For many young people, there’s nothing more exciting than feeling music move through your body when attending a concert at Amalie Arena on Channelside Drive. However, attending or playing without proper protection can pose a risk to your hearing. We review the connection between concerts and hearing loss below.
How Do Loud Sounds Cause Damage?
The inner ear contains the cochlea, a fluid-filled organ lined with tiny hair cells called stereocilia. As sounds pass though the ears, the fluid moves the hair cells, which convert the vibrations into electrical impulses that travel via the auditory nerve to the brain to be interpreted as sound. Each cell is responsible for converting a different frequency.
When loud sounds pass through the ears, it can damage or destroy these hair cells. Once damaged, they do not regenerate, and the result is permanent sensorineural hearing loss.
How Loud Is Too Loud?
Any sound over 85 dB can cause permanent, irreversible damage to your hearing with enough exposure. While sounds at 85 dB – about the volume of passing highway traffic – can cause damage over eight hours or more, sounds at 100 dB – about the volume of the average concert – can cause damage in as little as 15 minutes!
Who Is Most Affected?
A 2020 study conducted by researchers at the University of Manchester, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Lancaster University and Macquarie University sought to investigate the effects of noise exposure among musicians and non-musicians.
Interestingly, they found that there weren’t any significant differences in the amount of noise exposure between musicians and non-musicians, likely because both participant groups had high levels of recreational noise exposure from regularly attending concerts and nightclubs.
However, they did find that, “Musicians showed significantly greater ABR [auditory brainwave response] wave I/V ratios than non-musicians and were also more likely to report experience of – and/or more severe – tinnitus, hyperacusis [sound sensitivity] and hearing in noise difficulties, irrespective of noise exposure.” In other words, musicians are at greater risk of noise-induced hearing loss than non-musicians, even with similar rates of noise exposure.
How Can I Protect My Ears?
While inexpensive foam earplugs from the drugstore would provide adequate protection during concerts, the experts at Kampsen Hearing can create custom-molded musician’s plugs for superior comfort, protection and music clarity.
For more information other tools such as musician monitors, or to schedule an appointment, call Kampsen Hearing today.