William Frawley
Manager of Customer Relations, TETRA Hearing™

One pull of the trigger can change lives forever. As hunters and shooters, that aspect of gun safety is drilled into our heads even before we touch a firearm for the first time. Traditionally, this safety lesson is focused on the projectile leaving the barrel and proceeding in an unwanted direction. The safety lesson that is all too often ignored? The bang and muzzle blast of a single gunshot can permanently damage your hearing for the rest of your life.

How One Shot Permanently Damaged My Hearing

I experienced this firsthand a few years back on an Arkansas duck hunt. A group of birds surprised my group during the mid-morning lull, and no one was ready, including myself. As I turned to get my gun, it felt like someone punched the side of the head. A hunting partner had swung a little too far and shot way too close. A headache unlike any other – and a ringing I had never heard – hit me instantly.  A typically safe shot was rendered completely unsafe because I was not using any hearing protection. I now have permanent hearing loss prove it. It was not done maliciously or on purpose, but accidents never happen on purpose, and my buddy and I are regretful to this very day. Because of that split second, I now have 40% hearing loss in my left ear and a constant ringing (called Tinnitus) that never goes away.

During those younger and dumber days, I never considered wearing ear protection for one main reason: I couldn’t hear my call properly. Public land ducks are amongst the smartest, pickiest, and most educated animals you can chase – especially in the Southern states where they’ve earned a PhD in staying alive. If one little thing is off in your hide, decoys, or calling, it can make the difference between a barn burner and getting skunked. So not being able to hear the bark of my cutdown or the hum of the Daisy Cutter was never an option for me. I assume the risk of ear damage was the tradeoff for being able to blow like I wanted to.

I'm Committed to Protecting My Hearing

Ever since that fateful day in Arkansas, I’ve been committed to protecting my hearing, but finding a product I loved was difficult. I tried several brands of plugs and a few sets of electronic hearing protection, and none of them made it more than two hunts. For years, waterfowlers like myself have been forced to sacrifice the sounds of the hunt to protect our ears. Bulky muffs, foam plugs, or subpar electronic hearing protection just don’t make the cut. The problems with traditional hearing protection are very well known, which is why so few serious waterfowl hunters use any protection. The protection part is fine, but the hearing part is lousy. With your ears plugged, you can’t hear your call well, which means you can’t blow your call well. Add to that annoying wind noise and an uncomfortable fit – in  short, they make the hunt suck. Period. Until now.

TETRA has revolutionized how duck hunters view and use hearing protection with award-winning, industry-first electronic hearing devices made by duck hunters, for duck hunters. You don’t have to worry about the sound quality of your calling, hearing your hunting partners, or the annoying whoosh of the wind. Everything you need to hear comes in naturally with crystal clear sound quality, and the gun shot is brought down to a safe level, giving me zero excuses to hunt unprotected.

I read about TETRA Hearing and heard my doctor buddies and TETRA co-founders, David Gnewikow PhD and Bill Dickinson AuD, explain the science behind TETRA.  However, I’m very much a “see it to believe it” kind of person. In this case, hearing is believing. After putting in the Waterfowl AlphaShields and blowing my calls for the first time, I was utterly speechless. Everything sounded – and felt – like I had nothing in my ears. I’ve used them on every single duck hunt since.  From now on, my duck hunting number is zero. Zero sacrifice means zero excuses, because when using TETRA, I give up nothing and gain everything.

Know the Risks of Hunting With Unprotected Ears

Hearing protection needs to become a part of every waterfowl hunter’s essential gear. Your life can change permanently in a quick second, not to mention the repetitive, compounding damage that occurs from season after season of unprotected shooting. Trust me: I have the hearing loss to prove it.

Learn the risks associated with hunting with unprotected ears.