As part of a campaign for the Hearing Protection Act, SilencerCo interviewed an audiologist about the dangers of unsuppressed gunfire on those not wearing ear pro.
“I treat hearing loss and I see the ill-effects of hearing loss every day with my patients,” says Steven Wade, an audiologist. “Once somebody is exposed to loud sounds and they have damaged their hearing — whether it be gunshots or other types of loud impulse sounds — that cochlea [the auditory portion of the inner ear] becomes damaged and it’s irreversible damage.”
Wade’s remarks echo studies from pro-gun physician groups as well as those by Adam Mehlenbacher, an Army veteran, and audiologist who heads up the American Academy of Audiology’s Government Relations Committee. Mehlenbacher previously told Guns.com that hearing loss and tinnitus are the most common military service related disabilities and “can have an enormous negative impact on communication ability and quality of life.”
The spot from SilencerCo also breaks down the Mil-Std 1474D testing done for suppressors and illustrates how an attached suppressor can drop the unsuppressed gunshot impulse of an M16A2 rifle from 160dB, to below the 140dB threshold set by OSHA for permanent hearing damage. In addition, they argue the use of a muffler is more realistic for hunters and others who typically frown on wearing ear protection in the field.
“So if we can reduce the gun — the noisy thing — by 20 or 30 decibels, and then keep everything else in the environment the same, that just makes more sense,” Wade says. “I would much rather write a prescription for a suppressor than for a set of a hearing aids.”
Enrolled as H.R. 367 in the House, the Hearing Protection Act has 141 co-sponsors but no date for committee hearings. A companion Senate measure, S.59, has 16 co-sponsors. Only three Democrats have signed on to the legislation.
Gun control groups and Senate Dems to include Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Chris Murphy of Connecticut oppose the measure they have characterized as dangerous legislative charity to a flagging gun industry.