Looking after Your Hearing at Concerts and Festivals
Hearing loss is experienced by one in every six Australians. Most cases result from repeated and lengthy exposure to loud noises which could’ve been prevented with ear protection. With daily use of headphones and festivals that go for days, the danger of hearing loss in today’s world is greater than ever before.
Music lovers and concert goers have long understood the dangers of spending a few hours in front of large speakers, but the vast majority are still not taking the necessary measures to protect themselves by wearing earplugs.
How Loud is Too Loud?
An average concert, whether at a club or a festival, generates sound levels of around 100 dB to 120 dB. Sounds above 90 dB can cause permanent hearing damage after 30 minutes of exposure, while sounds above 110 dB can damage your ears in just 2 minutes.
It’s common to feel pain in your ears, ringing or temporary deafness, which usually go away after a while. But these are signs of serious damage to your hearing. With repeated loud concerts and constantly listening to a music device, the potential for hearing loss is very real.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to be in any physical pain or discomfort for permanent damage to be occurring. The damage can be subtle and unnoticeable until you suddenly notice a significant loss of hearing. This often occurs in middle age, when noise-induced hearing loss combines with the natural loss of hearing. By this stage, it’s too late.
Repeated exposure to loud music can also lead to a permanent ringing in the ears, something you are twice as likely to experience without using ear protection. At its worst, this condition can severely affect concentration, lead to sleep deprivation and cause extreme distress.
Common reasons for not wearing earplugs include discomfort, thinking it will reduce sound quality, self-consciousness about how they look and underestimating the risk of exposure. But in reality, ear protection technology has advanced to a point where these concerns are no longer an issue.
Audiologists can create custom earplugs fitted to the shape and size of your ear, allowing you to wear them all day without discomfort or irritation. These earplugs, used by most musicians, filter sounds rather than blocking them out. Most are made of a clear silicon material, allowing for a subtle, comfortable look.
By removing dangerous frequencies and evenly reducing the sound, you can actually enjoy the music more with a better-balanced tone. Custom earplugs can even be designed to protect against specific frequencies of your choosing.