Whether you’re hoping to score tickets to Lollapalooza to catch Ariana Grande, planning on hitting up Austin City Limits to check out Paul McCartney or (fingers crossed) wanting to relive rock ‘n roll history at Woodstock 50, there is no shortage of music festivals to keep you entertained this year. If you are going to indulge in live music, be sure to protect your ears; concerts are notorious for causing hearing damage if you aren’t careful.
The Dangers of Concerts
Hearing loss is common in Lake Charles, affecting about one out of every five people. Many associate it with advancing age, but the top cause of hearing impairment is actually exposure to loud noise. Sound is measured in decibels (dB); anything over 85 dB – roughly equivalent to city traffic – is potentially hazardous to your hearing. Noise this loud damages the nerve cells in the inner ear that are responsible for hearing.
Safe exposure time depends on the volume. At 85 dB, hearing damage won’t occur for eight hours. It’s unlikely you’ll be stuck in a traffic jam that long! But at 110 dB – the average for a rock concert – irreversible hearing loss can occur in only two minutes.
Lake Charles residents hoping to enjoy outdoor concerts this summer should always carry earplugs when rockin’ out. If not, you’re at risk of experiencing tinnitus – a ringing sensation in the ears that frequently follows exposure to loud noise. If you’re a regular concertgoer and not as vigilant with hearing protection as you should be, you’ve probably experienced this before. The ringing usually disappears by the following day, but continued exposure to loud music over time can cause a permanent ringing in your ears. Tinnitus is also closely associated with hearing loss. Left untreated, these can cause anxiety, irritability and depression; interfere with sleep; lead to memory lapses and concentration difficulties; and even increase your risk of developing serious health complications.
Earplugs for the Win!
Considering the high cost that accompanies hearing loss, you shouldn’t balk over spending a little money on earplugs. You can find inexpensive foam plugs on most drugstores in Lake Charles and they will help, but for better protection, your audiologist can order custom earplugs made from impressions of your ear canals. They’re a little pricier but very effective at preventing long-term hearing damage when you wear them during concerts and other potentially hazardous summer activities. In addition to music, hearing hazards include attending sporting events at crowded venues; riding motorcycles, boats or jet skis and lighting off fireworks (please leave this to the professionals!). Even seemingly harmless activities like cutting the grass can hurt your ears.
For more information on protecting your hearing this summer, give your Lake Charles audiologist a call.