There’s only a few weeks left of summer, but with Memorial Day weekend ahead, many of us will be heading outdoors to festivals and concerts, exposing our ears to dangerous levels of noise. You’ve heard it from us before; over 31 million Americans have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from loud noise exposure, known in the audiology world as Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). The good news is that by simply taking a few steps of precaution hearing loss can be prevented. Before you hit the big shows this weekend (our personal favorite, Bumbershoot), make sure you take a moment to read our summer concert listening tips!
- Outdoors is the way to go! Not only are outdoor concerts fun, they are actually easier on the ears than their indoor counterparts. The sounds are able to travel further and are not intensely concentrated in the walls of the room.
- Seat selection is important. Choose a seat where you can see the performers and comfortably hear the music, but aren’t close to the speakers. This tip is good for both indoor and outdoor venues. A good tips: if you have to shout to the person next to you, you may be too close!
- Plug em’ up!Before you make your way to the venue, invest in some disposable (or even better custom molded) earplugs. Disposable foam plugs are inexpensive and can be purchased at your local drug store. By placing the plugs in your ear you’ll reduce the damage by at least 30 dB. You’ll want that extra protection, especially during rock concerts that can easily reach 115dB (that’s the same level as a chain saw playing in your ear…yuck!). You can also purchase ear muffs to wear at concerts – these are especially good for young children.
- Just because your in a professional venue, it doesn’t mean the sound is being monitored. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) regulations set safe sound limits in the workplace, however there is no monitoring of these sounds in concert venues. In the workplace if levels reach higher than 85 dB OSHA requires employers to provide their employees with protective hearing equipment. If that doesn’t make you think twice about bringing protection to your next concert, I don’t know what will!
- Limit your exposure. If you know your headed to a concert at night, make sure to keep your MP3 player off during the day. Hearing damage is not just the sound level, it is also the amount of time exposed to the sounds.
By using a few (or all) of these tips, you’ll significantly reduce your chances of obtaining a noise induced hearing loss. If you have any questions about your hearing, or the hearing protection that would be best for you, feel free to contact us – we’re always excited to help teach others how to keep their hearing safe!
Read more in the Summer Concert article by Healthy Hearing.