Shotguns & Shooting  |  08/08/2017

Even one shot can cause permanent hearing loss

Shooting time finally arrives. You can feel the cold air, see the orange autumn sunlight raking in in low over the grass, smell what’s left of last night’s dew, and taste one last sip of warm coffee before stepping off.  

You hear the swish of grass against your chaps, the sound of your dog’s breathing as she works the first bird of the day, the rustling of grass, and then the cackle of a complaining rooster as he flushes into a clear-blue sky. Your shotgun swings as it has thousands of times, and you start to catch up with the bird.


Using all five of our senses makes hunting great. Hearing is a vital sense for enjoyment, but hunting can put it in danger. Just as you wear layers of clothing to keep warm, or safety glasses to protect your eyes, you should wear ear protection in the field to preserve your hearing. 

You might be familiar with the ringing in your ears after firing your shotgun. Are you aware that even though the ringing may go away over time, permanent damage has been done to your hearing? 

One gunshot may not seem like enough to do damage. But when shot without hearing protection, a single gunshot can be enough to cause permanent hearing damage. A gunshot can reach levels as high as 140-190 decibels (dB), depending on the caliber. To give you a clearer picture, sounds that reach 85dB or stronger can cause permanent hearing damage if exposed to them for extended periods of time. 

Once hearing damage occurs, there is no cure for it. 

Maybe you are aware that the gunshot is damaging your hearing, but you put off hearing protection and think, “I’ll get around to it next season.” The longer you avoid hearing protection, though, the more your hearing is affected and hearing loss becomes a reality.  It is essential to protect your hearing now – every time you are in the field or on the range – not just occasionally. 

Perhaps you avoid hearing protection because you fear it could compromise your ability to hear all the important sounds of hunting. While most hearing protection will protect your ears from the immediate crack of a gunshot, they lack the ability to help you continue to hear the sounds you need to hunt effectively and enjoy the experience.


But there are sophisticated hearing protection options suitable for field use. 

Starkey Hearing Technologies, a leader in the hearing industry with over 50 years of experience, knows what it takes to not only protect your ears, but allow your ears to hear the sounds you need and enjoy. Their SoundGear brand offers an array of hearing protection that suit both hunting and shooting needs. 

For example, SoundGear’s “Instant Fit” electronic hearing protection and enhancement devices are the smallest and lightest on the market. The devices fit discreetly inside your ear canal for superior, 100 percent digital sound. Ready to wear right out of the box, they can be worn for all-day comfort. This allows you to hear your favorite hunting sounds without damaging your ears from the report of your shotgun. 

If you are looking for a product with more features and personalization, SoundGear offers Custom Fit products, as well. These are made with the most advanced digital hearing technology on the market for the avid hunter or professional shooter who will not settle for anything less than the best. 

The custom fit on these units is so precise, you’ll often forget you’re wearing them. Each set of devices are custom-fit to your ears for all-day comfort and protection. The volume control gives you the ability to personalize the devices even more by increasing or decreasing the amplification level until it is set to your comfort level.  

When you use SoundGear while hunting, you can be confident that your investment will protect one of your most important senses – your hearing. Because hunting isn’t the same if you can’t hear it.  

SoundGear is making a substantial commitment to conservation as a national sponsor and official hearing protection of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. 

Visit to find hearing protection that is right for you.