As we age, our ability to hear tends to deteriorate over time. A little hearing loss caused by age is normal, but every day we expose ourselves to situations that could potentially damage our hearing long-term. Even normal things like washing machines and trains can, with prolonged exposure, damage your hearing — so now might be the time to invest in a good pair of earplugs.
Earplugs are a simple but important tool to help protect against noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). They can be a total lifesaver, especially if you know you’re going to need them ahead of time, like when you’re headed to a concert.
How loud can concerts get?
The answer is seriously loud. Sound is measured in decibels — for example, a whisper sits at about 30 decibels, a lawn mower is about 90 decibels, and live music can get up to a whopping 100 to 115 decibels.
Could that really damage my hearing?
Definitely. Hearing damage can occur from prolonged or repeated exposure to any sound above 85 decibels. If you attend multiple live gigs in a year without wearing earplugs to protect your ears, you could really be doing some damage — especially when you consider all the incidental loud noises we are exposed to during our daily lives (lawnmowers, hairdryers and more).
If you need to raise your voice above a noise to be heard, that noise is probably at or above 85 decibels.
What earplugs should I use?
There are many different earplugs on the market. Foam earplugs are usually very cheap and readily available at your local chemist. These affordable and easy to use earplugs are effective at blocking around 29 decibels of sound. These earplugs are not intended for longterm use, but they are a great option for attending a concert or protecting yourself against other loud noises.
If you are in an industry where you are constantly exposed to sounds above 85 decibels, you might want to invest in some higher quality earplugs. There are earplugs specifically for sleeping, earplugs for musicians, and over-ear earmuffs which you might prefer as an alternative.
Once a person’s hearing is damaged, it won’t recover. Take care of your ears now to ensure you don’t suffer unnecessary hearing loss.