Are you a music lover? If so, then you’ll probably agree that there are few greater feelings than the excitement that builds up as you wait for your favourite band to start playing at a live venue; the anticipation as you hope for your favourite song to be played; the amazement felt at a drum or guitar solo -- or a particularly acrobatic dance move, depending on your preferred genre!
Live music can be an unparalleled experience, but it also brings some cause for concern when it comes to your hearing.
Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common types of hearing loss. It can be caused by exposure to loud noise over time or, in extreme cases, by one-off but exceedingly loud sounds. Nevertheless, what constitutes “exceedingly loud sounds” might surprise you.
Exposure to noise at 85 decibels or above, over time, can lead to noise-induced hearing loss. Decibel levels at an average gig, however, can easily reach 110 decibels. Nightclubs clock in just under at 100 decibels.
Australian initiative ‘Know Your Noise’ suggests that a person can listen to a pop or rock concert reaching 103 decibels for about 7.5 minutes without hearing protection before damage will occur to your hearing health. For this reason, attending just one gig can actually cause permanent damage to your ears.
When was the last time that you went to a gig without protecting your ears? How long did you rock out? With statistics like those, your hearing health is certainly worth considering next time you’re headed out for some live music!
In addition to noise-induced hearing loss, exposure to loud noise may trigger a more serious condition known as hyperacusis. The specific cause of hyperacusis is unknown, but it is commonly associated with hearing loss and tinnitus. Although this condition can vary significantly, it is demarcated by an extreme sensitivity to everyday noises. The impact on day-to-day life can range from minor annoyance to debilitating.
Nevertheless, you don’t have to forgo all music experiences if you’re worried about your hearing health, but there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the risk and prevent hearing loss when you’re watching a live band.
If you’re headed to a gig soon, it is recommended that you take some extra precautions to look out for your hearing health.
Noise levels can reach up to 140 decibels right in front of the speakers. When you first arrive, check out the venue and find a good spot to stand that doesn’t put your ears right in the frontline. In addition, investing in some decent ear plugs is a definite must. It’s also a good idea to take some breaks. If you can leave the venue, step outside and give your ears a chance to relax!
In terms of things to watch out for after the gig is over, a common side effect of temporary hearing damage is a ringing in the ears. Gemma Twitchin, a senior audiologist at Action on Hearing Loss told the Huffington Post that it’s “quite common to experience your hearing sounding dull and you will also more than likely experience tinnitus after being exposed to loud noise”.
Tinnitus can be described as a ringing in the ears. Although it often dissipates after time away from loud noises such as live concerts, it can become a more frequent annoyance for those experiencing hearing loss.
If you’ve recently been to a live music event and are concerned about your hearing health, or want to discuss hearing protection and prevention further, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team members.
If you’re a parent (or a grandparent!), you may also be wondering about protecting children’s ears. While ear defenders are widely available and certainly worth using, you may also be interested to learn more about a new trend -- Baby Raves.
Companies such as Big Fish Little Fish host events in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and use sound monitors to ensure decibel levels are safe for you and your children. Nevertheless, ear defenders are always a good idea for the little ones -- and ear plugs for yourself!
If you’re concerned about your hearing health, or you simply want to talk to someone about how to prevent hearing loss, contact one of our hearing instrument specialists today.
House of Hearing offers hearing care at five centres in Edinburgh, Galashiels, Perth, Morpeth, and St Andrews. Call us on 0131 220 1220 for more information.