Would you stand next to a jackhammer drilling into concrete for two or three hours? Or would you stand next to a jet engine making the same noise it makes at take off? Well, if you like live music and go to festivals or clubs then perhaps you should answer yes! Music at festivals has been recorded at 110 db, the same as a jackhammer. In clubs the noise has been recorded at 137 db, a jet taking off generates 140 db.
There is a very low awareness of the damage to hearing that loud music can cause. Campaigners go on to say that anyone’s hearing can be irreversibly damaged by loud music and ears cannot be hardened to the effects of loud noise. If you spend too much time exposed to loud music then permanent damage can occur. Loss of hearing and tinnitus are common outcomes. Any damage caused cannot be repaired, it is permanent.
A survey carried out in 2008 showed that 84% of festival go-ers had ringing in their ears and dullness in hearing after listening to loud music. The charity ‘Action on Hearing Loss’ says that this is the first sign of hearing loss. Perhaps normal hearing will return after a few days but with regular exposure to loud music, the damage will become permanent. Action on Hearing Loss further states that a good indication of whether the music is too loud is if you cannot hold a conversation with someone 2 metres away without shouting.
The simplest ways to protect your ears when listening to loud music is to wear earplugs, do not get too close to the speakers and do not remain in the loudest areas for too long. Action on Hearing Loss says that for too long earplugs have been the music industry’s best kept secret. The professionals have been using them for years! There are different types of earplugs, and the best ones effectively reduce the volume of the noise from reaching the ears. These specially designed plugs let all the sounds of the music reach your ears, just at a lower volume. If you do go to festivals then wear earplugs, keep away from the big speakers and spend some time in quieter areas.
If you do sense tinglings or hear buzzing you should give your ears a rest, or risk permanent damage. Be aware that you cannot harden your ears to noise. If you feel that your ears are hardened then you have probably damaged them already. The best option is to protect your ears because loss of hearing through exposure to loud music or noise will become permanent sooner or later.