Live performances can inspire, entertain and even reduce stress but, sadly, they can also damage your hearing. Whether you’re at a rock concert, opera performance, or a musical, the sound levels you’re exposed to can have a long-term impact on your hearing function.
To protect your hearing and ensure you’re able to enjoy concerts, gigs, and live performances, it’s vital to find the right ear protection. By using earplugs designed for concertgoers, you can continue to enjoy the thrill of seeing your favorite artists live, without worrying about the impact on your hearing.
How do earplugs work?
Earplugs are placed into the ear canal in order to prevent sounds from reaching your eardrum. To do this, they need to be placed appropriately, so that a seal is formed, and sound cannot ‘leak’ into the ear. Although earplugs can block out a significant amount of sound, they don’t prevent you from hearing anything at all, so you won’t miss out on the concert! Instead, they reduce the sound to a safe level and allow you to enjoy your surroundings without jeopardizing your hearing.
Are there different types of earplugs?
Yes. There are many different types of earplugs, such as foam, wax, and silicone plugs. These are created from different materials and are used slightly differently. With foam earplugs, for example, you need to roll the earplug to compress it, place it into the ear canal, and allow it to expand to fill the space. As you can imagine, it’s fairly difficult to ensure that a seal is created with these types of earplugs, which can limit the protection they offer.
In addition to this, you’ll find different styles of earplugs for various activities or environments. When you’re listening to live music, for example, you’ll want to experience the richness and vibrancy of the music while reducing the volume to a safe level. In contrast, when you’re hunting or hiking, you’ll need to be able to hear the whispers of your surroundings, while protecting your hearing from loud gunshots.
Furthermore, earplugs offer different levels of noise protection. When choosing ear protection, it’s important to pay attention to the noise reduction rating (NRR), as this will tell you how effective the product will be at reducing the volume of sounds.
However, calculating the level of protection offered by earplugs using the NRR can be tricky. Earplugs with an NRR of 30 decibels will reduce 100-decibel sounds to 88.5 decibels, for example, not 70, as you might expect. This is due to the complex formula issued by OSHA that’s used to determine what level of ear protection is required in noisy environments and another reason why it’s important to seek expert advice!
Are custom earplugs better?
Yes. Having custom earplugs created for you ensures greater comfort and effectiveness. Everyone’s ear canal is a slightly different shape, which means buying off-the-shelf earplugs isn’t the best way to protect your hearing. With custom earplugs, you can ensure that a reliable seal is formed to protect your eardrum and your hearing function.
What’s more – custom earplugs can be designed with a specific activity in mind. If you’re a regular concertgoer, for example, your audiologist can help you to choose earplugs to fit your needs and even factor in the genre of music you most enjoy! When a single concert can cause life-long hearing loss, it’s well worth taking the time to have custom earplugs made for you.
What level of ear protection do you need?
According to the CDC, noise can begin to damage your hearing when it reaches 70 decibels. If you’re exposed to noise at 80-85 decibels, damage can occur within around two hours. However, once sounds reach 110 decibels, damage can occur in two minutes or less. In fact, you could experience immediate hearing problems and ear pain if you’re exposed to loud noise that exceeds this level – this is something that so few people realize, but that is it so important to know!
Loud music concerts can easily reach 120 decibels, which highlights just how quickly they can cause long-term damage to your hearing. Due to this, it’s vital to talk to your audiologist about ear protection before attending your next gig or performance. By accessing bespoke advice and custom earplugs, you can ensure that you’re able to enjoy activities safely, without increasing the risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss.