What if a cheap, simple, and safe method existed for preventing permanent hearing loss in tens of millions of Americans?
America’s doctors should be singing its praises and recommending it to their patients. American doctor organizations should be doing the same, as well as vigorously supporting the Hearing Protection Act (H.R. 367 and its companion bill S. 59) or the newly introduced Silencers Helping Us Save Hearing Act, or SHUSH (S. 1505 in the Senate and H.R. 3139 in the House). But they are doing neither. Why not?
The Hearing Protection Act would remove Al Capone-era federal restrictions on firearm silencers or suppressors. The Act’s repeal of the $200 transfer tax, the months-long wait, and the mountain of red tape would afford American hunters and sport shooters wider access to a safety device known to preserve hearing. SHUSH would go even further, defining suppressors as just another firearm safety accessory, which they are.
But the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, American College of Surgeons, and the American Academy of Pediatrics not only refuse to support doing away with the outdated restrictions. They won’t even promote the use of suppressors as a valuable public health solution.
Even the group representing ear doctors, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, has decided officially to refuse their support of both this hearing-saving tool and the legislation that would make it widely available to their patients.
As an ear specialist, I was consulted by innumerable people for noise-induced hearing loss — the kind caused by loud music, industrial machinery, and firearms. But I could offer no surgery or medicine. My best solution for them, to their frustration and mine, was to recommend hearing aids.
Although the American public is beginning to learn the science-based truth (disclosure — I am one of the authors of this white paper) about suppressors, much ignorance remains. Major media outlets…