Hunting can kill your hearing, but it doesn’t have to

Dr. Jerrilyn Frasier-Vaughan and Dr. Steve Madix

If you’re a hunter, you’re likely starting to think about what supplies you need to ensure you’re prepared for the upcoming fall hunting season. Here’s one often-overlooked essential to add to your must-have list—quality hearing protection. 

When you’re out in the wild, you’re focusing on the thrill of the hunt, not on your ears. But the truth is that noise from a single gunshot at close range can harm them—and even lead to permanent hearing loss. Although irreversible, noise-induced hearing loss from hunting is preventable with ear protection.

Gunshots Are Deadly to Your Ears

Noises of 85 decibels or more are known to harm your hearing. A gunshot measures between 120 and 130 decibels, making it extremely hazardous to your ears.

You rely on tiny hair cells in your inner ear to help you hear. A one-time exposure to an extremely loud noise or listening to loud sounds over time can damage or even destroy these cells, leaving you with hearing loss.

Evidence shows a connection between hunting and hearing loss. One study found that men over the age of 48 who hunt regularly are more likely to experience high-frequency hearing loss, the kind that often results from damage caused by sudden loud noises (like a gunshot). The risk of having a marked high-frequency hearing loss increased by 7% for every five years a man had hunted.1

Ear Protection Is Your Best Shot at Preserving Your Hearing

You may not have used hearing protection previously. Many hunters haven’t—nearly 95% of the hunters in the study referenced earlier reported never wearing hearing protection while shooting in the past.1 In addition, a separate study found that 62% of children ages 10–17 who hunt say they don’t use ear protection.2   

Get your ducks in a row by learning more about your options now.

  • Hunting Earplugs are usually made of foam and fit tightly in the ear canal. They reduce gunshot noise but not gunshot vibrations.
  • Hunting Earmuffs minimize the majority of sounds, even at close range. They have a snug fit and enclose the entire ear, making them highly effective at blocking sound.
  • Electronic Hunting Earplugs and Earmuffs include technology that suppresses loud noises while still allowing you to hear quieter sounds, such as animal movement. The earplugs are custom molded to your ears for a precise and comfortable fit.

Don’t Let Hearing Loss Prey Upon Your Quality of Life

Using ear protection will not only preserve your hearing—it will also protect your overall well-being.

People with hearing loss are at risk of several other health conditions, including cognitive decline, social isolation, balance issues and mental health difficulties. Having any one of these issues could make hunting with your buddies—and living your life to the fullest—hard to do. That’s why it’s crucial to be proactive about your hearing health now.

Don’t make yourself a target for noise-induced hearing loss during the upcoming hunting season. Take a moment to call (318) 251-1572 (Ruston) or (318) 582-5317 (West Monroe) to schedule a hearing consultation, where our expert team will determine if you have any hearing loss and help you learn more about our ear protection options for hunters.


1 Nondahl, DM et al. (2000, April). Recreational firearm use and hearing loss. Archives of Family Medicine.

2 Meinke, D et al. (2017). Prevention of noise-induced hearing loss from recreational firearms. Seminars in Hearing.


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