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Pro opinion on gun shots hearing loss

I was a range coach on parris island recruit depot for 6 mos. teaching the m1  rifle qualifications daily from 7a.m. To 4p..m. Listening to thousands of rounds of 30 cal bullets daily. We had only cotton to put in our ears.i never noticed that I was gradually losing my hearing until around 40 yrs ago.now I have sensineural hearing loss both ears with the right ear (within 3 feet of the recruit firing his weapon constant all day.). Having severe hearing loss below the chart line, the left is the same but also some clicking noises now and then especially at sleep time. I am being fitted for 2 hearing aides. I claim the start and end to my hearing loss began with no adequate hearing protection. The cotton balls did nothing to block out the constant bang bang! Today a professional instructor wouldn't even allow anyone to even attempt to learn or teach without the new / old style earmuffs protectors, I would like to have opinions on the firing range  (no protection )hearing loss.
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Avatar universal
On Nov 1st I suddenly lost 85% of the hearing in my right ear (left is good). I was an MCRD Marine (still a Marine:) and spent 5 years as a Rifleman in the Marine Reserves, before going active duty Army (long story but it was the only way I could stay in Combat Arms, and it was still a good experience). I didn't suffer quite the intense loud noises than you describe from my military experience, but it's hard to be in the Infantry and not have your ears ringing for a few days at some point.

I know what you're saying though as you retrace and try to figure out what could have caused this problem. But that's why they often tag "idiopathic" to it because they don't know. My audiologist said that she recently had a 19 year girl suffering with the same problem SSHL in one ear, and except for maybe wearing headphones she's never been exposed to deafening sounds.

I guess a person can estimate all the times during their life when their ears were ringing the next day, and really all you can say is that it didn't help. I think it's an accumulation of all these episodes plus some sort of virus that causes the nerve to die. I'm getting an MRI and seeing an ENT tomorrow at the VA in Iron Mtn MI. Hopefully he'll have some news for me that is better having to wear CROS hearing aids.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the thoughts.I appreciate the comments and answer to my inquiry. I wish you luck in your career and audio testing.I just don't like nor accept the VA response of "oh no, couldn't have happened from gunfire"! well the corps trained me indiscipline and pursuit very well so I guess they VA will have to tolerate my pursuit. The colonel Ollie North said it best ' once a marine always a marine' so Semper Fi.   forever!
Hey, I believe that in your case it is most likely the trauma from all the gunfire you were exposed to that is a major cause of the problem your experiencing now. And though it would take a while and a little leg work you could successfully file a claim (if it was worth your time).

The MRI I had today came back clear. The ENT I saw was in his middle 60's so he has had his share of SSHL patients over the years, ranging all ages. He believes it's most likely caused by some virus that gets at the nerve and for some reason that is still very unclear affects some people and not others. Also unfortunately the treatment has not improved. On a bright note he did say that he's had patients that have regained their hearing within a year of onset.
Just to clarify even though it may be a virus that ultimately kills the nerve that causes SSHL, the original cause is that the nerve had been weakened (in man cases) through previous trauma, be it dangerously loud noise, infection, physical damage, etc. In my case I had suffered severe ear infections as a child in my right ear (requiring tonsils and adenoids to be removed), and all the noise trauma that caused my ears to ring (probably more loud music than anything else).

So even if you don't have to rely on the VA for medical treatment like I do, the VA can be a really good place if you make sure you're getting the treatment you need. A person really has to follow up because it's easy to fall through the cracks, but I've found out (the hard way) that there are plenty of medical professionals that will do the job you need them to do if your persistent (and polite:). Also it probably won't be that difficult for you to get a service connected disability claim for hearing loss.
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