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Protect your hearing

Noise-induced hearing loss happens because excessive noise damages some of the hearing mechanisms in the inner ear. Loud sounds begin their journey from some source — like a gun, an explosion, or music from super-powerful loudspeakers — traveling through the air, then the ear where they begin to wreak havoc.

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Protect your hearing and rock on this summer

Did you know this August marks the 50th anniversary of Woodstock? The music festival was a defining event for an entire generation of Americans. Now those original concert goers are in their 60s and 70s and likely feeling the effects of exposure to loud rock music. 

Over time, exposure to noise levels above 85 decibels (dB) can contribute to hearing loss. The “Woodstock generation” is uniquely vulnerable given the volume at which they enjoyed their music. For instance, The Who, one of the most famed bands to play at Woodstock in 1969, had performances register at a record-breaking 126 dB! 

These blaring tunes don’t just impact the concert goers. Musicians who performed at Woodstock are also experiencing hearing loss. Rockers Stephen Stills and David Crosby of Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Roger Daltrey of The Who all report that decades of playing loud music have left them with hearing loss.

Hearing loss can affect anyone. With summer concert season upon us, it’s important to understand why noise-induced hearing loss happens and how to prevent it.

 

3 simple tips to protect your hearing during concerts and other loud events: 

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    Keep a safe distance from loud speakers

    While it’s exciting to be at the front of the stage, you also end up right next to the speakers. Typically the middle or back sections of a venue are the best listening locations. Move to a different spot if you feel the music is at an uncomfortable volume.

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    Wear earplugs or noise reduction headphones

    Disposable foam earplugs are inexpensive and can be found at most drugstores. Bring a pair for you and your friends to safely enjoy your favorite musicians.

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    Give your ears a rest

    All-day music festivals like Woodstock are fun, but exposure to loud music for a sustained period of time can leave you with a headache and feeling extra tired. For even just five minutes at a time, step away from the noisy environment and give your ears the break they need.

When does noise become dangerous? 

As a rule of thumb, the following situations put you in the danger zone:

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    If you have to shout over background noise to make yourself heard

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    If the noise hurts your ears or makes them ring

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    If you find it difficult to hear for several hours after hearing the noise

What damages our hearing is the intensity and duration of the sound. Sound is measured in decibels (dB), where 0 is the faintest sound the human ear can detect and 180 would be the noise a rocket would make as it launches into space. In our daily lives, normal conversation would be at the 60 dB level, a lawn mower would be at 90 dB, a chain saw at 100 dB, a loud rock concert would be at 115 dB and a jet engine would be at 140 dB. Many experts believe that continued exposure to more than 85 decibels is asking for trouble. The longer you are exposed to a loud noise and the closer you are to it, the higher the risk is of damage.

 

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Noise damage at an early age

Noise induced hearing loss isn’t just reserved for adults. Recent studies show an alarming increase in this condition in teenagers. Evidence suggests that loud rock music — plus music blasted directly into the ears via earphones may be the primary culprits here. In extreme cases noise damage can lead to a ringing sound in the ears, called tinnitus. This condition is caused by damage to the hearing nerve and it often becomes permanent. Many people in their fifties, who grew up with rock and roll, are feeling the effects of either noise induced hearing loss or tinnitus today. Fortunately, hearing aids are becoming more effective at addressing their special needs, and scientists may hopefully one day find some super-effective means by which to combat tinnitus.

What can you do to protect your hearing?

Many individuals who experience hearing loss can blame it on loud noise exposure. Luckily, noise-induced hearing loss is preventable. Here are some ways you can protect your hearing in loud situations.

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    Avoid noisy environments

    It might be obvious, but one of the best ways to prevent noise-induced hearing loss is to steer clear of events and places you know will be louder than normal. Environments with noise that exceeds 85 dB can put your hearing health at risk. If you cannot avoid such locations, be sure to wear ear protectors whether it’s disposable earplugs or heavy-duty, full-ear mufflers.

     
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    Turn the volume down

    Reduce the impact of loud noises by lowering the volume of personal music devices, speakers, and TVs. When listening to music via headphones or earplugs, follow the 60/60 rule to protect your hearing. This guideline states that when listening to music with headphones, it should remain at 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes per day.

     
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    Wear protection

    Whether it’s earplugs or heavy-duty, full ear mufflers, you should wear them if you are working in an excessively noisy environment, including when using power tools, when hunting or when riding a motorcycle. Ear protectors are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and can even be custom made.  

     
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    Wear your hearing aids

    For individuals with hearing loss, there are solutions to help you enjoy and engage in noisy environments. Oticon hearing aids deliver a more natural, open sound experience that enables wearers to better navigate conversations and noises in loud situations.

     
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    Schedule your annual hearing check-up

    You get your eyes checked once a year, why not your ears? Learn more about our entire line of Oticon products and schedule your risk-free trial with a local hearing care professional today!

     
  • Get support

    Learn how to clean your hearing aid, change your batteries, replace domes and more

  • Check your hearing

    Think that you may have hearing loss?  Take the first step and complete this short evaluation

  • Ringing in your ears?

    What is tinnitus, why do some people get it, and what can be done to relieve symptoms?

  • Find a professional

    A hearing care professional can check your hearing and determine a treatment that is right for you