Hunting plays an important role in managing the deer population in Michigan. Each year, however, thousands of firearm hunters experience varying levels of new, permanent hearing loss — sometimes leading to the need for expensive hearing aid devices.
With Michigan's firearm deer hunting season kicking off Nov. 15, Central Michigan University professor, Director of Audiology and avid hunter Michael Stewart offers practical, affordable tips to enjoy hunting while protecting hearing.
"We certainly want hunters to keep hunting, but it is important that you always protect your hearing from permanent damage," Stewart said. "Our research shows that every time you shoot without ear protection you are risking hearing loss. Have fun hunting, but be safe and protect your hearing."
At firing ranges, Stewart says conventional earplugs may be used.
While hunting, Stewart recommends electronic earmuffs or other hearing protection that allows a hunter to monitor the sounds of the environment and other hunters around them, but also protects them from the loud sound of their own gun.