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Hearing protection for soldiers

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by ZombieJoe, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. ZombieJoe


    May 7, 2012
    Great Laker
    A couple weeks back I went to a gravel pit with my LCP. When I got their I realized that I did not have any hearing protection. I ended up shooting about 100 rounds, and my ears were RINGING! My right ear was still ringing 10 days later.

    So this got me thinking....What (if any thing) do the troops use?
  2. RedHaze

    RedHaze Handgunner

    Aug 23, 2009
    SE WA

    Seriously though, in theater you don't use anything. In training I used the best plugs I could find.

    Didn't always remember them though, and shot thousands of rounds without.

    And ... Low and behold I've got hearing loss.

    A word of advice... If you get to the range and realize you forgot your plugs. Such it up and head home. Once the damage is done it's done. Constant ringing sucks, it never goes away, it never gets better. You will live with it the REST of your life.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012

  3. ZombieJoe


    May 7, 2012
    Great Laker
    I was thinking that they might use the ear plugs that allow you to hear voices, but stop the louder sounds...:dunno:

    Have you ever used those?
  4. Zagato


    Oct 15, 2007
    occupational hazard. in training you use whatever they issue you or have at the PX. In the field, you need all your senses at maximum. hearing protection is a hindrance on patrol.

    When you get out, you claim it with the VA or deal with it.
  5. AA#5


    Nov 26, 2008
    Whenever your ears are ringing, you have nerve damage & permanent hearing loss. Interesting test.
  6. In training we all use earpro, while overseas no one does. Well no one that I met did. This was a few years ago and things may have changed. There's just no time. There is often little to no notice when a firefight breaks out. Communication between the squad or fireteam is life and death. I'm not sure how this can be fixed. I know I have lost quite a bit of hearing in one certain ear. I had a really tough time getting out of the service and through the mandatory hearing bit. Now that I'm older I seriously wish I would have admitted the ringing and hearing issues and went through with the comprehensive testing. I still have bad, random ringing episodes and I just can't hear well.
  7. ZombieJoe


    May 7, 2012
    Great Laker

    Thank You for your service, and the info.

    Outdoor Hub mobile, the outdoor information engine
  8. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy ********* Moderator Moderator Millennium Member Lifetime Member

    Jan 16, 2001
    Buried in the X-files
    Depends on you, your unit, and how dumb some ppl can be.

    I've done the 'no plugs, no time' thing a few times because I had to. Yes, I have permanent hearing damage. I also wore Surefire EP3 plugs a lot of the time because they do allow you to hear, and still block sounds of gunfire.

    Some of our kids were trying to be all macho about not wearing any earpro even when they could. They're now mostly deaf at 25.

    Special Forces, lot of infantry guys, and anyone who can afford to (and it's your CAN afford to) will generally wear electronic earpro that allows comms. Peltor Tac 6, Tac Pro, MSA Sordins if they can swing it, it blocks the sounds of gunfire/explosions, amplifies voice commands, and allows your radio to plug directly into them so it doesn't blare all across the landscape.

    SWAT teams have started using them too.

    That will vary by unit and service, but the smart ones use the electronic stuff these days, and have since about 2006/2007.
  9. Sheepdog Scout

    Sheepdog Scout Behind you!

    Jan 23, 2010
    Who knows?
    You've experienced acoustic noise trauma which is causing tinnitus (ringing).While the ringing is happening nerves are dieing, killing a certain range in your hearing. Hopefully your ears have stopped ringing. But you've caused some permanent damage. Which could be a bigger issue down the road. I'd suggest you get a hearing test done soon.

    I've forgotten my protection once or twice when I go the the range. But, luckily they have ear plugs to buy. But I prefer to wear some kind of muffs. If not doubling up.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
  10. redbrd


    Sep 20, 2005
    Not sure across the board but soldiers have the Peltor with the comms/PTT. They muffle sounds in dangerous ranges but amplify other sounds. Direction is difficult to determine however. Even with that limitation it is a good system, more reliable comms is a good thing.
  11. SouthpawG26


    Sep 4, 2004
    Surefire makes these earplugs that dont interfere with lower volume sound, while still providing a reasonable NRR:

    EDITED TO ADD: MrMurphy already mentioned these a couple of posts earlier...
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
  12. Lior


    Jul 23, 2004
    In the 2006 Lebanon war I fired about 100,000 lbs of ammunition (155mm), and wore hearing protection for every single round. Have no regrets.

    If people are not trying to kill you, wear hearing protection, period.
  13. SGT_Calle


    Nov 27, 2011
    It's not too late brother, file a new claim with the VA.
  14. DonD


    Dec 21, 2001
    Central TX
    The Surefire plugs seem like a good deal and inexpensive.

    Personally, I'd think some of the digital devices that have even higher noise reduction numbers would be a great idea. They amplify soft sounds and shut down dangerous noise levels. If it were me, I'd gladly pay for them out of pocket if that were the only option. Gunfire w/o hearing protection also gives me a headache.

    When I started shooting over 50 yrs ago, hearing protection wasn't on the table. I have some but not bothersome hearing loss from early years and later years running over 1000 rds of 5"/54 Navy gunnery from the bridge. Everyone else on the bridge had plugs, I couldn't because of the comms setup with gunnery plot and the CO wanting to be able to scream and me hear. Don
  15. hogship

    hogship It's MY Island


    In 1968-69, helicopter crews were issued ear protection, but nobody used them. It was a "damned if you do, and damned if you don't" kind of thing. Because the helicopters were so noisy anyway, it was difficult to distinguish the sound of enemy gunfire. You learned to know what your were listening for, and plugs interfered with that. Enemy gunfire was a very low key "pop, pop, pop" sound, and the lives of your air crew depended on you being alert and knowing the instant the enemy is shooting at you.

    I have permanent hearing loss because of the helicopter noise.......not to mention shooting hundreds of thousands of rounds through an M60 machine gun without hearing protection.......which was much worse.

  16. Sgt127


    Nov 5, 2002
    Not military. But, I was on SWAT for over ten years. Lots of Thunderflashes. Usually I was outside the room where they were going off, but, not always. A couple shootings without ear protection.

    But, there are so many other loud noises. Running code, the siren will wear you out. The you have to crank up the radio, so you can hear it over the siren. Searching a building with the alarm going off. Warehouses are the worst. Its just a giant metal tunnel with sirens screaming in it. I actually used to use earplugs on late nights when I did a building search. Its so loud, you can't hear anyway.

    We have new locks on the PD. Electronic pad that you wave a key fob at. A little green light comes on when the door unlocks and, they tell me it beeps.
  17. jph02


    Jun 10, 2012
    Combat arms earpugs are in the system and there's no reason military personnel can't have them in the combat zone. It's important to know how to wear them: green side in for steady state noise like choppers, vehicles, etc (green machine); yellow side in for dismount and range activities (yellow fire).
  18. FFR Spyder GT

    FFR Spyder GT Ex-Gunslinger

    Apr 27, 2012
    Hog Jaw, Arkansas

    Most Combat Veterans have a hearing loss and tinnitus.

    Tinnitus is that ringing sound that NEVER goes away.


    back in the"Day" we had the fitted ear plugs that we carried in the little clear plastic container with a screw on cap and a little chain that connected the cap and the container.

    Plus we had the disposable ear plugs.

    This was back in the 80's and early 90's.
  19. WoodenPlank

    WoodenPlank Who?

    May 15, 2010
    NW Florida
    The MSA Sordin headsets are nice, but the set I had were mostly meant for constant noise environments, like tanks. SHooting a short-barreled AR with a brake was more than the muffs could compensate for.

    The Surefire in-ears are EXCELLENT, however. I got rid of my MSAs (had no need for the comms part) and got a set of Howard Leight electronic muffs that are excellent, too.

    Always wear your ear pro, and use QUALITY stuff. I can't sleep in a silent room because the ringing in my ears is so bad. Some of it from un-protected weapon fire, some from too much time around jet turbines without earpro, and some from years on the range with poor ear pro.
  20. Decguns


    Dec 29, 2003
    We always used muffs or foamies when in training, but I never brought any with me out into the field. Muffs really don't fit inside your helmet, and no matter what the ear plug guys claim, you can't hear all that well even with their magic plugs inserted.

    I don't know about any of you other guys, but just like when I go hunting sans ear protection, my ears always turned off when the shooting started. The pounding of the M60, M240 & M249 right next to me would leave me deaf for a day but the M16s, M4s never did. I just tuned it out like when bird hunting. While the shooting surely damaged my hearing, I could still hear fine without yelling. Pistols are a whole different animal entirely. They are loud! I never could tune them out.

    Like almost everybody who ever served, my ears ring all the time. I have no hearing in the upper frequencies now, which isn't a bad thing since that tunes out kids and my wife! The VA was nice to tack on an extra 10% disability for it.