By John O’Connor, Guest Blogger
Hunting is a very popular sport and hobby for many people these days. It is also a favorite activity that many families engage in together as well. When picking a family hunting trip, a great destination to check out could be Washington State. Washington State is a great place to pick for a hunting trip because it is such a diverse area, not just when talking about different types of game but also in terms of different terrains and ecosystems. With many different terrains such as dense forests, mountains, open valleys, and deserts, options for a great hunting experience are endless. Some types of game that Washington has to offer range from black bear and whitetail deer to moose, various types of waterfowl, turkeys, pheasants, grouse and more.
When preparing for a hunt everyone makes sure they have all of their guns, ammunition, camouflage and maps. What many people tend not to bring with them is proper hunting hearing protection. As a child I remember helping my father pack up the truck the night before he headed out on a hunting trip with his friends. I would always ask him questions about where they were going, why he used this gun rather than another and so on. What I never noticed as we gathered all of his gear together was hearing protection.
My father has been an avid hunter ever since I was a young child. Often times when he was out in the field he did not pay much attention to his hearing protection. He would often say that since he could not feel any signs or symptoms of hearing loss why should he have to protect against it. Little did he know that hearing loss can occur gradually over time and every time he fired his rifle without out any protection on he was further damaging his ears. Now many years later my father is in his late 70’s and due to his choice not to wear hearing protection is affected severely by hearing loss. Although hunting is not the only cause of his hearing loss, his doctor has said that it did play a major role in damaging his eardrums. In order to help with his hearing, he always wears a hearing aid in each. Despite his current hearing levels, my father still enjoys heading to the range to practice his shooting but he always makes sure he has his hearing protection on at all times.
Although my father did not wear his hearing protection, he would always make sure that I was properly protected at all times. For this reason I have always worn hearing protection when out on a hunt or at the range. As the tradition of hunting continues on within our family, we now more than ever stress the importance of wearing hearing protection to our children to ensure they are properly protected. Also, as the tradition grows stronger we want to make sure that their children are properly protected as well.
There are a few options out there that hunters and their families can choose from when looking to properly protect their hearing. The first line of defense is a classic set of earplugs. Earplugs are soft molded pieces that fit directly into the ear. Although earplugs offer some degree of protection they may not fully help protect your hearing or fully satisfy what you and your family may be looking for. If this is the case you may want to look into the earmuff. Earmuffs are used often used not only for their excellent protection against noise but also for their ease and comfort. To provide maximum protection, earmuffs are made with padding or a liquid cushioning around the ears that help block out loud decibel levels. Some hunters like to wear earplugs under their earmuffs. If that does not seem like an option for you, a great item to look at would be the electronic earmuff. Electronic earmuffs are a very popular form of hearing protection. Often a complaint by hunters and a reason they do not wear hearing protection is because they are not able to converse with others in their hunting group and they are not able to hear approaching animals in the area. To help solve this problem, electronic earmuffs allow in all noises less than 80 dB while still providing maximum protection to noise levels over this dB level. No matter what you choose to wear it is always smart to have some sort of hearing protection on at all times when firing a gun.
Whether you are planning a hunting trip to Washington State, practicing at the range or showing your son how to shoot for the first time, make sure you are properly protected. Hearing is a vital sense that we often do not pay much attention to it until it is gone. Protect your hearing along with your family members hearing today in order to ensure healthy hearing for all in the future!
Hi my name is John O’Connor. I am a father, outdoorsman and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. Over the past few years I have become more and more interested in hearing loss. My father and grandfathers, who are and were all hunters, are affected by hearing loss. I feel that there is a general lack of understanding around the issue and it is our job to spread awareness where we can. Check out my new blog at bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com!