Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership this week distributed a white paper advocating access to suppressors in support of the Hearing Protection Act.
In their seven-page position paper, the group contends the relationship between loud noise exposure and damaging hearing loss has long been known by physicians and the U.S. government and that suppressor use can help mitigate health risks. It was compiled by at least four board-certified otolaryngologists.
“Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership strongly supports making firearm suppressors readily available to the public as a critical health intervention to prevent Americans’ hearing loss,” said DRGO Project Director, Dr. Arthur Przebinda in a statement.
In part, the paper argues that suppressors can moderate dangerous sounds not only for the gun user but also for bystanders who may not be equipped with ear protection, pointing out that the VA lists hearing loss as the most prevalent service-connected disability.
“Any intervention that reduces these morbidities, and certainly one that firearms users will gladly pay for themselves if it becomes affordable and readily available, could save billions of dollars in costly interventions,” notes the paper. “There is no treatment for this kind of hearing loss.”
While making the case that suppressors offer significantly greater noise reduction than earplugs, the paper also counters the argument made by gun control advocates that increased use of silencers will prove dangerous in active shooter scenarios by pointing out that even muffled gunshots typically register around 120dB, or midway between the comparative sound level of a jackhammer and firecracker.
“Reducing barriers to firearms suppressor ownership and decreasing the likelihood of gunshot blast noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus in tens of millions of U.S. firearms owners will have no material impact on criminal firearms use,” concludes the paper.