According to a recent EDM.com poll, 64% of live event attendees don't wear ear protection at live shows.
Ear protection during live events may be a bit of a burden since you won't hear the sound as it's truly intended. But as live events return bigger and louder than ever, it's important to protect your hearing as you dance under the stars and strobes.
The CDC has outlined what the thresholds are before hearing damage occurs. According to their chart, 105-110dB is the maximum volume level for personal listening devices and is usually the range for most entertainment venues. Exposure to this loudness level can cause hearing damage in less than five minutes. For further reference, normal conversation is roughly 60dB.
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The loudest concert ever recorded was by Led Zeppelin on their North American "Heartbreaker" tour in 1969. The volume level often reached 130dB, which was loud enough to cause immediate hearing loss.
Two years ago, scientists from the University of Arizona announced that they were working to develop a cure for tinnitus, a ringing in your ears caused by extended exposure to loud sounds.
In order to prevent hearing loss or damage, the CDC recommends a few things:
- Move or stay far away from the loudest sound-producing source—such as loudspeakers or cannons at college stadiums—especially if attending with children.
- Limit the length of time of exposure to loud sounds.
- Pay attention to signs and information flyers warning of possible loud noise and the use of hearing protection.
- Bring hearing protection devices with you. Keep them in your car, pockets, or other easy to access place.
Hearing protection such as earbuds are certainly something you'll want to add to your festival or live event checklist.