If you love live music, you are sure to be thrilled about the return to public concerts and shows. When your favorite artist or band comes through town, you see them again and feel the thrill of a public performance. There’s something about a live performance that is wholly unlike listening to a record at home. The energy of the crowd and the charisma of the musicians can be enough to make your experience unforgettable. The French sociologist Émile Durkheim even coined a term for experiences like this: collective effervescence. When a group of people get together for a celebratory event like a concert, they can even be inspired to do things that they wouldn’t otherwise. When it comes to protecting your hearing, that experience of collective effervescence comes with an added risk. Though you might know that sound was too loud for you when you pass by a construction site or hear a siren passing down the street, the music at a concert can be just as dangerous. Let’s take a look at a few of the ways you can protect your hearing at a concert, enabling you to safely enjoy the return to live music.
The first step you can take to protect yourself at a concert is to limit the time of exposure to loud sound. Although you don’t want to miss any of the music at a concert, it is wise to give yourself breaks from the sound, if possible. Simply going outside for some fresh air or moving to a quieter part of the building are good ways to check in on the volume of the concert. When you return to the concert, you might find that the sound is overwhelmingly loud, cluing you in that further protection is necessary.
Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when the tiny, hairlike organelles of the inner ear, called stereocilia, become bent, broken, or otherwise damaged. This effect is permanent, and as more of these organelles are broken, hearing loss advances. This process occurs as a combination of volume and duration. When you are at a concert, you can withstand a certain decibel level of sound for a limited amount of time without damage. However, as that sound gets louder, the amount of time you can withstand it decreases. As a baseline, you can endure 85 decibels of sound for 8 hours without damage. However, each three decibels of volume reduces that time by half. As you can see, sound at 100 decibels can only be endured for 15 minutes without causing damage. Earplugs work by reducing the general decibel level of sound. Disposable foam earplugs tend to reduce that volume by somewhere around 10 decibels. That reduction can make the difference between incurring noise-induced hearing loss or not, depending on the length of the concert.
Customized Hearing Protection
These disposable earplugs can reduce the total decibel level of the concert, but they also make it more difficult to communicate with others. In some cases, they can make it difficult to hear your favorite features of the music, as well. Custom-fitted earplugs are devices that are molded to the shape of your outer ear. They allow certain frequencies of sound, while keeping out the others that are most dangerous. One of the benefits of custom-fitted earmolds is the ability to communicate with others. Many people find that the muffling effect of hearing protection is reduced or eliminated by these custom-fitted devices. If you are interested in this kind of hearing protection, don’t hesitate to contact our offices. We can help you get started on the path to more advanced hearing protection for use at concerts and other loud events. If you are a musician, these devices are a wise choice. Whether you practice with a band or play loud shows night after night, your hearing should be a top priority for your future as a music lover and performer. With the right protection in place, you can continue to hear and enjoy the music you love in live settings. A hearing test is also a wise choice to establish your baseline hearing ability, so don’t delay contacting our professionals to get started!