According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, more than 28 million Americans have some form of hearing loss, and about one-third of it is caused by noise. Unfortunately, many concertgoers don't realize that the music they love is contributing to this statistic.
Loud rock shows are between 110 decibels and 120 decibels and can be as high as 140 in front of the speakers. The scary truth is that prolonged exposure to noise as low as 85 decibels can cause permanent damage to ears. If you check out a lot of live shows, then listen up. The following tips will help keep your ears in top shape.
Scope the scene: When you first check out the venue, take a peek to see where the speakers are. You might be tempted to creep your way up toward the stage to get as close as possible to the action, but the reason that area isn't as highly populated is because people are trying to protect their hearing. Farther back in the crowd is the better option, but if you're dead set on being close to the stage, then show up early to find a spot in the center.
Invest in earplugs: Many people think that wearing earplugs would hinder their ability to enjoy the show, when in fact it's quite the opposite. High-quality plugs block out nasty background noise and help you focus on the music. Don't worry if the investment in custom-fitted earplugs is out of your budget; ETY Plugs ($13) can help too. These reduce noise levels by approximately 20 decibels.
Go outside when possible: Since it's easier on your ears, check out live music outside. If you're in at small club or indoor venue, the sound doesn't have as far to travel. When you listen to your favorite band outdoors, the noise isn't highly concentrated, making it way easier on your ears. With music-festival season kicking off, seeing shows at outdoor venues is a more viable option than ever!