Listening to your favourite band or musician live is an amazing experience, and that’s why so many fans travel far and wide to concerts and festivals each year. But did you know that music concerts can result in various types of hearing loss?
If you have ever been to a music concert, it’s likely that after the event you have experienced ringing in your ears for the next day or two. This means you have probably suffered from noise-induced hearing loss.
While this ringing usually subsides over time, the damage can last even after your hearing returns to normal. If your ears are constantly exposed to loud music, then, over time, the damage will add up and become noticeable - possibly evening turning into tinnitus in which the ringing will become constant.
That doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your favourite musicians. With a few precautions you can enjoy attending a live concert, while protecting your hearing at the same time. Before we get into some hearing protection tips, let’s first take a look at noise-induced hearing loss.
What is noise-induced hearing loss?
Noise-induced hearing loss is the loss of hearing from loud sounds that damage the sensitive structure of the inner ear. While sometimes immediate, sounds such as loud music, horns honking, sirens, jackhammers and other loud noises will damage your hearing over time.
Tinnitus is also a sign of noise-induced hearing loss, and is usually caused by loud music, music concerts and headphones.
But how loud is too loud? Well, the point at which sound begins to damage hearing is 85 dB (decibels), and you shouldn’t listen to sounds over this volume for longer than 8 consecutive hours.
From 85 dB and louder, the exposure time before hearing damage can occur is cut in half. For example, permissible exposure to 88 dB would be four hours, 91 dB would be two hours and 94 dB would be one hour. If you are at the front of a concert, the sound is likely to be much louder than this.
How to protect your hearing while at a music concert
While avoiding concerts all together will ensure your hearing won’t get damaged from loud music (unless you are playing music too loud in your car or through your headphones), it also means you won’t be able to hear your favourite musicians live.
To help you take some precautions and protect yourself from hearing loss when at your next music concert or festival, York Hearing Clinic has created a few key tips:
Wear earplugs: Earplugs are one of the best ways to protect your hearing while at a music concert, and they are easy to use and affordable as well. By opting for musician-grade earplugs you’ll still be able to hear the music with the same quality, but they will reduce the intensity on your ears.
Take breaks: Listening to constant loud music is a sure way to develop hearing loss. However, by taking a five minute break every now and again to give your ears a rest, you will limit the damage being done to your ears.
Stay at the back: While you may want to stand at the front and catch your favourite drummer’s drumstick, the closer you are to the stage the louder the music will be and the more chance you have of damaging your hearing. By staying at the back you will be a safe distance from the speakers and won’t have to deal with tinnitus over the following couple of days.
Want to learn more about noise-induced hearing loss or want to talk about any hearing loss symptoms that you may be experiencing? Contact our team of hearing loss experts in Ontario, Canada today for more information.