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Posted: 11/22/2003 4:58:57 PM EDT
I went hunting with my AR15 for the first time a couple weeks ago. Usually, when hunting, I don't use hearing protection as I can't hear what my companions are saying (yelling) and I can't hear the game I'm hunting. Anyway, this coyote comes running out of some bushes doing 25mph and I unload on it. There goes the hearing in my left ear. How in the world do combat soldiers deal with it??? I never had to fire my M16 in combat while in the Army so I never thought about it.
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 5:02:28 PM EDT
In the past, they didn't. I thought we were issuing them now though. All of the NG guys I'd seen had a hard shell hanging from their pocket.
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 5:08:30 PM EDT
Did your rifle have a flash supressor or a muzzle brake. Brakes, especially the mini-comp are hideous for directing noise back toward the shooter.
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 5:13:42 PM EDT
The last IDF spec slings I bought had pockets for ear plugs sewn into the inner layer. Very handy... I keep a 20" HBAR with a plain muzzle that doesn't make me deaf. The rest I use plugs or hear ringing for two or three days.
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 6:32:58 PM EDT
When I was in, we did not use any hearing protection at all. Your ears did ring the first few days, but stopped ringing after that. Headaches were frequent, at least for me. My hearing didnt get back to a normal state until we went back to home base, and that took a few days.
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 7:21:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/22/2003 7:22:12 PM EDT by CJan_NH]
Have you considered a pair of electronic muffs for hunting? [img]http://www.aearo.com/pics/Com_avgr2.jpg[/img] [url=http://www.aearo.com/html/products/peltor/comtac.htm]ComTac link[/url] My ComTac muffs were one of the best investments I've ever made. They magnify background noise and eliminate blast noise. They are very comfortable and light too [:)]
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 7:31:34 PM EDT
Originally Posted By CJan_NH: Have you considered a pair of electronic muffs for hunting? [url]http://www.aearo.com/pics/Com_avgr2.jpg[/url] [url=http://www.aearo.com/html/products/peltor/comtac.htm]ComTac link[/url] My ComTac muffs were one of the best investments I've ever made. They magnify background noise and eliminate blast noise. They are very comfortable and light too [:)]
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My AR has a plain barrel. No comp or brake. Trust me, though my hearing has returned, I'm now really looking at the Walker's Game Ear. Muffs tend to get in my way when I'm using my AR. I just really wondered what combat soldiers used if anything. I'm surprised someing like the game ear isn't standard issue. If you used standard ear plugs how would you hear orders during fire fights? Hand signals????
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 7:43:57 PM EDT
I just really wondered what combat soldiers used if anything.
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I seem to remember seeing a documentary once that showed GIs wearing some sort of the electronic muff like the one I posted. The GI versions were fitted with a mic boom for radio communication. Supposedly the version I have will fit under a standard kevlar helmet, but since I don't own a kevlar helmet I've never tried it [:)] I can't remember if the documentary was on a mainstream combat unit, or a special forces unit, or what-nor do I remember if they were just being used during training. Maybe FreeFallE6 will pop in-I'd like to know the answer myself.
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 7:52:42 PM EDT
Whenever I think of all the soldiers shooting right next to each other in battle (like, for example, the battle of Ia Drang in 1965), with 7.62x51mm machine guns going off left and right, and your buddies's M16s shooting right next to you, with no ear protection, I get shivers all over my body. Every time I hear somebody at the range shooting a .308 at, say, 10yds away from me, I wonder how the hell soldiers coped with that. In BlackHawk down, it is mentioned that one of the Delta soldiers (the same sargeant that bitched about the inefectiveness of the 5.56x45 out the CAR-15) had to remove an ear plug to talk to his buddies. So, apparently, at least Delta operators seem to wear hearing protection in battle conditions. I don't know about regular infantry, however. I hope they do!
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 9:14:24 PM EDT
In Viet Nam we didn't use hearing protection. I expect after a short time the hearing loss kicked in and it didn't matter. Loudest thing I ever heard was when I fired a LAW from my shoulder. I couldn't hear out of that ear for 3 days. Thought I was permanently deaf in that ear but at the time I couldn't do much about it. Most hearing came back. The second loudest, which surprised me, was coming down on a hot LZ. The door gunner opened up with his 60 and I had to grab my ears. It felt like someone was pushing a knife through them. I might of had a cold or something, but that noise was killer. I was glad to get off that bird for a lot of reasons.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 12:48:26 AM EDT
From almost my first day in the Army I was issued earplugs that came in a little green case that hung from my pocket button. That was in '96. There are two different brands of earplugs, both of which I have bought at Wally World. One is blue, one is tan. I'm sorry I can't recall the brand name. They come in a little plastic case and they have an insert that automatically kicks in for a split second at a loud noise like a gun shot and then shut off. They don't take batteries or anything like that, and they cost about 6 or 7 bucks. They have a very low NRR, I think 3 or 6 decibels, but the literature that comes with them explains why the rating is so low, and how they actually provide much more protection than that. They block out some noise constantly when they are in, but nothing at all like the regular earplugs that have a rating or 25-30 decibels. FWIW it seems to me that the blue ones are softer and more comfortable, but that is just my opinion.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 4:38:47 AM EDT
You don't really wear hearing protections, except on specific events like raids. You cannot wear them for extended periods of time because you don't know when your going to make contact. The comm gear you wear only covers one ear, the PRR covers the right ear, it is effective at blocking allot of noise on that side.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 4:47:58 AM EDT
I talked with some Vietnam vets and they said conditions permiting they would use filters from thier cigarettes.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 5:04:02 AM EDT
Anytime a loud noise such as a gunshot causes a ringing in your ears you loose a part of your hearing that will NEVER return. In combat you do as you have to do but there is no reason for shooting without hearing protection on the range.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 8:50:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/23/2003 8:50:38 AM EDT by Ridge]
I use the Peltor tactical 6s electronic earplugs which are very nice, but they do have their drawbacks. They are very slim too and I cannot fit them under a kevlar. The Aearo Combat Arms earplugs sound interesting too. I wonder if they work? [img]http://us.st3.yimg.com/store5.yimg.com/I/botach_1768_97117516?SSImageQuality=Full[/img] Info. [url]http://store.yahoo.com/botach/aearcomarear.html[/url] This is just info I'm not recommending buying them from botach [;)]. Might be a nice combination to have an Aearo in one ear and a Walker game in in the other.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 10:00:02 AM EDT
Ridge I used on of those in my left ear and the PRR on right ear for raids, it did help when firing inside of buildings
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 10:13:11 AM EDT
Only at the range and occasionally in training exercises, but rarely used in combat. The sense of hearing, especially while scouting or patrolling is essential in combat, not quite as important as sight but definetly up there. Hearing loss, (of a more permanent nature) can be an issue that creeps up well after the damaging exposure occured. That was how the military explained it to me during my final physical exam.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 1:45:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/23/2003 4:14:16 PM EDT by DaPhotoGuy]
Originally Posted By cornbread2: Anytime a loud noise such as a gunshot causes a ringing in your ears you loose a part of your hearing that will NEVER return. In combat you do as you have to do but there is no reason for shooting without hearing protection on the range.
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I agree with always using protection at the range. It was combat (and maybe hunting) that I was curious what most people use. You have to hear what is going on around you in BOTH (combat and hunting) situations.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 3:13:22 PM EDT
HUH WHAT?
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 3:16:36 PM EDT
Originally Posted By 3rdtk: HUH WHAT?
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Agree, alway was more interest on hearing what I could than worried about what I could'nt hear.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 8:08:07 PM EDT
Well great... After reading this post, I ran to the indoor 100 yd range today and thought to myself "it's not that loud with the foam inserts, I'll loosen them up a bit and fire a shot. Not bad... I'll try it without the plug. NOT GOOD! [shock] [>(] After hearing how loud it really is, I may start doubling up with soam inserts and headphones, as well. Anyway, what I learned is... Hats off to all combat vets who have put up with that as "part of the job." [hail2] Don't anyone ever post anything about how jumping off cliffs with your AR-15 isn't too bad, either. [stick]
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 8:47:51 PM EDT
i always used my issue plugs and didnt put them all of the way in.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 9:01:50 PM EDT
Get the Comtacs. Its the closest thing we can get to the perfect set up for hearing protection and still hearing everything around us. I have heard of a guy using the Walker Game Ear (Swat Ear actually) and those are super expensive and he lost several as theyt can come out and fall off during highly active situations. The Comtacs wont get in the way. They are very low profile and the small amount of interferance they can cause is nothing compared to the benfits. The integrated boom mic can be added on seperately or you can get the whole deal set up as the Liberator with boom mic and connect to military radio as well as a waterproof push to talk. I dont have experience with the Liberator or the coms hooked to a Comtac but the Comtac is the best headset you can get as a civilian for recreational use.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 9:50:47 PM EDT
I think I still prefer the Pro-Ears. Mine are slimmer, offer 21dB protection (2 more than the Comtac), and I am not sure about the Comtac but the Pro-ears never shut off, they compress the sound so one can always hear. Do the Comtac's do that? The water resistance and communications capability are nice, but I don't need that at the range.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 10:01:25 PM EDT
Yes they compress and dont shut off.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 11:18:05 PM EDT
Well then, in that case...
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 12:42:38 AM EDT
What do troops who are walking beside a HMVVEE in a convoy do when there is a quick engagement with the Ma Deuce right next to them? Bleed from the ears?
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 3:28:02 AM EDT
A 50 cal shooting near you won't cause your ears to bleed. You won't be able to hear for days. but your ears won't bleed.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 4:27:09 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/24/2003 4:35:14 AM EDT by DaPhotoGuy]
Originally Posted By DevL: Get the Comtacs. Its the closest thing we can get to the perfect set up for hearing protection and still hearing everything around us. I have heard of a guy using the Walker Game Ear (Swat Ear actually) and those are super expensive and he lost several as theyt can come out and fall off during highly active situations. The Comtacs wont get in the way. They are very low profile and the small amount of interferance they can cause is nothing compared to the benfits. The integrated boom mic can be added on seperately or you can get the whole deal set up as the Liberator with boom mic and connect to military radio as well as a waterproof push to talk. I dont have experience with the Liberator or the coms hooked to a Comtac but the Comtac is the best headset you can get as a civilian for recreational use.
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How long is the battery life on these? Could a guy in combat walk around with these on all day? They would have to be on all the time as you never know when a fire fight may happen and you DON'T want to waste time putting hearing protection on. Comtac = $259.95 Walker Game/Target/Tactical Ear ranges from $172.95 - $489.95 depending on the model you get. I find it hard to believe that the game ear would come off and out of your ear any easier than a pair of muffs unless the spring tension on the muffs is strong enough to give you a headache.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 5:27:17 AM EDT
I don't think that in combat soldiers deal with it at all, they simply lose their hearing. Talk to anybody who has been in combat and they will tell you that they have permanent hearing loss. It has always seemed strange to me that with all the money we spend on DoD that there does not seem to be any effort to develop effective hearing protection for the grunt that will still enable him to hear well and localize a sound. The trouble with muff type devices is that the sound is not natural and you can sometimes get wierd effects like hearing a sound that is 180 deg off. Also they are hot in the summer and not terribly effective if you break the seal with your stock, not so much a problem at the range but in combat you sometimes shoot from odd positions. I haven't tried game ears but can imagine that wearing them full time in a hot environment could be uncomfortable at best and asking for an ear infection at worst.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 5:38:03 AM EDT
Originally Posted By curt: Also they are hot in the summer and not terribly effective if you break the seal with your stock, not so much a problem at the range but in combat you sometimes shoot from odd positions.
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Exactly. I used my range muffs once at a three gun match. Kept breaking the seal with the stock.
I haven't tried game ears but can imagine that wearing them full time in a hot environment could be uncomfortable at best and asking for an ear infection at worst.
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Interesting point. Never though of it but you might be right. Testing would have to be done of course to evaluate your theory.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 7:33:32 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Leisure_Shoot: After hearing how loud it really is, I may start doubling up with soam inserts and headphones, as well.
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"Doubling" your hearing protectors does not multiply the sound suppression. Sound suppression will only be what the higher rated protection offers.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 7:50:51 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Leisure_Shoot: Well great... After reading this post, I ran to the indoor 100 yd range today and thought to myself "it's not that loud with the foam inserts, I'll loosen them up a bit and fire a shot. Not bad... I'll try it without the plug. NOT GOOD! [shock] [>(] After hearing how loud it really is, I may start doubling up with soam inserts and headphones, as well. Anyway, what I learned is... Hats off to all combat vets who have put up with that as "part of the job." [hail2] Don't anyone ever post anything about how jumping off cliffs with your AR-15 isn't too bad, either. [stick]
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An indoor range would be significantly louder than shooting outside like I experienced. It would however reflect the kinds of levels experienced by soldiers shooting indoor while clearing buildings. OUCH!
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 8:41:10 AM EDT
Originally Posted By DevL: Get the Comtacs. Its the closest thing we can get to the perfect set up for hearing protection and still hearing everything around us. I have heard of a guy using the Walker Game Ear (Swat Ear actually) and those are super expensive and he lost several as theyt can come out and fall off during highly active situations. The Comtacs wont get in the way. They are very low profile and the small amount of interferance they can cause is nothing compared to the benfits. The integrated boom mic can be added on seperately or you can get the whole deal set up as the Liberator with boom mic and connect to military radio as well as a waterproof push to talk. I dont have experience with the Liberator or the coms hooked to a Comtac but the Comtac is the best headset you can get as a civilian for recreational use.
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My review of the ComTacs: [url]http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=19&t=162118&w=myTopicPop[/url]
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 8:56:23 AM EDT
I'm used to wearing hearing protection eight hours a day, so I don't have problems hearing other people talk when I have them in. I can seat plugs partially and manipulate my jaw to vary the attenuation. Try it :) I am also paranoid about my hearing, since constant, daily, noise will dull your ears in a sneaky fashion. Gunfire will leave you saying for months, "I shouldn't have done that." But when the noise is constant (continuous wave, or CW), you don't have a specific event to avoid or regret. Just plug-and-muff and hope. I'd think the cost-effective thing would be 20-25dB dry-cans supressors on every small-arm, save maybe pistols, from 5.56 to 12.7mm. With modern suppressor tech, they can be made for less than $100-- but the tax is rediculous. The only buddy I have who is in the Army doesn't care about his hearing in combat. He'll wear protection on the range, but will mock me for doubling up. He said they were issued tan plastic reusable earplugs, but few people wear them in firefights. Mostly in choppers, if they can tolerate the vibration of the plugs in their ears. Damn kids and their rock concerts. ;)
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 9:08:39 AM EDT
The problem with using suppressors in combat is the blowback you get with them. If soldiers cant clean their weapons correctly now, God save us all, if they get suppressors issued to them.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 10:47:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/24/2003 10:48:11 AM EDT by blikbok]
Good point. :( I remember using a whole can of Breakfree on a MP5SD, but I wonder how much of that was the barrel porting?
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 11:28:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/24/2003 11:29:46 AM EDT by DaPhotoGuy]
Originally Posted By Austrian:
Originally Posted By DevL: Get the Comtacs. Its the closest thing we can get to the perfect set up for hearing protection and still hearing everything around us. I have heard of a guy using the Walker Game Ear (Swat Ear actually) and those are super expensive and he lost several as theyt can come out and fall off during highly active situations. The Comtacs wont get in the way. They are very low profile and the small amount of interferance they can cause is nothing compared to the benfits. The integrated boom mic can be added on seperately or you can get the whole deal set up as the Liberator with boom mic and connect to military radio as well as a waterproof push to talk. I dont have experience with the Liberator or the coms hooked to a Comtac but the Comtac is the best headset you can get as a civilian for recreational use.
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My review of the ComTacs: [url]http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=19&t=162118&w=myTopicPop[/url]
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Interesting that in your review you state that the ComTacs do not interfere with your cheek weld. I have a flat top AR15 with EoTech. When I use my muffs that look like this (but green). . . [img]http://www.aosafety.com/diy/images/90560.gif[/img] . . . they interfere with my cheek weld. They push against the stock and break the seal of the muffs so they don't work. These are much smaller muffs than the ComTac. In the ear hearing protection is the only thing I can use with my AR.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 8:44:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/24/2003 8:50:47 PM EDT by AK_Mike]
Originally Posted By notack: "Doubling" your hearing protectors does not multiply the sound suppression. Sound suppression will only be what the higher rated protection offers.
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Yes and no. It won't "double" it, but it certainly will add more protection. However, one cannot just add the two noise suppression ratings together because decibels are not linear, they are logarithmic. You can hear the addition easily, just put in some plugs and listen to a noise source, then add your muffs and listen again and you will easily be able to tell that you have increased your hearing protection. But again, if you have plugs rated at say 26 and muffs at 19, together they do not give you 45dB protection, it doesn't work like that, but it still combines to give you more. Sometimes, that is what it takes, it's what I have to do when shooting .50BMG. Something else. Yes, it's important to hear your surroundings in combat, but it wouldn't be good to not try to protect your hearing. After the first round of combat, without any protection, you are going to be wondering around later somewhat deaf with ringing which makes it hard to hear the surroundings that are so critical. You just can't always protect yourself due to timing and unexpected exposure, but you can try to minimize it. SWAT members have come out of buildings with bleeding ears after discharging unsuppressed .223 inside buildings during CQB. Since they know they are about to possibly engage, they can use protection either on their ears, or more likely using firearm suppressors or moderators so they can maintain unobstructed hearing but not kill their ears.
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 10:21:20 AM EDT
AK-Mike: That's one of the good reasons to use hearing protection in training, and one of the reasons I wear it whenever noise may be above 65 dB sustained: with or with out it, my hearing will be reduced, but with it, I can take the plugs out and hear normally again. :)
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