Hearing Loss – A cautionary tale.
You have probably noticed that I have not been ‘on’ this forum or posted for quite a while and if I have missed a request or PM from anyone I apologise but recent circumstances have virtually precluded the use of my PC.
In December I was fine and out shooting at least 3-4 times per week, for anything and everything over the 20,000 odd acres I have permission on locally but that all changed in the New Year.
Mid January I had an ear infection, nothing serious, but one that needed antibiotics to clear it up. However, by the time my week’s course had finished I had started with Tinnitus – a ringing sound inside my head along with high blood pressure and constant headaches.
Without going into too much detail suffice it to say the noise gradually became so loud I was near to being suicidal. The doctor was great and helped me organise immediate visits to various Consultants and clinics as well as arranging all sorts of tests, x-rays and scans only for me to find out that I don’t have a brain tumour, or a kidney tumour or any of the dozen or so other things that might just be causing the noise. It is, in their words, ‘Tinnitus, and I need to go away and learn to live with it as there is no cure’.
The reason was not the ear infection –that was just the catalyst - but my loss of hearing that has happened over the years from shooting without proper protection.
I didn’t realise at the time but without exception my own lack of concern for what I believed was a minor hearing loss was the opportunity for tinnitus to begin. The hearing tests have actually shown quite a significant hearing loss especially in the ear opposite to my shooting side and that is the underlying cause.
For me the noise levels initially built up to very loud levels at a frequency of around 5800 MHz. For instance I could still hear it despite standing next to a very loud vacuum cleaner or over the noise of my vehicle on the motorway when driving on those horrid serrated concrete stretches – it was loud and was there 100% of the time. I was unable to sleep, to watch TV or even use the PC. In fact the PC and mobile / cordless phones still increase the noise inside my head sufficiently to make their use unacceptable most of the time. Over the last 3 months things have settled down a little to a loudness level of about 75% and the noise has changed frequency to around 8000 MHz and I also do seem to have perhaps 1 day in 3 or 4 when I find the noise is down to about 25% level. Better – yes ! but it is still making any semblance of normality impossible and I have only been out with a rifle 4 or 5 times since Xmas.
As an indication of the noise level and type of noise try listening to different frequencies on this site:-
Turn up your PC Volume top full and turn the site volume to about ½ way and that approximates to the noise levels inside my head for most of the time.
I am in no way looking for sympathy as the reason for my predicament is all of my own making. The point of posting this thread is simply as a warning to others about something most of us just don’t appreciate could be happening to our hearing because it is so gradual and mostly unnoticed. Tinnitus, I understand, can and does hit those with hearing loss as would be expected from long term shooting without protection and I mean constant protection. I am not a Target shooter and therefore rarely shoot more than a handful of rounds at a time at any one time and usually it is single shots. In the field I have never worn protection because I could neither hear what was going on around me nor comfortably shoot with a headset on. I was also unwilling to spend £500 on a set of the digital ear inserts.
I know most of you are the same as me and because of that fact alone I am telling you to start taking care of your ears. The hearing loss you may get from shooting is something you can easily live with – in fact it can be an advantage when the wife says it is time to wash up – but the onset of Tinnitus could be equally as devastating to you as it has been for me especially when you are told there is no cure.
In the near future, I was intending to reduce the time I spend shooting so that my wife and I have the time to travel a little and spend more time together in our retirement. I had started preparing a small ‘For Sale’ list of shooting related items that I considered to be surplus to my expected requirements in the future. However, with my unexpectedly changed health circumstances it seems as if there will be even less shooting in the future than I originally envisaged and on that basis I have prepared a considerably larger list of 20+ pages of shooting, shooting related and ‘other’ things that it would be sensible to advertise given my present circumstances.
As I explained above I will not always be able to use the PC on a regular basis so do not be perturbed if your mail is unanswered for a day or so. Whatever the delays please rest assured that all offers or shows of interest will be dealt with in a chronological order according to the date and time of the email received.
Since there may also be occasions when my wife will have to be dealing with enquiries please do not use PMs or reply on this thread as your reply may well not be seen. Please always write direct to email@example.com
Anyone interested please email for a copy of the list.