It’s a sad and painful truth, but also one that we simply cannot keep quiet about. A lot of people don’t seem to realize that they’ve only got one pair of ears and consequently take their hearing for granted. Look, we get it. You think that wearing earplugs takes the heart and soul from the music. But even if that were so, do you know what spoils the party even more? Not being able to hear at all… And here’s how to prevent it.
When does hearing loss occur and how bad can it get?
It’s important that we start with the basics. There are tons of questions regarding what qualifies as ‘too loud’ and how long it would take for you to suffer irreparable damage. So that’s why we cooked up this little chart for you. Lo and behold.
The horrible thing about loud music is that its effects are only noticeable when it’s already too late to do anything about it. Judging by the chart, unprotected ears are subject to irreparable damage within 15 minutes of exposure at any average concert of festival. That’s how long it takes you to order a drink…
Think about it. You’re standing front row, screaming your lungs out in support of your favorite act(s) for hours on end. The life-sized speakers to your left and right are pulsating so hard it seems they’re about to explode and you can’t even hear your own voice despite the fact that your throat is already soar from screaming so outrageously loud. Although this may very well be your idea of fun, your ears won’t agree.
So what happens when loud music damages my ears?
Chances are you’ve already woken up to a loud, constant beep once or twice, probably after a wild night out. That’s the first symptom of hearing loss. Now we hear you saying that the beep didn’t last and usually only took a few hours to dissapear entirely. You are correct. The first symptom of permanent hearing loss is – indeed – temporary hearing loss. But don’t you dare think little of it. If you laugh away the temporary beep once too often, you’ll soon find yourself accompanied by that very same beep for the rest of your life, 24.7. What you’re left with is a high-pitched ringing that has been known to cause depression and even suicidal tendencies among those afflicted by it. What you’re left with is called ‘tinnitus’.
OK, OK, I get the message. But why would earplugs make any difference?
Earplugs filter out a lot of the raw sounds that makes loud music so detrimental to your hearing, mainly the mid-range and high-range frequencies. Alpine, for instance, worked with us to produce the Alpine Partyplug Armada Edition, which cuts around 19dB overall. This means that loud music between 90 and 100 dB (the average at festivals and dance events) gets reduced to 71 to 81 dB, which is completely safe for extended listening sessions.
But still, I don’t want earplugs to spoil the music.
We know you don’t want earplugs to spoil the music, but we’re not living life in medieval times, are we? Today’s earplugs aren’t manufactured by cramming clay, cotton or wax into our ears. Instead, technology has come a long way since the first moldable, pure silicone ear plugs in 1962. Nowadays, you’ve got a wealth of earplugs to choose from, each with their own set of qualities and perks. Most of the earplugs are designed in a way that keeps sound from becoming distorted or imbalanced, so the music shouldn’t get spoiled in any way whatsoever. Also, don’t be an idiot. Feel free to read the third paragraph again. Did we mention irreparable damage?
Do, by all means, keep enjoying music in a way that seems right to you. But, as with pretty much everything in life, safety should come first. You might not want a constant beep to be the last thing you’ll ever hear.