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5 Tips for Protecting Your Ears While Enjoying Music


November 10, 2015

If there’s one thing almost every human on the planet enjoys, it’s music. Whether it’s having headphones on while commuting to work, listening to music at your desk, or going to concerts, enjoying music is a constant part of our lives. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, more than 28 million Americans have some form of hearing loss and about one-third of it is caused by noise. If you regularly attend concerts or subject yourself to loud noises, hearing tests will help determine if you have suffered any hearing loss. In the meantime, here are 5 tips for protecting your ears while still enjoying music:
 
  1. Wear earplugs
You might not think they look cool or that they’ll hinder your ability to enjoy concerts, but investing in earplugs will block out background noise and help you focus on the music. Custom-fitting earplugs are preferable and an audiologist will administer proper hearing tests, but there are several affordable options like foam earplugs that will still help block decibels. Something is better than nothing when protecting your ears from loud noises.
 
  1. Invest in good headphones
They may be more expensive, but noise-cancelling headphones will block outside noises that are competing with what you are listening to and allow you to enjoy music at more reasonable volumes while hearing everything clearly. If you cannot afford $300 headphones, simply look for pairs that either cover your entire ear or ear buds that fit into your ear.
 
  1. Assess music venues
It may be tempting to watch a concert front and center, but make sure to take a peak at where the speakers are at both indoor and outdoor venues. Rock shows can be between 110 and 120 decibels and be as high as 140 in front of the speakers (U.S. National Library of Medicine). Exposure to noise as low as 85 decibels can cause permanent damage, so think about your hearing in the long term and take a step back. If you absolutely have to make your way up to the front, make sure to stick to the center as the speakers are often on the sides of the stage.
 
  1. Go outside whenever possible
There is nothing wrong with taking a break at shows in indoor venues. If you need to use the restroom or buy food or drinks at concerts, take a quick few minutes to step outside and let your ears rest. Try to enjoy outdoor concerts when possible as outdoor venues are in open spaces that are not concentrated with noise. You’ll often get the added bonus of enjoying the scenery, too!
 
  1. Turn it down
You might not be inclined to do so without thinking about it, but louder does mean better when it comes to music. In fact, the louder music is, the more likely it will be distorted. Music sounds clearer and is more enjoyable when it is played at lower levels that do not hurt your ears. Whether it is the volume on your iPod, TV volume, or car stereo, go easy on your ears and think about your hearing in the long term. Ask any rock musician, road manager, or anyone who has suffered hearing damage and they’ll agree!