Summer music festivals great and small are about to be unleashed, but revellers should remember how important it is to protect their ears. In a survey of 2,711 festival-goers in 2008, 84pc said they experienced dullness of hearing or ringing in the ears after listening to loud music.
These are the first signs of hearing damage. The next morning or a couple of days later, your hearing may gradually return to normal, but over time, with continued exposure, there can be permanent damage. The risk of damage to hearing is based on how loud the music is and how long you listen to it for.
If you can’t talk to someone two metres away without shouting, the noise level could be damaging. The dangers to hearing are just as serious at an open-air music festival as they are in an indoor nightclub. Volumes of 137 decibels have been recorded near the stages at some music festivals.
At 140 decibels, which is the same as a jet plane taking off at close range, your ears start hurting. The advice is to wear earplugs for music, stand away from the speakers and take regular breaks from the loudest areas. DJs and musicians have been wearing earplugs for years, and many recommend them to fans. These earplugs are designed specifically for clubs and gigs and don’t muffle sound. There are different types of earplugs available, from the affordable and re-usable one-size-fits-all to custom moulds used by musicians and DJs. Most of them work by reducing the noise level that reaches your ear. This means you can still hear the music the way it is, but at a lower volume.
If you hear tingling or buzzing after listening to a set, give your ears a break. You risk more damage if you don’t.
Wear re-usable earplugs, stand well away from the enormous speakers and spend some downtime at the festival’s chill-out area.
Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit http://www.hiddenhearing.ie