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Enjoy Summer Concerts but Protect Your Hearing

July 9th, 2012 by qcurrie

Newfoundlanders will have a variety of concert experiences to enjoy once again this summer and while they are creating lasting memories of good times and seeing their favorite artists in person, they are also creating lasting hearing damage.  I see it year after year, client’s reporting that their hearing was fine until they attended a concert.  They complain of ringing, buzzing, roaring or thumping in their ears for hours, days or months after or sometimes forever.  Whenever your ears ring or you’ve noticed a shift in your hearing after loud noise exposure, you’ve done permanent damage to your hearing.  The damage occurs without pain so you’re unaware of it at the time and it is never repaired.

So how do we get our yearly dose of music without eventually losing the ability to enjoy it?  Use hearing protection.  I know that it’s unpopular and inconvenient and maybe even un-cool, but it’s the only way that really works.  You can stay all day, be as close to the stage as you like and still be able to hear the grass grow the next day.  If you’ve made the mistake of overdoing it, give your ears lots of rest afterward to minimize the damage, at least 48hrs with no loud noise exposure.  If you’re bringing your children to the event be sure to protect their hearing as well and in the process, develop a lifelong habit that they’ll thank you for when they hit middle-age.

For true music lovers though, the muffled or plugged sound of standard foam earplugs may rob them of any enjoyment so I suggest “musician’s earplugs.”  They’re just as effective, are reusable, are reasonably cheap (<$50/pair) and can be found at most music supply shops.  They have a special filter that doesn’t muffle the high frequencies which in turn preserves the clarity of the instruments and vocals while still protecting your hearing.  Professional and amateur musicians will often have me make custom fit plugs for better comfort but the sound quality is the same.  I wear them to every concert and forget that they’re in, they sound that good.  Don’t sacrifice a lifetime of good hearing for one ear splitting concert but instead enjoy every concert for the rest of your life.

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