This feature appears in the June ‘17 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.
The battle over the Hearing Protection Act of 2017, currently under consideration in the U.S. Congress, is yet another that pits logic against emotion. And once again, gun owners are the ones coming down on the side of logic.
Regardless of the overwhelming amount of evidence available that suppressors help protect hearing and are not commonly used by criminals, anti-gun activists and their media enablers continue to push all the same old lies.
Recently, however, doctors and researchers have begun to present arguments that support the legislation.
Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership recently released a seven-page position paper on why the legislation is necessary to help protect the hearing of shooters and hunters.
The group pointed out that while the use of earplugs and other hearing protection devices is helpful, those devices can’t completely keep users from experiencing hearing loss.
For firearms, the study found that 58.5 percent of adults that had used a firearm in the previous 12 months “always used hearing protection.”“Hearing protection in the form of ear plugs or ear muffs, alone or in combination, can only reduce noise exposure by approximately 20-30 decibels,” the paper states. “This limitation in noise reduction may still expose a firearms user to damaging levels of noise; 120 decibels is still louder than a car horn from three feet away. Thus, inside-the-canal and over-the-ear devices (i.e., ear plugs and ear muffs)—the only current generally available protection—are inadequate for impulse noise protection, and when used together they deafen the wearer to all external sound.”
In fact, hearing loss from gunshots isn't just experienced by hunters and shooters, but also by bystanders.
Recently, a study published in the medical journal The Laryngoscope revealed that many shooters don’t employ adequate hearing protection while exercising their Second Amendment-protected rights.
Titled “Epidemiology of firearm and other noise exposures in the United States,” the study sought to determine the prevalence of harmful noise exposure in the workplace and in recreational activities, and how frequently individuals use hearing protection in these settings. For firearms, the study found that 58.5 percent of adults that had used a firearm in the previous 12 months “always used hearing protection.”
Obviously, that means that more than 40 percent didn’t always use hearing protection. That’s a grave danger to their hearing. And it’s another good reason all Americans should support legislation that makes it easier to protect our hearing.
Regardless of what the gun-haters say, remember this: Protecting the hearing of hunters and other shooters is a worthy cause. And that’s all the Hearing Protection Act is designed to do.
Mark Chesnut has been the editor of America’s 1st Freedom magazine for nearly 17 years and is an avid hunter, shooter and political observer.