you to put that your blind on the card, people always slow down and speak louder to someone who's blind.

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

http://www.hearingfrequencytest.com/

Try this test... I can only hear between 200 and 10,000 Hz. Very sad indeed. Driving tractors all day when I was a child, 40 years of shooting, worked in a millwork shop for 7 or 8 years with LOUD machines running all day. And my wife thinks I am just ignoring her when she talks to me. She may be half right.

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from MaxPower wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Dave-

I'm with you on the inconvenience of being deaf, it truly blows. I'm 28 and have had hearing aids since I was 26, partly hereditery, partly shooting withour proper protection and partly from rock concerts. In all I've lost 65%.

The inability to understand people even though you can hear them is called discrimination. To me this is the worst part of being deaf. I can hear people, and I know we're speaking the same language but I can't make out the words (unless I read their lips). I feel like a social handicap.

On the plus side, it sure is easy to fall asleep once the hearing aids come out. Not that that was ever an issue for me anyway.

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from 17claybird17 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I'm 67 and I have all the problems all the writers are commenting about and for mostly the same reasons. Gad, all those large centerfire handguns I owned and shot WITH NO PROTECTION for so many years. Well, it's 2011 and I am shooting handguns and rifles much less and my shotgun a lot more. My ENT and a top-notch audiologist have examined me and ordered me to double-up on ear protection if I continue shooting. I use custom-molded ear plugs that fill the outer ear well PLUS Peltor electronic muffs.I am constantly being asked how I can shoot with all the s - - - on and in my head and I have repeated my story dozens of times. I wish I could know the joy of trapshooting without muffs but facts are facts. I am doing very well with my Remington 870 TC (extended forearm and gorgeous wood). I truly enjoy besting all the fancy artwork from Europe that cost 3-10x what my 870 was. The 23-old gun does the trick when I do my job.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I was very serious about learning to ignore the ringing. You'll go nuts if you don't.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

At a stopover in Hawaii heading back to Okinawa, I got a dress for the misses for $5.00 instead of $28.00 by a street vendor. Yep! bad hearing has its drawbacks and advantages too! Kids will say something I didn't catch, they bite there tongue then instantly back track and reword what they should of thought and said, I just smile!

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from semp wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Ever notice how when you get one of those calls from your credit card FRAUD department ... just after you purchased something of 'life and death' need ... like your 5th Glock or just another version of the 870? Run to the phone ... call the FRAUD numeber outta breath and Bingo ... ya get some fast talking babe, whose 1st language is never American, quizzing you softly thru a BlueTooth headset? Seems evertime 4 me ... so I hang up find my friend Jack#7 and calmly consider whether or not to retrieve the handset that holed my window screen. And note again to get a hearing test :-)

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from dasmith wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

When I started using a chainsaw it hurt my ears, so I was the first one in the family to wear hearing protection while using a chainsaw. In the Army they issued us the rubber plugs in a plastic carrier that we wore on the shirt pocket of the uniform. For the last 8 years, I have carried the soft plugs in my pocket. Even taking precaution I have lost hearing in my left ear and now have a hard time hearing one voice when there is background noise or several people talking.

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from Zermoid wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

You could also have the
“I am hearing impaired. In order that we may conclude this transaction with a minimum of difficulty, kindly slow the f**k down and speak the f**k up.
Thank you.”
Tattooed across your forehead, save you from constantly having to dig out the card. Alternately it could be printed on a hat...........

Never heard of “recruitment” even though I do have the tinnitus problem, and the high pitched sound problem to a lesser degree.
Side note, a rock concert has about the same effect as gunfire on your ears, be warned if you are so inclined to attend one. Found that out when Alice Cooper was at our local county fair a couple years ago, my ears were ringing as bad as if I'd shot alot of rds of 44mag sans ear protection.

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from Tigerbeetle wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Dave, Most of your story is like reading my autobiography - which I haven't written. Everything has been said and I really can't add much, except I had a few hundred hours in Hueys and C-130s back in the 60s to go along with riding a John Deer tractor all day in the summer starting at about age 9 or 10 (1951) along with shooting a .22 or bigger about every day as well. My hearing was what it is by 1970, and didn't get much worse. My wife finally made be get hearing aids about 4 years ago.

The mega-dollar hearing aids are nice, but I would rather have had the CVFA's superposed in a light 20 bore for about the same money. What irritates me is that I can't wear them when it is raining, very foggy or when I am sweating. They are not only NOT water proof, they are not even water resistant. So about half the time I am outdoors trying to enjoy myself, I can't hear a hell of a lot. It is surprising how quietly I can stalk! Even through dried leaves....

Just this morning I ordered an inexpensive pair of "game ear" type hearing aids for dove hunting, deer hunting, fishing, etc. I figure they will help me hear a few of the subtle sounds of nature I am missing otherwise. And if I fall in the lake or get drenched (without a pouch to put them in) at least it won't cost me a second mortgage to get some more. And if that happened, I don't think I would.

Keep up the good work, and let me know who made the business cards for you, or just send me 100 or so and I will help you hand them out. TB

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from Tigerbeetle wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Dave, Most of your story is like reading my autobiography - which I haven't written. Everything has been said and I really can't add much, except I had a few hundred hours in Hueys and C-130s back in the 60s to go along with riding a John Deer tractor all day in the summer starting at about age 9 or 10 (1951) along with shooting a .22 or bigger about every day as well. My hearing was what it is by 1970, and didn't get much worse. My wife finally made be get hearing aids about 4 years ago.

The mega-dollar hearing aids are nice, but I would rather have had the CVFA's superposed in a light 20 bore for about the same money. What irritates me is that I can't wear them when it is raining, very foggy or when I am sweating. They are not only NOT water proof, they are not even water resistant. So about half the time I am outdoors trying to enjoy myself, I can't hear a hell of a lot. It is surprising how quietly I can stalk! Even through dried leaves....

Just this morning I ordered an inexpensive pair of "game ear" type hearing aids for dove hunting, deer hunting, fishing, etc. I figure they will help me hear a few of the subtle sounds of nature I am missing otherwise. And if I fall in the lake or get drenched (without a pouch to put them in) at least it won't cost me a second mortgage to get some more. And if that happened, I don't think I would.

Keep up the good work, and let me know who made the business cards for you, or just send me 100 or so and I will help you hand them out. TB

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from 99explorer wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I have found that in conversation, when I cup one ear and lean forward as steve noted, the speaker repeats himself more loudly, thinking that he was at fault.

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Mostly my wife just gives me a dirty look like I am not paying attention. I just nod and smile.

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from tunadave wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Like most of the bloggers, I also have significant hearing loss in both ears from shooting indoors as a youngster without protection, the USMC, and a parade of jobs in high noise areas. I've been blessed to have had hearing aids for about 5 years now, having just received a new set 2 weeks ago after wearing the first set out. No, they don't replace normal undamaged hearing, but unless you wear them and can speak from experience, you don't have a clue how much better life is WITH them. I can hear my truck lock. I can hear birds sing. Things I was always unable to do before getting them. Usually about every other day I encounter someone who makes life difficult for me by speaking too softly or swiftly, and I just tell them right up front "Whoa, whoa, whoa! I am mostly deaf, so if you will speak more slowly or plainly we'll do a lot better" and it usually works. Also, my new aids (all $4500 worth) are magnificent. They self adjust for crowded rooms, most overly loud sounds, and they are Bluetooth equipped, so if I get a call on my cell phone, I answer it by tapping a transmitter I wear like a necklace under my shirt and hear the conversation in both ears, hands free, just as if we were speaking face to face. They're also a lot smaller than my old ones, with a wire that runs from the unit to a tiny in- ear microphone rather than my old "tube and earpiece" set. They are definitely worth the cost. Also, for those of you who know you have hearing loss and choose to just ignore it, your brain will eventually lose the ability to hear those lost frequencies if it isn't stimulated to, and once that happens, you'll never be able to access them again. And for hunting, I wear the Walker Game ears. Nice to be able to actually hear the leaves rustling again, and know where that turkey is and about how far away when he gobbles.

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from Tigerbeetle wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Tom, I would be curious if these are the implant types advertised on TV with no cost info. Somewhere south of $30 K as I have read. I have found little water tight booties on the web designed for use by children with hearing disabilites for BTE hearing aids. Saves the parents money and the replacement hassles, but they are not fail safe. I have not found a manufacturer of external BTE or ITE aids that will even say theirs are moisture resistent, let alone water proof. Specialty Mfrs make some for swimmers and scuba divers, but hardly what you would wear otherwise. Walker GE won't even respond to such a question.

I DO appreciate my HAs. I found a lot of new sounds I hadn't heard - e.g. my steps squeak on our stairs. But as much as they are a God's send, they don't beat the real thing... good ears. BTW, my game ears ought to be here in a few days. I hope to hear my son holler when a dove comes my way from behind my back. TB

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from Tigerbeetle wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

My apologies, Tom.. I missed the "can't wear them swimming or in the shower..." But I still haven't found the mfr...

Maybe the VA can help me next time when mine wear out. TB

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from cbrownkwmo wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

As a Hearing Instrument Specialist and a shooter, I can understand what you are going through. We give cards to our patients that say they are hard of hearing and direct the reader to please face the person you are talking to and speak slowly and plainly.

Most importantly,when I shoot or go to the range, I double muff (earplugs and earmuffs) and I take daily some anti-oxidants (Vitamins and minerals) that help protect what little hearing I have left. (I also have a profound loss) cbrownkwmo@yahoo.com

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from cbrownkwmo wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Siemens makes a hearing aid that is water resistant and that you can swim in. It is brand new. Siemens Aquaris.

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from tom warner wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

TigerBeetle: My hearing aids are Widex "in the ear". I think that they make various models, cannot recall. Get the best one. The price, as you might imagine, is rather steep. There may be other makes that are comparable, but my audiologist seems to feel that these are the best, and I have been very impressed with her expertise over many years. She has just told me that she expects them to market a greatly improved version quite soon. I have found mine to be satisfactory in every way. My quality of life would be greatly diminished without them. Be sure to buy also a good "dry & store" drying box for keeping overnight. The Zephyr is a good one. Very important, since moisture is the enemy. Find it on the internet. Any questions? Good luck!

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from tunadave wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Tigerbeetle,
As tom warner indicated, frequently your audiologist has a brand or style that they feel will work the best for you in your particular situation. Mine suggested the Unitron Latitude 16's behind the ear, which are the ones that I am breaking in. Even though you may have had aids before, she told me that they have to "ramp me up" gradually over a period of weeks so that my brain can adjust to the difference in frequencies it is getting. Like starting over. But as I indicated, my new ones are smaller, lighter, more powerful, and have a lot more features than my old ones. I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but she also gave me a Bluetooth item that I hook up to my TV and it sends the sound directly into my hearing aids; sort of like wireless headphones. I also, as tom warner has, a good dry box where my hearing aids reside when I'm not wearing them. I'll report back on the Bluetooth TV accessory in a few weeks. As my name implies, I'm going on another tuna trip down in Mexican waters, starting next week. I won't wear my hearing aids on the boat, due to the salt spray, and I shouldn't need them to hear a big yellowfin flopping on the deck.

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from BobGWI wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

I've been wearing hearing aids for 4 years now, bad genes, you can't pick your parents. Please remember to protect your hearing ALL THE TIME not just when shooting, like when mowing the lawn, using a chain saw, using the ice auger, most power tools, etc.

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from BamaHunter wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

After a lifetime of shooting and 22years of diesel engines, sirens , and air horns in the fire service, I'm not quite in the same boat as Dave but I still say'HUH?" fifty times a day. I more often see deer before I hear them most of the time. It does come in handy though when the wife yells from the next room that I've got to fix the leaking toilet before I go fishing.

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from Gaujo wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

when hunting, i go plugs, when at a range, plugs + muffs. Dad was a helicopter pilot, and ALWAYS wore protection, and still has tinnitus. Three things I'll never understand are people who don't use hearing protection, seatbelts, or shooting glasses.

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from AZShooterDude wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Dear Mr. Petzal You have hit the nail on the head, I struggle in everyday conversation and especially with those who are motor mouthed or soft spoken. I am plagarizing your article and taking it in to work for our morning meeting safety topic. I am hoping to disuade some of the younger bulletproof and famous individuals that there are consequences to not using hearing protection. Thank You for the mentioning Recruitment, I wondered what was up with that, a freight train's horn is dibilitating. Now I know, when the train's come through I turn my hearing aids off.

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from mdezort wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

Great article Petzal. I've made sure my kids NEVER (not one single time) shoot without hearing protection. It's too late for us but we can make sure all new shooters don't suffer the same hearing loss we have.

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