Warning for hunters who don’t wear ear protection

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) — Audiologists are sending out a warning tonight to area hunters, saying they’re risking hearing loss if hunting without ear protection.

Some hunters say they hear the warning, but likely won’t change the way they hunt.

Jeff Lohmeier is one of them. We caught up with the Green Bay man while sighting in his rifle at the Brown County Rifle Range. He won’t be wearing ear protection during the gun deer hunt.

“I’ve been doing this all my life so if my hearing’s going to go I’m guessing it’s probably going to have gone already,” says Lohmeier.

Hunters say ear protection makes it almost impossible to hear deer approaching, and plugging their ears may cause them to miss their prize.

“It’s a personal preference – some guys might, but it might take away from the hunting experience as well,” says Brown County Park Ranger Jason Petrella.

Prevea Audiologist Megan McMahon says it doesn’t take much to hurt your ears.

“The gunshot’s going to be at a level that’s 140 decibels which is essentially like standing next to a jet engine,” which McMahon says can cause instantaneous permanent hearing loss.

Some hunters feel the warning is overblown saying they aren’t shooting enough to cause damage.

“If I were shooting multiple times like here at the range, then yes I’d wear them, but hopefully it only takes one shot in the woods,” says Dan Bernetzke of Sobieski.

“[Noise] that high, you can cause some permanent hearing loss just that one time,” says McMahon.

McMahon says the short term may bring a prized buck, but if hunters aren’t careful and don’t use hearing protection, they’ll have to pay a few thousand bucks to pay for hearing aids.