say “huh?” a lot more than anyone in his mid-30s ought to. Even though I spent countless hours sitting next to an active runway, I suspect the real culprit wasn’t my time at that particular job. I was good about donning my eyes and ears at work, but neglected them completely when I was out in the field, hunting on my time. Here are 10 things you need to know about hunting with hearing protection—plus some of my recommendations for things to stuff into your canals or to cover your ears with—so your significant other doesn’t need to yell at you from across the dinner table. 1. Hearing Loss Occurs at 85 Decibels According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) begins at levels as low as 85 decibels. That means that sounds as innocuous as heavy traffic can affect your hearing. A typical gunshot is somewhere around 140-190 decibels, well above safe levels. And that's not indoors or under a roof at an outdoor range, environments that make gunshots significantly louder.