You’ve enjoyed an evening out at a concert or a nightclub. You leave the venue with a ringing in your ears and everything sounds muffled, leading you to shout or talk loudly to your companions – does this sound familiar?
This is a sign of temporary hearing damage, something that happens when with the tiny, essential sound-sensing hair cells in your ears are injured by loud sounds above 85 decibels.
Why some sounds are more damaging than others
The human ear can hear between zero and 140 decibels. Anything above that is too painful to listen to and we simply cannot hear sounds that occur below zero.
The human voice reaches around 60 decibels, a pleasant level for our ears and hearing. With clubs and gigs often reaching 110 decibels, it is easy to see how regular exposure to noisy settings can be detrimental to your hearing health.
Find out more about the different decibel levels of common sounds.
How can I protect my hearing and still go to loud music events?
It is not too late to protect your hearing. Preventing hearing damage to your ears caused by these noisy environments, while still having fun, can be easily achieved. If you are planning on going to live gigs as a family there are some simple steps you can take, ensuring you and your children will enjoy the music for years to come.
Here are our simple tips:
Move away from speakers
The closer you are to the source of a loud noise, the greater the risk of permanent hearing damage. Ensure you don’t stand directly in front of or near loud speakers or amplifiers. If this is unavoidable, perhaps you are surrounded by loud sound sources, ensure that you…
Take regular breaks
If you are planning on spending time in a very loud area, take regular breaks to rest your hearing. Action on Hearing Loss recommends using the chillout zones that some venues have, which are perfect for your ears to get some respite from the noise. If this is not available, consider taking breaks outside the venue.
Reusable earplugs are available that are designed to not muffle sounds for musicians and clubbers. These are an inexpensive solution for making the loud atmosphere at gigs and nightclubs safer for your ears without compromising your musical experience.
If you are attending a music festival, make sure you pack earplugs for yourself and ear defenders for your children – not only will they prevent hearing damage, they may help you get a good night’s sleep if you are camping!
Give yourself 18 hours recovery time
Your ears will need time to recover after exposure to a loud environment such as a gig or a nightclub. Allow your hearing at least 18 hours to return to normal, or make sure you have earplugs if you have to be exposed to a noisy atmosphere on a more regular basis.
What to do next
More and more DJs and musicians are getting smarter about their hearing and it is important that their audience are aware of their need to protect their hearing too.
Just by taking a few practical steps you can ensure that you can continue to enjoy the live music you love, safely for years to come. You will find lots of reviews of earplugs and ear defenders online, to suit your needs and your budget.
If you are noticing changes in the quality of your hearing this may be a warning sign that you need to get it professionally tested. You can read more about hearing testing here.