Defending Your Ears (in a home defense situation)

We talk a lot about which firearms are appropriate for home defense and what calibers might be best and which ones simply don’t fit the bill.  One thing we haven’t talked much about is the effect on your ears from firing a weapon without ear protection.

Several years ago I was out pheasant hunting with a friend and had the opportunity to fire my shotgun for the first time outside of a supervised shooting range, and in this case without any ear protection.  No ear muffs, no plugs, no nothing.  Just me shouldering my 12 gauge, downing a very nice pheasant that we had for dinner that night, and then repeating over and over, “What? What did you say?”.  As my ears rang and rang and rang.

And this was in a wide open field!  Firing a gun without ear protection for the first time is a real eye opener (and ear closer).  Even outdoors the report is so loud that you immediately lose much of your ability to hear.  And this was from a relatively light load of bird shot.  I can only imagine what a 9mm or larger cartridge would do to my hearing if fired inside a building without ear protection.

That’s why I’ve recently purchased a set of ear muffs that both enhance soft sounds as well as shut out loud, potentially harmful sounds.  These ear muffs, originally designed for hunting, will amplify soft sounds yet still shut out any gunshots before they can damage your ears.

Having a pair of these gives you a distinct advantage in a tactical or survival situation.  One, they give you the ability to hear things you otherwise couldn’t.  Whether this be whispered voices in your backyard or the lock on your front door jiggling.  The product improves your hearing, magnifying soft sounds and giving you more information than you otherwise would have.

We rely on our sight and hearing heavily when in a combat situation.  People talk a lot about the advantages of having night-vision technologies but rarely do they talk about advanced hearing capabilities that are available or how vulnerable we would be with reduced hearing capability, such as what we get after firing a weapon indoors without hearing protection.

So, I would propose that having a pair of dynamic hearing protection ear muffs ready and waiting is a critical survival tool.  I keep a handgun in a locked safe close to my bed.  That safe also contains a pair of eyeglasses and a powerful flashlight.

As of yesterday there is also a pair of battery operated noise canceling ear muffs sitting right on top of that safe.  Being able to hear clearly after a shot has been fired is an incredible advantage.  Are the Bad Guys running away or rushing forward?  Is the person approaching friend or foe?  With your hearing debilitated from gunshots you will lose this important situational data.  With your hearing protected you will gain an advantage and hopefully save lives.

Ear protection, a critical piece of your Prepping and Home Defense plan.


2 Responses to Defending Your Ears (in a home defense situation)

  1. Respectfully, if I have to use a shotgun or any gun in a home defense situation, there is zero chance I’ll worry about ear or even eye protection. At the point I’m firing that weapon it’ll be a life or death situation. There won’t be time nor the desire to limit my hearing or sight in any way. If I get the shot off successfully, I’ll take the chances of a little ringing or even minor hearing damage with the ultimate result being living to tell the tail. Granted, repeated exposure to loud noises is proven permanently detrimental, so any practice or other shooting, even hunting (with dynamic headphones) isn’t a bad idea. But from my experience those products, as well as noise cancellation (i.e., Bose) tend to reduce my ability to hear both prey and predators. And even though the can amplify soft sounds, unless you wear them all the time the new reality of hearing every soft sound (AC, fridge, furnace, etc.) is disconcerting at best, but dangerous since you lose the ability to discern the direction from which the sound is coming from. Might want to reconsider.

  2. While I agree that an action taken in an extreme and immediate self defense situation would probably not have me worrying about the after effects of a loud shot fired indoors, I still keep my noise canceling muffs by my bedside. Why? Because not every situation involving a self defense action is going to be extreme and immediate. What about the situation where you hear glass breaking from somewhere in the house late at night? If you have time to investigate, you have time to slap on your muffs. This is of double benefit because they enhance your hearing at the same time they protect it. The situation might be otherwise if someone crashes through your front door and comes charging up the steps, or down the hall, but those extremes are fortunately less frequent than the stealthy home entry by a bad guy(s). I have been shooting for over 55 years, and my hearing is still so acute I can compete with my dogs in hearing and identifying sounds. This is because my dad started us shooting at age 8, and even with a .22 LR fired outdoors, we always had cotton stuffed in our ears. To this day I detest loud music and other noises, and will always protect my hearing. I do agree that in a crisis the ear protection probably won’t matter…heck, in a crisis you probably won’t even hear the shots or feel the recoil.