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Volume Control: How to Safeguard Your Hearing and Enjoy Music Forever

Image via Dance Safe

We’ve all been there: reveling in post-show glory, still dripping sweat, and running high off the exhilarating experience that is live music. Unfortunately, and all too often, these end-of-the-night celebrations are also characterized by raspy throats, sore muscles, and most importantly—ringing ears.

As music lovers, getting swept away by the concert experience is in our nature. However, this pleasure carries with it the responsibility of taking care of ourselves, and making sure we remain healthy enough to enjoy live music for years to come.

Of particular concern is Noise induced hearing loss, which is becoming more prevalent in young adults as sound systems grow and music festivals last longer. Therefore, it is crucial for us to know exactly what we are putting our ears through when we attend a concert, and to remember the best ways to safeguard our hearing.

The Problem

A recent study found that 74.9% of young adults who expose themselves to “excessive noise levels” between 104 and 112 decibels report experiencing noise-induced tinnitus after being at a concert. The data shows that typically these effects were temporary. However, continued abuse of the sensitive parts of the ear can lead to permanent damage over time.

Especially for EDM fans, who expose themselves to volumes in excess of 120 decibels for upwards of 6 to 12 hours, there is a possibility of permanent tinnitus, oversensitivity to certain frequencies, and early aging of the inner ear. In fact, 18.3 percent of the individuals in the aforementioned study reported permanent tinnitus in one or both ears.

EDM Editorial Hearing loss decibel chart

We've all met elderly people in their 70s and 80s who have trouble hearing, but these high levels of noise are setting us up to experience the same symptoms in our 40s and 40s. Spending just 15 minutes at a concert without protection is enough to damage your ears, and once hearing is lost—there is no getting it back.

The Solution

So, what can we do to safeguard our hearing and still enjoy a night of bass heavy beats? The easiest and most effective solution is to invest in earplugs. Whether they’re the cheap foam version from your local drugstore or "Hi-Fi" sound reducers, which are designed to preserve music quality, any protection is better than none.

Earplugs can reduce noise by up to 33 decibels, and the better the earplugs, the better the protection. If you’re worried about how they’ll look, you can even find earplugs in various styles and colors to match your favorite festival fashions.

You can further save your ears by being conscious of your place in the crowd. Take a break from standing in front of the speakers and move around the venue. If you’re attending a winter festival like SnowGlobe, wearing earmuffs or hats to cover your ears will also help. Pairing this cold-weather gear with earplugs can reduce sound by another 10 to 15 decibels.

The Bottom Line

We are on the verge of a major hearing-loss epidemic, plain and simple. Without a fundamental change in our perception and usage of earplugs, the EDM community may not realize their mistakes until the damage is done.

Solving this problem starts with an individual decision, the choice to make an effort and safeguard your hearing. Once you've made that decision, wear it with pride, and your friends and fellow ravers will begin to catch on.

Trust us, wearing earplugs won’t reduce the bass you feel in your chest, and they’ll help expand your days as an EDM-lover and festival-goer. Keep some in your car or keep some in your purse, anywhere you won't forget them. Love your ears and they'll love you back!


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