Risk of Hearing Loss in Combat

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    T Willy
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    As a civillian, the risk of encountering field Howitzers, tanks, AA guns or other very loud weapons is slim. Yet, I can’t help but ponder the question: how much small arms fire does it take to make you deaf?

    This is one of those things I feel no amount of prepping will completely solve. If SHTF and you have to participate in actual ‘combat’ you can’t afford to walk around with ear plugs. At the same time, you could lose your hearing after one fight and be next to useless to the rest of your family/friends/community.

    I remember a scene from Black Hawk Down, when one of the Rangers is forced to fire his SAW at point blank range to save himself and his friend. It worked, but his friend was deaf from the blasts and as a result, it forced the other Rangers around him to be on extra high alert to compensate.

    I know most of us don’t have SAWs…but combat carbines like the AK-47 and M4 are short barreled weapons, and they’re loud! Not only that, but even a .38 will make your ears ring. Imagine firing a .45 without plugs!

    Some veterans that I’ve talked to say everyone is different: you might be able to endure all kinds of noise, but your buddy could go deaf after one .22 cartridge.

    I’ve seen earplugs advertised as having special filters to allow certain decibels through, but I don’t know how that can be engineered with plastic…

    I have experienced ‘auditory exclusion’ while hunting whitetail, but that is a heat-of-the-moment deal, and certainly doesn’t offer any protection against long term damage.

    Thoughts? Opinions? Experiences?

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