315 N Division Street,
Traverse City, MI   49684
(231) 946-2200


November 10, 2014





Presented by Dr. Paul Hanrahan

Audiologist 40 years as an occasional small game and bird hunter.  Audiologist for 28 years at MMC  2 ½ years as manufacturer’s rep for Unitron Hearing aids Owner and partner in Family Hearing Care since March

  1. What is NIHL?

Temporary or permanent hearing loss caused by exposure to intense or loud sounds determined by both the volume (intensity) and duration.  Typically occurs in the high frequencies and is often preventable.


  1.  Signs and Symptoms

Can have actual pain but often times not.

Often has tinnitus or ringing, roaring, rushing, buzzing in the ears.

Difficulty understanding in noisy environments.

Turning the TV up.

Asking people to repeat things.

Feeling like people are mumbling.

Trouble understanding over the phone.


  1.  How Loud is LOUD?

The decibel scale is logarithmic.  For every 6dB increase there is a doubling of sound pressure on the eardrum.  If we go from 6 to 12 we’ve doubled.  When we go from 12 to 18 we’ve doubled that and from 18 to 24 we’ve doubled that.

OSHA suggests sounds can be damaging if 85dB over and extended time.

The louder the sound the less time it takes to do permanent damage.

90dB for 8 hours

115dB for 15 minutes

Humming of refrigerator 45dB

Human voice is about 60dB

Jet take off is about 120dB

Jackhammer is about 130dB

MP3 player at max volume 105-120dB

Pain is usually perceived around 130dB

Most gun shots average 150-160dB

.22 about 140dB

.38 about 153dB

9mm about 160dB

.357 magnum about 164dB

.45 about 157dB

12 gauge shotgun about 155dB

M-16 about 160dB


Shooting inside an enclosed environment where sound reverberates can make the sounds louder and the risk greater.  Point out the road hunter when first started, deer and duck blinds.  Higher risk with multiple shots like duck hunting, trap or skeet.


  1.  Statistics

26 million Americans have hearing loss that may have been caused by exposure to noise at work or in leisure activities.

16% of teens ages 12-19 have reported some hearing loss that could have been caused by loud noise.

80-90% of hunters don’t use hearing protection

40% of target shooters don’t use hearing protection

80% of shooting sportsmen have some degree of hearing loss

Hearing loss is 4 times more common in hunters and shooters compared to the average population.

  1.  Excuses

I need/want to hear everything

I don’t usually get more than 1 shot so not worried

I don’t have any pain

The damage has already been done so too late to worry about it now

Hearing protection doesn’t work

Hearing protection is too expensive

Too much bother

Uncomfortable to wear


  1.  Hearing Protection

Passive: Foam or rubber plugs – least costly. Helpful when used properly. Variety of styles and materials. Designed for 1 time use.  Non electronic muffs typically $15-$40. Often more comfortable than earplugs but may interfere with glasses or shooting.  Get highest NRR Noise Reduction Rating available(25dB or greater).

Custom made earplugs typically $100-$150. Made from ear impressions normally taken by an audiologist or hearing aid dealer to get best fit and most protection.  Easy to insert and clean.  Can be used in conjunction with ear muffs but does not double the amount of protection.


  1. Electronic Protection

Sound wave phase cancellation coupled with sophisticated electronic compression for loud sounds while able to amplify speech and other non damaging softer sounds.  Allows hunters to hear approaching game and then protect when shooting.  Electronic earmuffs may cost $200-$600 and can be found in gun shops, catalogues, and on line.  Custom made in the ear electronic

devices are the most expensive but possibly the most comfortable and helpful

when good hearing and protection are needed at the same time.  Typical costs

from $1000-$2000.


  1. Priorities and Comparisons

What is the cost of a typical hunting trip out of state?

What is the cost of a new firearm?

How many do you have?

Are they insured?

What price do you put on your hearing?

Hearing aids cost $1700-$6200/pair and are replaced in 5 years

Hearing aids do not restore hearing.

If you protect your kids why not yourself?


  1. References

















About the Author
Bringing You Sound Advice for a Better Future. Family Hearing Care offers cutting edge hearing aid technology with old-fashioned, personalized service. Dr Paul Hanrahan AuD & Ed Smith MA CCC-A have decades of experience in hearing healthcare, hearing aid fitting, hearing aid programing, hearing testing, and treatments for hearing loss. Family Hearing Care brings together the knowledge and expertise to treat your hearing loss with their family approach to communication problems. Convenient location and immediate appointments available. Please Call us today (231)946-2200 office@familyhearingtc.com www.familyhearingtc.com https://www.facebook.com/familyhearingtc