Concerts can be extremely fun and exhilarating experiences. However, loud music played at high volumes can also damage your hearing if you're not careful. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sounds above 70 dB can harm your hearing over a prolonged time and noise above 120 dB can cause instant harm to hearing. Most concerts exceed 100 or even 120 decibels, which can instantly affect your hearing. Fortunately, there are ways you can enjoy concerts while also protecting your ears from permanent damage. Here are 5 tips:
Wear Ear Plugs for Concerts
The most important thing you can protect your ears during concerts is wear earplugs for concerts. Unlike ordinary foam earplugs that muffle all sounds, music earplugs lower dangerous decibel levels while preserving sound quality.
Look for earplugs that incorporate filters to evenly attenuate noise across frequencies. This allows you to hear everything clearly, just at safer volumes. High fidelity music earplugs are great options with attenuation filters of 16-19 decibels.
Make sure to properly insert the earplugs so they seal your ear canal. Follow the directions to compress the plug, insert it deeply, and hold it until it expands. Well-fitted earplugs are comfortable and nearly invisible when worn. With the right pair, you'll enjoy the concert even more without worrying about your hearing.
Take Regular Breaks
Giving your ears periodic rest during a concert is wise. After being exposed to high decibels for around 30 minutes, take a 15-20 minute break in a quieter area. Grab some water, use the restroom, or just chat with your friends in a spot away from speakers.
Let your ears recover and "air out" before returning for the next set. Rotating between active listening and quiet breaks prevents sound energy from continuously accumulating in your ear canal. Your ears will thank you.
If taking a break isn't possible, try blocking your ears with your fingers periodically. Just cover your ears firmly with your palms for about a minute to provide some relief.
Limit Concert Attendance
One key way to preserve your hearing is to limit how many concerts you attend each year and how often you attend festivals with prolonged exposure. It may be fun to go to shows every weekend, but the accumulating damage can seriously degrade your hearing over time.
Experts recommend wearing earplugs no more than 3-4 times per year during loud activities. Or limit unprotected exposure to no more than 30 total hours yearly. The higher the volume and the longer you listen, the higher your risk.
Be selective in the concerts you choose to attend without protection. And consider seeing fewer shows in a year if you want to keep your hearing intact.
Stand Back From the Stage
Where you position yourself during a concert also affects your noise exposure. Sound levels are highest right in front of the speakers where decibels can exceed 120. Even just taking a few steps back can lower volumes by 5-10 decibels.
On the main floor, stay at least 10-15 feet from the stage or move off to the sides where speakers point away from you. For stadium concerts or festivals, sit further back in seats instead of crowding by the stage. Moving away from the audio sources substantially decreases the intensity of hitting your ears.
If you still feel discomfort from volumes, move even further away or take a break. Protecting your ears is more important than being close to the action.
Go on a Noise Diet
To give your ears a break, go on a "noise diet" where you avoid loud noises and limit headphone use for some time after a concert.
Spend a few days in quieter environments without blasting music through speakers or earbuds. Skip noisy construction sites, sporting events, and other activities that fatigued your ears at the show. Keep volumes low even while talking on the phone or watching TV.
You can supplement with white noise or nature sounds played at a moderate volume to mask irritating environmental noise. But beware constantly drowning out your surroundings with apps or devices.
This 48-72 hour noise detox gives the tiny hair cells in your inner ear time to bounce back from concert trauma. You may be surprised how much more sensitive your hearing becomes after a short noise fast. Periodic noise diets reduce your risk of permanent hearing loss.
Preserve Your Hearing for Future Concerts
Concerts create memories that last a lifetime. But loud music can permanently rob you of your hearing if you aren't cautious. By wearing proper ear protection and limiting unprotected exposure, you can enjoy your favorite bands for years while also keeping your ears healthy. Prioritize your hearing now so you can continue experiencing the magic of live music.