Think about standing in a crowd of friends, chatting excitedly, waiting with anticipation as the venue goes dark, the stage lights come up, and the first note of your favorite song electrifies your soul. It’s an exhilarating moment to behold. But imagine not being able to listen to live music at all anymore because you have hearing loss or tinnitus due to attending too many concerts without hearing protection. It’s something to think about before it happens.
Sorry... concerts are loud
Obviously concerts will be loud, but that doesn’t mean you have to destroy your hearing in the process of listening. The average concert is about 100 dB A or louder, depending upon the type of music and venue acoustics. The dB A, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), is a weighted scale that describes the relative loudness of sounds as perceived by the human ear with a correction for frequency. Fifteen minutes is the amount of time you can listen to 100 dB A or louder before it can cause damage to your auditory system. So, if you want to continue to enjoy music, protect your ears.
An affordable solution to the excessive noise is to wear disposable foam earplugs. You can still enjoy the music--just at a reasonable sound level. Nowadays you can get them right at the concert for a small amount of money. When inserted correctly, they deliver 22 to 32 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR), depending upon the specific brand. But most people complain that the music doesn’t sound as intense that way.
There is an answer to the complaint about earplugs destroying the intensity of the music. Get the best earplugs for listening. They are called musician plugs. It’s not that they provide more protection than regular earplugs, it is that they preserve music fidelity in the process of protecting your hearing. Standard earplugs have sound distortion, but musician plugs don’t.
Music is minimally affected as it goes through musician plugs into your ears. They are custom fit plugs and have filters inside that flatten the frequency response. There are three different filters designed by Starkey Hearing Technologies for music listening. They are: ones for singers or string music, which are 10 dB; ones for jazz, bars or stadiums, clubs, or acoustic music, which are 17 dB; and ones for heavy metal, very loud DJs, or rock concerts, which are 26 dB.
Whether it is the conventional type of hearing protection or the custom kind, select something. For clarity and comfort, the musician plugs are best. With musician plugs, you can choose based upon your music preference or get multiple filters and switch back and forth. Custom plugs naturally cost more, so purchase the over-the-counter ones if cost is a concern. In getting custom earplugs, contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids to get an ear impression for custom devices. You’ll be thankful you protected your hearing.