I know you guys don’t think about it when you head out for the deer stand, but we don’t remind one another: “Eyes and ears” at the range for no reason. Don’t scoff. I know you—in fact I’m one of you. “Nah, I don’t need it. I can’t hear anyway, so what does it matter?” Listen, I get it. It can be a real pain having to remember to bring your hearing protection to the range. And now I’m suggesting hearing protection when we go hunting!

Yes, but hear (ha) me out:

Sound is measured in decibels (dB); specifically measuring the force of a sound wave. Dead quite (or silence) is 0 dB. Sound ten times greater than silence is 10 dB; 20dB is 100 times greater than silence; 30 dB is 1000 times greater. I’m sure you get the point.

The brain translates sound waves as they vibrate the hair in your ears—I’m not talking about the curly stuff that’s growing out your ears and into your sideburns. I’m talking about the teeny, tiny hairs called stereocilia inside your inner ear. The vibrations are translated into electrical signals in the brain and BAM—sound. Now those hairs don’t grow back like the curly, grey stuff my wife makes me trim off my ears. Once they’re damaged the stereocilia will not grow back, which can lead to constant ringing in your ears. This inevitably leads to permanent hearing loss.

“But Marshall, I’m already deaf!”

No, no. This is way worse than hearing loss because you listened to the Eagles too long with the volume maxed. Exposure to sounds greater than 115 dB can cause hearing loss in less than 30 seconds and guess what: gunshots range from 140 dB to 190 dB and greater.

All this to say, take your hearing protection with you to the range—for sure—and consider taking it to the woods with you, too. I get it—the 5-10 minute walk from the truck to the deer stand or the blind you’re going to miss the sounds of the woods; the chirps, squeaks, whistles, huffs, grunts, and the sound of gravel or leaves cracking under your feet. I know I miss it and POP—out comes the earplugs. But, then when I find my prey, BANG!! I hear the 150 decibels of my rifle (or more).

In a self-defense situation, you’re not going have hearing protection. I realize this. And you know, you do not need to be afraid of the sound of your own self-defense pistol. Now you should not directly expose yourself to the sound of gunfire. What I’m saying is you need to be aware that in a firefight you might experience temporary hearing loss, a busted ear drum, and maybe even suffer a bullet wound.

Just protect your ears, guys. Stay armed, stay safe.


How likely are you guys to take your hearing protection into the woods with you this season?