Hearing and Eyewear Safety Tip

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

While out shooting prairie dogs this weekend, I realized that my usual stash of ear plugs in my backpack was depleted. I was in desperate need of finding some hearing protection.

I tried several things. For one, I took out a piece of paper from my wallet and crinkled it until it became soft like cotton, then I twisted it up and jammed it into my ears. This was less than effective and uncomfortable, so I looked for an alternative.

I tried several things but with no real luck. I even thought about using mud, no joke. It occured to me that a practical way to further utilize the crooked horn lens cloths I have fastened to my bino harness would be to take two small foam earplugs and stuff them in the pack of the neoprene pouch and then stuff the lens cloth back in to hold them inside. This is a lightweight and fool proof backup for me, since it's hard to separate me from any of my optics.

Another challenge I faced was a brutal wind which was constantly blowing dust and vegetation pieces into my eyes while lying in the prone position. For this I had no practical solution in the field. I thought of something that if I was carrying them, would have worked or at least helped, Such as making a mask out of a cheap cotton bandana... or carrying sunglasses.

The winds did cause some minor pain in my eyes from the dust and grit, and I would have found my time spent outdoors more enjoyable if I had been properly prepared.


Amazing allocation! Your post

Amazing allocation! Your post is really so great for me. I face this kind of problem when I was in the forest for hunting. I hope your post will really so helpful for me and other visitors. I will keep your hearing and eyewear tips for my own. Thanks.


Ariel Milo


Retired2hunt's picture

  ndemiter - great tips that


ndemiter - great tips that are often forgotten or just taken for granted. 

Groovy Mike - now that's using your head... errr rather that's using your spent ammo!

Like many others I too have taken my hearing for granted - years ago.  Not so much anymore.  Once at the range and having not taken any hearing protection I found myself shooting next to a guy with a 300 mag with a muzzlebreak.  After he took a couple shots and my ears were ringing I had to find ear protection.  I had a knife so I simply cut off some fabric from my cotton socks and stuffed it into my ears.  It worked but the socks were history.

I now pack ear protection into my gear for that just in case moment.  I can always find a pair of ear plugs in one of my pack pockets.  I normally still don't use any protection on a big game hunt as hearing is as important as seeing.

Thanks for your tips.


ManOfTheFall's picture

Thanks for the tip. I don't

Thanks for the tip. I don't do much shooting anymore because I strictly bowhunt now. Occasionally if I feel like it I will take the shotgun on a turkey hunt here or there but that's it. I do have a rifle I like to take out every few years and do some target shooting with. I will try and remember this the next time I take out the rifle.

arrowflipper's picture


I agree that it's extremely important to protect our ears and eyes while shooting.  I have an 80% loss of hearing in my right ear due to lots and lots of shooting when young.  And that shooting was without any type of hearing protection.  I just wish I had been smart enough to use protection a lot sooner than I did.  I might have better hearing today.

Unfortunately, the only time I use ear protection is when at the range or just practicing.  In my hunting environment, I don't use anything.  But then I haven't been prairie dog hunting either.  With my poor hearing, I do everything I can to enhance my hearing rather than dull it.  I even bought a set of Action Ear aids to help me hear.  But they proved too big to wear in the field.  I then bought a set of smaller action ear plugs and enjoyed them other than the fact that they were hard to keep in my ear.

I wouldn't go to the range today without a good set of shooting muffs.  You can't protect your ears too much. 

I also wear a set of shooting glasses when at the range.  I wear glasses all the time but have switched to contacts while hunting.  A person can not do too much to protect his/her hearing and eyesight.  Thanks for a good reminder.


groovy mike's picture

I DO recommend that you make every effort to protect your ears!

Sunglasses are a must for me too.   I don’t see well enough to effectively hunt without glasses any more so sunglasses are more or less always with me.   Improvised hearing protection is less than ideal of course but much better than none at all.  Here are a couple of options that I have pressed into service that while less than ideal, proved effective enough to prevent ringing in my ears and thus I know saved my hearing from damage (which is something that is ALWAYS worth doing – even if you look silly doing it). 


You can break the filters off filtered cigarrettes and use them as ear plugs.  Yes, it looks silly, but it does work.  Even sillier but really even more effective was what I discovered at the shooting range last week.  I was firing my 9mm carbine which doesn’t have much noise and I only planned to fire a few shots so I had neglected (stupidly) to bring ear protection along to the range.  It turned out that there were other shooters at the range and I didn’t want to waste the trip, so I used the first thing that came to mind to protect my ears.  And it worked remarkably well.  Can you guess? 


If you guessed 9mm FMJ cartridges you were right.  Those smooth round copper clad projectiles and the 9mm brass cases were the perfect size to rest snugly in my ears  and save my hearing.  No I don’t recommend that you throw away your real earplugs and replace them with live ammo, but I DO recommend that you make every effort to protect your hearing because like your sight – once it is gone – it is gone forever so it requires constant attention for preservation.




hunter25's picture

Sounds like a good lesson

Sounds like a good lesson learned the hard way and innovation to make sure it does not happen again. I probably have a hundred pair of the foam earplugs stuck in every pocket of my truck and every pack as I went thriught he same thing myself to learn the sane lesson. In an earlier tip of mine I mentioned the earplugs that some sporting goods stores and also construction supply stores sell that go around your neck on a plastic band and are not even noticed until you need them. Because of these my whole family now uses ear plugs even while deer hunting and if there is time will pull them up before the shot. Protect your hearing now or you will regret it later like I do now. As for the second tip I never go anywhere without sunglasses anymore as My eyes are just too sensitive to be without and I don't think you shouls ever be shooting with some sort of glasses anyway.