Hearing Protection can Protect you From Getting Permanent Hearing Loss
The Importance of Live Music and Hearing Protection!
As a high schooler, my friend group and I became into the music scene and very into live music. I’m talking about at least one concert a month plus and we loved to go to all-day musical festivals every summer. I used to think it was “cool” to walk out of the venue with ringing and static in my ears. If those issues persisted until the next day, then I knew I must have really had a fun night.
Fast forward to a decade later and while I’m still passionate about seeing live music, I’m also passionate about my hearing health and being able to continue to enjoy live music as long as I possibly can without the pain of tinnitus or the need for hearing aids. I guess I became aware of loud music being “bad” for you when my parents, who are babyboomers, started to not hear as well as they used to.
Now like I once was saying and now you are probably saying, “I’m only in my 20’s, why the heck should I worry about my ears?!”. And I’m here to tell you that if you don’t start protecting your ears now, there will come a day when you will not be able to enjoy live music as you do now. I know now what you are going to say, “I don’t want to look lame wearing hearing protection or earplugs and I definitely don’t want to miss out on the quality of live music”, right?. First of all, let’s normalize the importance of wearing hearing protection and the benefits of protecting your ears now. Second of all, in this day and age, the hearing protection market is loaded with high-fidelity options that are barely noticeable. I am going to talk to you about some of these options in this writing.
Beware of Loud Noise:
The important issue you must know is that even a one-time exposure to extremely loud noise, such as shooting a gun, can cause permanent damage. So think of all the times you’ve attended a concert or event that was loud, you may have left afterward and noticed that you weren’t hearing as well or that you had ringing in your ears. This may go away after a couple of hours or days, but the damage has still been done. Sort of like sun damage. Have you ever noticed people who have been in the sun a lot as youngsters? They have older-looking skin as older people than people who didn’t sit in the sun at younger ages. I digress but I also don’t sit in the sun much. 🙂
The damage can cause Hearing Loss:
In your inner ear lives your cochlea, which depends on tiny hair cells to detect and interpret sound. When these tiny hairs are exposed to loud sounds they can become damaged and die. Once these hair cells die, they cannot re-grow and are gone forever, which over time can cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Although it might not be something you recognize right away, a hearing loss caused by noise exposure can begin to affect your ability to understand speech, enjoy the different qualities or fidelity of music, participate in conversations, and your general social well-being.
Noise exposure can also result in tinnitus, or a ringing, buzzing, roaring, or static in the ears that only you can hear. This can be a very frustrating and annoying experience that may come and go randomly or stay with you the majority of the time. Like NIHL, tinnitus usually develops gradually and worsens over time.
The damage can cause tinnitus:
There is no cure for tinnitus or NIHL and the damage is irreversible, so prevention is key to long-term hearing health. Although a hearing aid can assist in speech reception and there are some therapies that can help ease the effects of tinnitus, the best thing you can do for yourself is protect your ears! Prevention everyone is key to noise-induced hearing loss. Even if you’ve been going to loud events throughout your life without any protection, it is never too late to start. And luckily for you, at Hears Hearing & Hearables we have plenty of options to choose from.
Here is a table to help you find what you need and like. Thanks for listening, Malia
|Etymonics ER20 Ear Plugs
● Reduces sound levels evenly, preserving speech and the richness of music
|● Must fit deeply in the ear canal for best protection which might bother some wearers
● Not recommended for impulse noise (i.e shooting a gun)
|Vibes High Fidelity Earplugs
● Filters sound rather than just canceling out noise
● Comes with multiple different-sized tips
|● The plastic shaft is short- some people complain of difficulty removing from ear
|Phonak Hearing Protection
|● Comes in multiple styles (Sleep, Work, Motorsports, Comfort, etc.)
● Filters sound rather than mutes it
● Has ventilation to let the ear breathe rather than retain excess moisture
|● More expensive than other high-fidelity options
● Music/Comfort versions have less noise reduction than other music-specific protection
● Suppresses noise
● Easy to find at most stores
● The foam expands to fit any ear
|● Difficult to clean and can only use a couple of times
● Have to wait for them to expand or else they might fall out
● Muffles and reduces sound- might not get the richness that high-fidelity options offer