Live Music and Hearing Loss
Repeatedly exposing your ears to noise louder than 85 decibels (dB) can cause noise-induced hearing loss. This is roughly the volume of city traffic. Live concerts can easily get as loud as 100-120 dB.
Chances are, if you have been to a concert without using earplugs or other hearing protection, you may have experienced one or more of the following:
- Temporary hearing loss
- Muffled hearing
- Full feeling in ears
- Ear pain
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
After enough exposure, these conditions can go from temporary to permanent. This is why using earplugs to protect your ears is so vital.
How to Protect Your Ears
You don’t have to skip out on seeing your favorite bands perform to protect your ears. Wearing earplugs has been shown to be an effective method of preventing hearing loss and other hearing-related symptoms when listening to live music.
A 2016 study tracked concertgoers in Amsterdam. Half were given earplugs to wear, and the other half were not. Researchers found that those who did not wear earplugs during the event experienced higher rates of temporary hearing loss and tinnitus than those who wore them. Specifically:
- 8% of participants who wore earplugs experienced temporary hearing loss, compared to 42% of those who didn’t.
- 12% of participants who wore earplugs experienced tinnitus, compared to 40% of those who didn’t.
There are several different earplug options. There are regular foam earplugs that you can find easily online or at your local pharmacy. These are cheap and effective at reducing noise-related hearing damage. However, they work by muffling sound, which might not be ideal when you’re trying to listen to music.
A better option might be custom earplugs. While more expensive, they provide a much better music listening experience. Custom earplugs are:
- Built to fit the shape of your ears
- Provide maximum comfort
- Durable and made to be re-used.
They have the ability to lower the volume to a safe level without compromising the quality of the music. If you are a music lover, custom earplugs may be a worthy investment in your hearing health.
If you have additional questions or wish to make an appointment with a hearing expert, contact Arizona Hearing Specialists today.