Hunting provides a tricky situation, where people with hearing aids can find themselves stuck between wanting to hear all of the sounds of nature and their wild game while simultaneously needing to protect themselves from the painfully loud gunshot that goes along with the thrill of the hunt. Knowing when exactly making a hearing aid adjustment will be effective and safe is critical to having a great day in the field without compromising your hearing, so here are some tips for adjusting your hearing aids to get the most of your day afield.
Turn it Up (Usually)
Depending on the type of game you're hunting, you're going to want to turn up the volume on your hearing aids, more or less. For game like whitetail deer that are easily spooked, you can afford to increase your volume to the maximum setting that is comfortable for you. If you're hunting goose or quail, on the other hand, then keeping your hearing aid at your usual volume won't affect your ability to bag some feathered game. A moderate increase in volume should give you all of the extra sensitivity you need in order to hear every twig snap without the need for your hunting buddy to speak up too loudly so you can hear him or her.
Hearing Aids Can Be Hearing Protection
While many hunters may think that it's necessary to turn off your hearing aids before lining up your shot, this thinking actually isn't true. If your hearing aids provide a complete seal around your ear canal, then they can act as hearing protection even without turning down the volume. That's because a hearing aid has a maximum output that's built into its design, meaning it can't amplify sounds past a certain point. Since a gunshot typically ranges from 140 db to 170 db and a typical hearing aid can't amplify a sound past 120 db, there will be no added amplification of a gunshot by your hearing aid. However, be sure to check with your doctor to make sure that your hearing aids do form a complete seal so you don't need extra protection.
Wear Protection if Your Ears Aren't Already Sealed
If your hearing aids don't offer a complete seal to block other noises, then you're going to need more traditional hearing protection like earmuffs. However, this still doesn't mean that you'll have to remove or turn down your hearing aids when lining up a shot, but rather the earmuffs will do all the work for you without your hearing aids amplifying the sound, as stated earlier.