If you like to spend your weekends taking in live music at Republic Icehouse you might want to think about investing in some earplugs. Though it may seem counterintuitive to bring earplugs to concerts, doing so can help protect your ears from damage while still letting you enjoy the music you love.
What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
Exposure to loud noise is one of the more common causes of hearing loss. Repeated exposure to noise above 85 decibels (dB) can cause noise-induced hearing loss. The louder the sound, the less time it takes to damage your hearing.
For reference, the volume of normal conversations is 60 dB, city traffic 80-85 dB, and sporting events 100 dB.
Rock concerts can easily get to 100-120 dB. This is why musicians are more prone to hearing loss, and why you may experience issues after attending a show, such as:
- Tinnitus (ringing in ears)
- Ear pain
- Temporary hearing loss
Loud noises can damage the hair cells of the inner ear. Once these cells are damaged, it is permanent. Enough damage to the hair cells will lead to hearing loss.
How Earplugs Help
A 2016 study examined the effectiveness of earplugs in preventing temporary hearing loss caused by exposure to loud music. Researchers took 51 adults and randomly assigned 25 people to wear earplugs with a noise reduction rate of 18 dB during an outdoor concert while the remaining 26 concertgoers did not. The study found that:
- Only 8% of participants who wore earplugs experienced temporary hearing loss, compared to 42% of those who didn’t.
- 12% of participants who wore ear plugs experienced tinnitus, compared to 40% of those who didn’t.
There are a variety of different earplugs available and the kind you choose will depend on your habits and preferences.
- Standard earplugs. You can easily find these online or at your local drugstore, hardware store or sporting goods store. They are made of foam, come in different sizes and are very affordable.
- Pre-molded earplugs. These are made from plastic or silicone. Some have filters to reduce the muffling affect that foam earplugs can create, which may make them a more preferable option for listening to live music.
- Custom musician’s earplugs. High-fidelity musician’s plugs reduce all sounds evenly while maintaining quality, so that music and speech are as close to the original as possible.
For more questions about how to protect your ears while listening to live music or to schedule an appointment, contact the experts at SoundLogic today.