Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: Protect Yourself With Moon Lvnding Earplugs
Article by: Jessica Duncan
Did you know it only takes 20 minutes of exposure to over 100 dBA to damage your hearing permanently? Most festivals play music well above 100 dBA for up to 12 hours. According to the CDC, “All it takes is a single exposure to excessive noise to cause permanent hearing loss.” If you have ever left a show with your ears ringing, you have experienced a sign of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss called Tinnitus. You are not alone! Roughly 10% of the US population experience some form of tinnitus.
So how does hearing damage happen? When sound waves enter your ear, the hair cells inside your cochlea (inner ear) send electrical signals to your brain. These hair cells are damaged by a lot of movement, the louder the sound, the more movement. It is important to note that there is no way to fix these hair cells once they are damaged. The amount of damage depends on how loud the sound is, how close you are to it, and how long you are exposed to it.
What can you do to protect your hearing? The best preventative measure is to wear earplugs. It is recommended to use reusable earplugs that reduce the sound by at least 20 dBA in order to bring the noise levels down to a range that is safer for an extended period of time. Foam earplugs are better than nothing, but they are intended to block all noise and are not optimal for listening to music. You should wear earplugs any time you attend a show or festival, but especially at smaller venues. If you have a pair already but tend to forget them, put them in your hydration pack or fanny pack the night before the event.
Luckily, most festivals have foam earplugs at either the medical tent or the merch booth in case you forget to bring your own. At Insomniac festivals, Ground Control members (the ones in the purple shirts) carry them to give out. Just stop one of them and ask for a pair. If health and safety groups like DanceSafe happen to be present, they will usually have pairs to hand out as well. Some venues will also have earplugs at the bar. Some people even bring a few extra pairs of foam earplugs to hand out to people in need.
If you need a solid pair of reusable earplugs, look no further! At Moon Lvnding we take your hearing seriously, so we just launched our own pair of high-fidelity earplugs. These earplugs reduce sounds by 23 dBA and come with a convenient carrying case. We are also donating 10% of each pair sold to the Children’s Hearing Institute, which helps children with hearing loss.
Another option to preserve hearing health is to distance yourself from the source by standing further away from the rail or moving out of the direct path of the speakers. Standing directly in front of the sub stack is the most detrimental for your hearing because it can cause your eardrum to tear. You can also give your ears a break by walking away from the stage to a quieter space or stepping outside if at an indoor venue. This can also help with listening fatigue, which can occur after prolonged exposure to an auditory stimulus. Remember to take your earplugs out when you are in a quiet space to give your ears a break!
If you fear you may have hearing damage, have your doctor do a hearing evaluation during your regular checkup or schedule an appointment with an Audiologist. They will perform a pure-tone hearing test, which projects sounds at different frequencies and loudness levels. Your responses will be logged on an audiogram to show if you have any hearing loss, which frequencies, and to what degree.
It is never too late to start wearing earplugs and save your hearing from further damage. The next time you go to a live event, remember to bring your earplugs so you can keep raving for many years to come.
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