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At the Range: Why You Need Eye and Ear Protection for Shooting

There’s nothing like heading to the gun range for a good round of target practice. Whether you are working on perfecting your form or just taking time to hang out with friends, going to the range can be a great pastime. 

While target practice is fun, many shooters don’t take every necessary precaution to protect their health. Eye and ear protection while shooting is crucial to keep your hearing and vision in excellent shape after a day at the range. 

Ear Protection for Shooting

The sound of gunfire can get your heart racing when you’re in target practice, but unprotected exposure to gunfire can do a number to your hearing. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hearing loss due to noise exposure is the number one preventable chronic health problem globally. It’s easy to shrug off a few loud sessions at the firing range or decide to skip hearing protection while you’re out hunting, but the cost of exposing your ears to repeated gunfire can be detrimental. 

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends limiting exposure to any sounds louder than 140 decibels (dB). Gunfire can easily pass this threshold, even with smaller caliber firearms. The sound of gunfire can reverberate and get louder in an indoor facility.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and NIOSH recommend that people planning on hunting or visiting a shooting range should use hearing protection. There are two types of protection you can use:

  • In-ear hearing protection, such as earplugs
  • Over-ear protection, such as a set of earmuffs

Many experts suggest that you double your hearing protection and wear muffs over earplugs. This helps to reduce the impact of dBs on your ears. 

For hunters listening for wild game, electronic hearing protection devices use microphones to allow softer sounds to be heard passively. Once the sound hits the maximum level, it shuts off passive sound to protect the user’s hearing.

Hearing protection devices can work for any budget and range from as little as $10 to over $1,000.

What Type of Eye Protection Should You Wear When Shooting a Firearm?

Permanent damage to your vision can happen in a flash if your eyes aren’t protected. Here are a few ways operating a firearm can harm your eyes:

  • Ejected shell cartridges
  • Powder or gas from gunfire
  • Ricocheted projectiles
  • Catastrophic weapon failure

Most shooting ranges enforce eye protection for this reason. Regardless if you are hunting or sport shooting, you need to wear eye protection any time you plan to use a firearm. 

Whenever you are selecting shooting glasses, make sure they meet the American National Standards Institute Z87 standard. This means they use polycarbonate to resist shattering. It may seem more convenient to use an old pair of sunglasses you have or your prescription glasses for eye protection, but these can leave your eyes more vulnerable to debris and other hazards in shooting practice.  

Like hearing protection, eye protection can vary significantly in price, so there is no reason to skip eye safety when you are practicing. Make sure to get a comfortable pair. You can also look for colored lenses to help your aim in different lighting. 

Gun Storage for When You Get Back from the Range

While you want to keep your eyes and ears safe during your target practice, it’s crucial to have a discreet and secure place to store your firearm when you get home. For a safe and low profile way to keep your gun, check out our collection of concealment furniture and concealment wall art. Have a question about which piece would work best for your home? Contact us to get in touch with one of our team members today.

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