Shooter’s Ear is a term that anyone who spends time at a gun store or shooting range will inevitably end up discussing, usually when being handed some type of hearing protection to use.


Shooter’s Ear is a general term referring to temporary or chronic hearing damage and associated symptoms such as ringing or hearing loss. Without using any specific medical terminology

Understanding the Effects: How Gunshots Impact Hearing

Firearms are very loud. In fact, most firearms create noise that is higher than 140 dB which studies have shown can permanently cause gunshot hearing loss. Hearing damage can be multiplied in indoor or enclosed areas due to sounds being able to bounce off of walls and structures.

Symptoms and Duration: Recognizing Shooter’s Ear

Ear Ringing

Medically referred to as tinnitus, is a chronic ear ringing in the ears which can affect the ability to hear. Usually occurs after exposure to loud sounds like gunshots with the duration of symptoms being temporary, long-term, or even permanent.

    Muffled Hearing

    Occurs when sound cannot travel through the ear efficiently, causing the volume of sounds to seem softer.

      Asymmetrical Hearing Loss

      This means there is a difference of 15 dB or more between both ears. Essentially, one ear is more damaged than the other. This can result for different reasons, but amongst shooters, it is believed that due to the way a long gun is shouldered, the strong side ear is protected more causing the weak side ear to be more exposed to damage from the report of the shooting.

        Prevention and Treatment: Protecting Your Ears at the Range

        There are several prevention strategies, the most apparent is the use of hearing protection whenever firearms are being used. Hearing protection at the range is considered essential and all ranges make wearing of hearing protection equipment mandatory. However, most ranges do not specify the type or protection level, and because of this, many new shooters unintentionally expose themselves to shooter’s ear due to ignorance of equipment and noise levels.


        Experienced firearms instructors will usually take time to explain and demonstrate different types of hearing protection and suggest that students new to firearms “double up”, meaning using a combination of hearing protection, like foam plugs with muffs. However, in the event of exposure, treatment for shooter’s ear can be practical (not being around loud noises for a period of time) or elaborate (surgery or hearing aids). Instructors recommend immediately reducing exposure and spending time in a quiet area away from loud noises as a quick, simple treatment.

        Axil’s Advanced Solutions for Shooter’s Ear

        Axil has specialized in shooter’s ear prevention and enhancing hearing for hunters and sportsmen for decades providing cutting-edge equipment and accessories. Axil’s advanced solutions include plugs and muffs with technologically advanced product features. Axil’s Trackr Blu for example, compresses loud sounds over 82 DB, while also providing sound enhancement and 5.0 Bluetooth capability. Low profile design and hands-free communication ensure that the protection stays in place and isn’t interrupted by body movement or adjustments. So whether hunting or competition shooting on an indoor or outdoor range, hearing can be improved without compromising ear protection. Being able to have a conversation, clearly follow instructions, or even know what type of firearm is being used in the stalls next to you cannot be overstated.

        Making the Right Choice: Selecting the Best Protection

        Choosing the right hearing protection comes down to knowing what you will be using them for and in which environment. The best protection choice can be subjective, however, Axil’s range of products provides hunters and sportsmen of any level of experience a suitable option.

        • A competitive shooter practicing on an outdoor range that requires being able to stay in touch with the office? Try the GS Extreme 2.0. Quality, high-tech protection with sportfit ear hooks to ensure a snug, comfortable hearing enhancement while maintaining your connectivity to work and family.
        • A hunter zeroing their rifle for the season? Check out the Trackr line from Axil that provides a durable, low-profile design friendly to ears and shoulders ensuring you don’t disturb your protection while aiming and shooting.
        • Feral hog hunting on foot? Enhance your hearing with a simple touch while being able to custom fit whichever level of protection you prefer with the Axil XCOR. You can also rock out while target shooting to your preferred music and not skip a beat if the wife calls reminding you to pick up milk on your way home.

        Ultimately, the best hearing protection will end up being a variety of different types because it will be based on what you are using them for. The scenarios above and everything in between will have you putting multiple options of protection in your range bag. Most guides and professionals will carry a few different options as well as additional sets and pairs just in case. It’s always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

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