Hearing Protection With a Suppressor: Do you Need it?
Russ Chastain 01.05.21
(Image: Screenshot from Hearing Protection With a Suppressor video)
Suppressors, sometimes called silencers, can really take a lot of the noise out of shooting firearms. Some of them make the gun so quiet that the cycling of the action is much louder than the actual shot, but maybe you really do need to use hearing protection with a suppressor.
That’s the subject of a recent “Smyth Busters” video by Brownells. It’s a series of short videos designed to answer popular questions about firearms, and their answer to this question, as with many others, is, “It depends.”
If you just want a yes or no answer, lean towards “yes.” Because incremental hearing loss is still hearing loss!
I have never gone to the shooting range without hearing protection, and I use it even when others don’t, such as when shooting skeet. I have used ear plugs since my teens when I worked in a noisy metal-working shop, and I keep a pair of Howard Leight TrustFit Pod earplugs in my pocket and wear them any time I am around loud noises (not freebies; I purchased them myself because they work best for me). But I have fired hundreds, if not thousands, of rounds in the field without wearing any kind of hearing protection… and my hearing tells the tale.
Shooting with a suppressor will do much the same; although it’s not super loud a time or two, if you’re exposed to that noise repeatedly it will certainly add up to some hearing loss.
Hunting with a suppressed gun? No, you don’t really need to wear hearing protection, because you’re not likely to fire that many shots.
That’s about the long and short of it. I always find it hard to understand how some folks can stand to go without hearing protection, because loud noises actually cause me pain… but even with all my years of protecting my hearing, I have noticeable hearing loss just past age 50.
Bottom line: Protect your ears. And enjoy the video.