How Long Does Hearing Loss Last After Shooting a Gun?

How long does hearing loss last after shooting a gun?

Shooting sports are a thrilling blend of skill, precision, and power. But amidst the excitement, there's an often-overlooked aspect that every marksman should be aware of: the impact of gunfire on hearing health. The sharp crack of a gunshot isn't just loud—it can be a direct threat to your ears.

In fact, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that noises above 85 dB can cause hearing damage, and gunshots often exceed this threshold, reaching levels as high as 140 to 175 dB.

How long does the resulting hearing loss last? Is it a temporary setback or a permanent change?

how long does hearing loss last after shooting a gun?



    How Does a Firearm Affect My Ears?

    Gunfire is among the most harmful noises for your ears. The impact noise from a gunshot is a sudden, intense assault that can cause immediate and long-term damage to your hearing. It's not just the loudness but the nature of the sound that makes it particularly dangerous.

    Unlike continuous noise exposure, which gradually harms hearing over time, the abrupt, sharp sound of a gunshot can instantly harm delicate structures within the ear.

    This can lead to a range of auditory issues, from temporary hearing impairment to permanent hearing loss and even tinnitus, a condition characterized by a persistent ringing in the ears.

    Understanding the risks and taking proactive steps to protect your hearing is crucial, especially for regular shooters who are frequently exposed to these harmful noise levels.ringing in ears after shooting

    How Long Does Hearing Loss Last After Shooting a Gun?

    When a gun is fired, it produces a sudden and incredibly loud noise that can surpass safe hearing levels. This results in hearing loss.

    Hearing loss from gunfire can be temporary or permanent. Temporary Noise Induced Hearing Loss (TNIHL) usually subsides within a few hours to days, but repeated exposure can lead to Long-Term Noise Induced Hearing Loss (LTNIHL), which is irreversible and may require hearing aids for management.

    The duration of this hearing loss can vary depending on various factors, such as how close a person is to the firearm, the type and caliber of the weapon used, and an individual's susceptibility to noise-induced hearing damage.

    By examining how noise-induced hearing loss occurs and considering the characteristics of firearms, we can gain insights into how long hearing loss may last and emphasize the importance of using hearing protection to prevent irreversible harm.

    How Long Does Hearing Loss Last After Shooting a Gun?

    What Is Shooter's Ear and What Causes It

    A unique aspect of hearing loss among shooters is what's known as 'Shooter's Ear'. This condition is characterized by asymmetrical hearing loss, typically more pronounced in the ear opposite the shooting arm.

    For instance, a right-handed shooter would usually experience more hearing loss in their left ear. This pattern occurs because the head's position when aiming and firing a gun often shields the ear closer to the firearm, leaving the opposite ear more exposed to the full impact of the gunshot noise.

    Shooter's ear is not just a temporary affliction; it can lead to long-term, and sometimes permanent, hearing damage.

    The condition often manifests as high-frequency hearing loss, making it difficult to hear certain sounds and pitches, which can significantly impact daily communication.

    What Is Shooter's Ear

    How to Prevent Shooter's Ear

    How can you prevent a shooter's ear? The best way to avoid hearing loss is to invest in some good hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs.

    Depending on your shooting environment, different types of hearing protection are recommended. For range shooting, a combination of earmuffs and foam earplugs offers the best protection, while for hunting, digital hearing protection that suppresses gunfire noise is advisable.

    In case you're having trouble with inserting your earplugs, make sure to check out our guide with steps for easy earplug insertion.

    Investing in high-quality hearing protection is the way to go if you want to keep your hearing in top shape. Choose something comfortable and practical, whether you opt for ear plugs or ear muffs.

    ear muffs for shootingear muffs for shootingAt TradeSmart, we offer top-of-the-line ear protection that's both comfortable and effective. Our Professional kit comes with NRR 28 shooting earmuffs, NRR 33 ear plugs for shooting, and ANSI anti-fog safety glasses - all neatly packed in a compact carrying case.

    ear protection for shootingear protection for shooting

    Ear Ringing After Shooting

    Many think mastering accurate shooting techniques is enough to stay safe in the shooting range. But, shooting a gun with no ear protection is very dangerous and can cause annoying ear ringing.

    If you've ever experienced ear ringing after shooting (usually referred to as tinnitus) you know how uncomfortable it can be.

    Ear Ringing After Shooting

    Tinnitus is a condition of constant ringing, buzzing or hissing in the ears that can significantly impact an individual's quality of life and overall well-being.

    How Long Does Tinnitus Last - Is Tinnitus Permanent?

    Tinnitus is usually temporary and can go away within a few hours to a few days. However, in some cases, it can be chronic and stick around.

    If you're experiencing tinnitus, don't worry, you're not alone. It's pretty common among shooters who forget their hearing protection.

    How to Get Your Ears to Stop Ringing After Shooting

    The best practice is to avoid anything that may exacerbate the tinnitus, like other loud noises or stimulants such as caffeine.

    Next up to avoid - alcohol. Alcohol causes blood to flow into your inner ear, which only serves to enhance the ringing. So, until your ears stop ringing, it's best to stick to water and avoid the hard stuff.

    how to get your ears to stop ringing after shootingOne potential avenue for relief from tinnitus, especially for those who have experienced gunshot-induced hearing loss, is Lipo-Flavonoid Plus.

    This US made, over-the-counter solution, frequently recommended by ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialists, leverages a natural lemon bioflavonoid complex. It contains essential vitamins and minerals like Vitamins C, B1, B2, B6, B12, and Calcium, among others, all aimed at providing nutritional support for the inner ear.

    Its effectiveness in treating tinnitus has been clinically studied and recognized over 50 years. If you try it as directed and don't find relief, there's a money-back guarantee in place.

    How Long Does Hearing Loss Last After Shooting a Gun?

    If you're seeking a more substantial supply beyond the 150 caplets package referenced above, we've got you covered. Take a look at the larger 500 caplets option provided below.

    How Long Does Hearing Loss Last After Shooting a Gun?

    To optimize your results, consider combining these daytime caplets with the Lipo Flavonoid Night caplets.

    #CommissionsEarnedHow Long Does Hearing Loss Last After Shooting a Gun?

    Signs That Tinnitus Is Going Away

    If you've been suffering from tinnitus, you're probably eagerly waiting for any sign that it's going away. Well, here are a few things to listen out for:

    • the ringing might start to fade,
    • the sound might become less frequent,
    • you might start hearing more normal sounds around you.

    But don't worry if your ears are still giving you trouble - just think of it as your personal symphony. Who needs a Spotify subscription when you have tinnitus, right?

    signs that tinnitus is going away

    Gunshot Hearing Loss Recovery

    In case you experience hearing loss after shooting a gun, the first thing to do is to see a healthcare professional immediately. Sometimes, hearing loss may improve on its own, especially if it's temporary.

    gunshot hearing loss recovery

    However, in cases of permanent hearing loss, several treatment options are available to help manage the condition, such as hearing aids or cochlear implants. While these devices can't completely restore your hearing, they can significantly improve your ability to hear and communicate with others.


    How Loud Is a Gunshot?


    Almost all firearms are ear-piercingly loud, with noise levels exceeding the 140-decibel mark. That's like having a jet engine take off next to your ears!

    Despite their small size, even a .22-caliber rifle can produce a sound of around 140 dB, which is very powerful. But if you want to make some real noise, reach for a big-bore rifle or pistol, which can produce sound over 175 dB.

    how loud is a gunshot

    How Long Does Muffled Hearing Last After Shooting?


    The duration of muffled hearing experienced after shooting can vary depending on several factors. When a firearm is discharged, the intense sound waves produced can overwhelm the delicate structures of the inner ear, leading to a temporary reduction in hearing sensitivity.

    This temporary muffled hearing, also known as temporary threshold shift (TTS), occurs as a result of the ears' natural protective mechanisms. In most cases, muffled hearing tends to resolve within a few hours to a few days.

    It is crucial to note that prolonged or recurring episodes of muffled hearing after shooting may indicate potential damage to the auditory system and should prompt a thorough evaluation by an audiologist.

    Taking preventive measures, such as consistently wearing hearing protection and minimizing exposure to loud noises, can help reduce the risk and duration of muffled hearing and protect long-term hearing health.

    How Far Can You Hear a Gunshot?


    How far can you hear a gunshot? Let's talk about the distance a gunshot can travel before it fades into silence. The answer? It depends on several factors, such as the type of firearm, the terrain, and even the weather conditions.

    On average, you can hear a gunshot from several hundred yards away and even up to a mile, but this can vary widely. For example, a gunshot can be heard from miles away in the wide-open desert. In contrast, a gunshot in a densely populated city may not travel very far due to the abundance of buildings and other structures that absorb and deflect sound.

    how far can you hear a gunshot

    What Do Gunshots Sound Like?


    If you're curious about what gunshots sound like, you're in for a wild ride. This really depends on what kind of firearm you're using. As mentioned before, the loudness and pitch of a gunshot rely on the firearm's caliber.

    For example, a high-pitched pistol might sound like a popping balloon - which can be both surprising and amusing at the same time! On the other hand, larger caliber rifles can pack a serious punch in terms of sound, with a noise that's more akin to a bomb or cannon going off. And if you're using supersonic ammunition, you can expect the gunshot to sound like the crack of a whip - which, while exhilarating, is definitely not something you want to hear when you're not expecting it.



    In conclusion, shooting a gun without proper ear protection can result in temporary or permanent hearing loss. The severity of the hearing loss depends on factors such as the caliber of the firearm and how close the shooter is to the sound source.

    Tinnitus, a persistent ringing or buzzing in the ears, is a common symptom of noise-induced hearing loss. While hearing loss may be permanent, some measures can be taken to avoid further damage, such as wearing ear protection and avoiding loud noises. Therefore, make sure shooting earmuffs and earplugs are essentials in your shooting backpack.

    It's crucial to prioritize ear safety while enjoying shooting sports or engaging in other activities that involve exposure to loud noises.

    4 Responses



    January 30, 2024

    Went shooting yesterday for the first time with my friends. Always had ringing in the ears. Been bothering me for the past week but now has gotten much worse. Decided to wear my noise cancelling headphones because I find the earplugs not comfortable. It’s been 15 hours and my ears are still ringing loudly. Should I seek professional help?

    John Radford

    John Radford

    January 24, 2024

    I exploded a 12 gauge shotgun round (safely, gunpowder and shots were removed prior) but forgot to wear hearing protection. My left ear was the closest (about 2-3 ft) and has been very quietly ringing ever since. It’s not allot but if I listen for it I can hear it. I can still hear out of it but it’s a little muffled. This happened about 4 days ago. I can tell that I have been getting a little more hearing back everyday. from like day 1-3 my ears would ring every time I raised me voice but today is the first day that is not the case. Is this serious? I don’t feel like it is. But should I be seeking medication or medical help?



    January 15, 2024

    I did the same thing 11 days ago, I have an appointment with ent tomorrow. I can’t tell you how bad I wish the ringing would stop.. I can barely get to sleep and am having trouble with my job over hearing loss… I am praying it’s not permanent

    Ted Brome

    Ted Brome

    September 13, 2023

    Acquired loud buzzing (Tinnitus) from shooting trap without proper ear protection 10 days ago….. Still have loud buzzing especially in the morning…….When will it subside if not permanent? When should I conclude that it is permanent and seek help. Doctor already prescribed ear drops for ear infection 5 days ago since I had signs of infection as well. There is hearing loss. Still hoping it is not permanent….. Any comments from others in the same boat would be appreciated ……

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