It’s summer time! The kids are officially out of school and the sun is shining! It’s time for swimming at the beach and the pool, picnics at the park, and outdoor concerts in the evening. Outdoor concerts and festivals are the perfect opportunity to get outside, meet great people, and often hear great music.
Concerts can be loud, however: many times in excess of 100 decibels! Since hearing damage can occur at noise levels higher than 80 dB, it’s important to protect your hearing health. How can you do that while still enjoying summer festivities?
Young People and Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss has affected an estimated 1.1 billion young people world-wide. Young people are energetic and adventurous, and often attend venues such as night clubs, concerts, and sporting events, which usually include loud music or other noise.
Since studies have shown that just a short time exposed to loud music can cause hearing loss, it’s important to protect yourself before entering these environments.
Outdoor concert-goers were subjects of one 2015 Amsterdam study which attempted to measure the effects on hearing of wearing earplugs or not wearing them. 26 people went to the concert without earplugs, and 25 people wore them. The concert lasted 4.5 hours, then the two groups both had hearing tests to ascertain if any damage had occurred.
Of the 26 people who did not wear earplugs, temporary hearing loss was measured in 22 of them. This is contrasted with 4 people who showed any hearing damage of the 25 wearing earplugs. It has been found that recurrent instances of temporary hearing loss can lead to permanent hearing loss, so each instance can contribute to long-term damage.
What Can You Do?
This study shows that wearing ear plugs can help you prevent noise-induced hearing loss if you wear them during exposure to loud noises, like when you are at concerts, sporting events and other loud environments.
Though temporary hearing loss is not permanent, don’t forget that even repeated exposure can have long-term effects or create permanent damage. Hearing loss symptoms may include difficulty hearing quiet sounds or sounds being muffled. If you experience these sympotms, it’s best to visit your audiologist and have a hearing screening to determine the level of damage and if anything should be done.
The first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.