Most of us here at ClearSounds look forward to summer for so many reasons—but the outdoor music festivals and concerts in and around Chicago are what really make our long, brutal winters worth the wait. As hearing specialists, we know we would be remiss to not blog about how we protect our own hearing from the damage that loud music could cause, especially this time of year.
As you know, prolonged and recurring exposure to loud music, and other sounds, causes hearing loss over time. Many famous musicians, including John Illsley from Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, and Phil Collins have all discussed their own hearing loss in recent years—brought on, of course, by decades of unprotected hearing during their own shows.
- So, how can you enjoy the all of the wonderful music festivals this summer while also protecting your hearing? Here are our tips…
- It’s a myth that if you wear ear protection, you will not experience the same music euphoria. In fact, ear protection does not distort any of the detail of the music at all. It simply makes it less loud, and therefore less damaging to your ears. Ear plugs are discrete and inexpensive (running between $15 and $50 a pair), easy to find at most pharmacies and grocery stores, and are even quite comfortable.
- When selecting your concert seats, avoid sitting next to the speakers. Many people assume that the loudest seats are in the first few rows, when in fact the seats nearest the speakers are the most dangerous for your ears.
- Whenever possible, enjoy outdoor venues for concerts instead of indoor venues. Indoor venues register higher decibel levels, so they are harder on your ears.
- Remember that it’s not only rock music that can be harmful to your ears. Even symphonies and musical plays can exceed 85 decibels! You can download an Android or iPhone app that can actually measure the decibel level in any room. If you get a reading of over 80 decibels, you might want to dig out the ear plugs!
- Remind teenagers to protect their hearing. Teens are particularly at risk for hearing loss because of prolonged iPod usage at volumes that are too loud. It’s important for them to take extra precautions, but you have to remind them—they all believe are invincible!
So, get out and enjoy the wonderful summer weather and your favorite festivals! And please share with us on Facebook any great concert experiences you have!