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Your hearing: What are the costs of loud music?

Feb 19, 2019 | News

Something that has the possibility to affect anybody that either attends music events as an audience member, performer or even worker, is that of damage to your hearing. This can be easily prevented and is especially important if you are around high volume music a lot. I am going to be going through a few methods to keep yourself clear of any of the negative effects that can come from this.

One of the key risks with loud music is developing Tinnitus or in severe cases total or partial hearing loss. It is notable that a lot of artists and music lovers suffer from these issues, many stating their regret for not having looked after their hearing sooner.

 

Generally speaking, the level of db (decibel) that can be potentially harmful to the human ear is that of 85 or higher. A standard club event can range from anything between 85-115 db, 115 being the absolute upper limit of volume recommended for any given amount of time by experts. Big rock concerts and outdoor gigs have the potential of exceeding this however, with the loudest ever recorded gig performed by Swedish rock artist Sleazy Joe peaking at 143 db (Louder in db than standing next to a military jet taking off).

This can give an indication on how far past the recommended levels events can get, a good tip is to not assume that organisers or event planners will keep volume levels under safe guidelines and to be wary of that.

Soundsystems are a great way to experience music, but can be dangerous to our hearing

One of the most reliable ways to avoid exposure to dangerous levels of sound is that of using ear plugs at events. There are a few different kinds of plugs available to filter out unnecessary frequencies the first of which is foam plugs. Foam plugs are the most rudimentary form of ear plugs but do help, these are definitely recommended above no protection at all and can even be found given out by certain clubs for free if asked for.

When and where at all possible it is highly recommended to get more professional in-ear plugs or custom molded ear protection. These can be picked up for as little as £20 from somewhere like amazon, however if you do spend a lot of time around music either recreationally or professionally it is well worth paying that bit extra. These higher end plugs are usually around £100 but can last you potentially years so are a worthy long term investment. Therefore although foam earplugs do cut out some of the dangerous frequencies at live music events it can be seen that they do not cut all harmful frequencies. Thus it is thoroughly recommended to get in-ear plugs or custom molded ones where possible

Something that you can do aside from purchasing ear protection is how you go about music events in general. It is important to not stand directly in front of the main sound-systems. To protect your ears you can either stand further back or to the side so as to not have the music being blasted straight at you. Preferably if you have the option try and do both standing back and out of the direct path of the speakers to maximise ear safety.

Additionally it is key to try and take breaks so as to not be in a severely loud environment for hours at a time, this applies to more than just ears also as it is important to pace yourself and stay hydrated throughout any music festival or event. There is also proven links between duration of exposure to high db sounds and ear damage, so the higher the volume the more often it is necessary to take breaks.

At the end of the day it is vitally important to look after your ears, as they are something that are incredibly hard to repair once damaged. Only you can take precautionary measures to prevent this damage from happening.

  • Can develop issues such as Tinnitus and even in severe cases total or partial hearing loss. It is notable that a lot of artists already suffer from these issues many stating their regret for not having looked after their hearing sooner.
  • It is important to not stand directly in front of the main sound-systems, to protect your ears you can either stand further back or to the side so as to not have the music being blasted straight at you. Preferably if you have the option try and do both standing back and out of the direct path of the speakers to maximise ear safety.
  • Can pick up half decent ear plugs for as little as £20 from places like amazon, alternatively if you want to be extra careful you can get a pair custom molded that will last as long as you like. These usually are around £100 and are highly recommended for those frequenting music festivals and events or for musicians and DJs.
  • Although Foam earplugs do cut out some of the dangerous frequencies at live music events it can be seen that they do not cut all harmful frequencies. Thus it is thoroughly recommended to get in-ear plugs or custom molded ones where possible.

    • Try and take breaks so as to not be in a severely loud environment for hours at a time, this applies to more than just ears also as it is important to take breaks and stay hydrated throughout any music festival.

  • Don’t assume just because the organiser or sound technicians have set a certain volume level that it is a safe volume. Often, especially on smaller stages at music festivals (where it is possible to get a lot closer to the sound-system), they are far above the level necessary to damage your ears.
  • Generally clubs db level range from 85 up to 115 db with anything above 85 able to cause damage to your ears. Rock concerts have the potential to exceed 115 db, the absolute limit ear specialists recommend anyone to hear for any amount of time.
  • It is possible to listen to sounds above 85 db as long as breaks are taken, however the louder the music or audio, the shorter amount of time is recommended for an individual to listen to it. With anything above 115 db not being recommended for any amount of time.

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