New Hunters; Old Wisdom
Across the country, covid-19 restrictions and precautions have encouraged more people to utilize the great outdoors. For some, this means enjoying dining outside; for others, this means hunting and gathering the meal itself. Hunting license purchases are revealing an uptick in sales for many states this year, and more people are buying firearms, according to the FBI Firearm Background Check records, reaching record high numbers in the summer—3.9 million. In Texas alone, the number for total hunting license tags, permits, and stamps has increased by over sixty-five thousand already since 2019, according to the US Fish and Wildlife service, and we are only in the middle of the fall hunting season.
With these trends and new hunters tackling the wide-open spaces, I want to reiterate how important preventative hearing protection is and how it doesn’t have to diminish any part of the experience. In these very uncertain times, one thing remains: every person has the power to avoid noise induced hearing damage, and worse . . . noise induced hearing loss.
Winning the Battle Doesn’t Mean You’ve Won the War
Hearing loss is a passion of mine. I see people every day who experience hearing loss and make every effort to guide them to the path that makes the most sense for their unique needs. While I’ve kept the scope of hearing-loss-related surgical procedures fairly basic for my practice—I’ll leave the cochlear implants to the bigwigs in Dallas—I know the breadth of issues and see the burden these losses bear, especially those caused by circumstances outside anyone’s control. Therefore, noise induced hearing loss is aggravating since its prevention is entirely within the realm of a person’s control, especially when the danger of loud noise exposure is known.
I understand that knowledge is power, and that maturity is often a precursor for caring to implement that knowledge. Youth is wasted on the young when that means the years of really bad punk-rock music concerts have stolen the more refined tastes of the second half of life. The truth is, though, it doesn’t take years of exposure to loud noises to cause damage. Just one loud noise can cause lifelong hearing loss, tinnitus, and hyperacusis (extreme sensitivity to sound). To provide some context, prolonged exposure to noise levels 85 dB and higher can result in permanent hearing loss. Some even urge to stay closer to 70 dB as a home base. The sound of a lawn mower is 90 dB, while the sound of a shotgun or rifle is 140+ dB and one shot alone causes instantaneous permanent damage.
The Best Shot Your Ears Have Got
All the more, take me seriously when I urge you to grip every shot with your hearing protection this hunting season. Like everything else in life, it takes an initial awareness and investment, but the cost of hearing protection is far less than hearing aids and irreparable damage!
The Not so Earplug Plug—
Earplugs are floppy and insecure, while earphones are migraine-inducing tight and intrusive. At Benke ENT we offer 100% customizable earpieces that are made to fit your ear perfectly. You can customize them to match your listening style, blocking out loud noise while keeping lower decibels for effective communication. These custom earpieces are so comfortable, you’ll forget you’re wearing them. This hunting season: avoid nature’s fury; take in her glory.
Westone, The In-Ear Experts
We partner with Westone, a laboratory company that has been handcrafting custom earpieces since 1959. In our office, we’ll take ear-mold impressions and discuss what features you’d like and need for your custom earpieces. Then, Westone does the rest! Visit their website to learn more about Westone products.
Call us to schedule a consultation!
To watch Dr. Benke explain how the impression process works at Benke ENT Clinic: Click here.
For more information regarding hearing loss prevention, check out this article: I Wish I Had Been Wearing Earplugs