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No summer is complete without a few good summer festivals. Planning a family weekend at a music festival this month? We want you to have a blast without blasting your ears with too much noise, so here are a few tips on how to protect your hearing during summer festival season.
How Loud is Too Loud?
When you think of summer music festivals, you probably think of amazing food trucks, stinky toilets, and crazy outfits. You’re distracted by the kids and rivetted by watching your favorite artist perform. What you might not think about is how loud the music is, and what affect it’s having on your hearing. Whether you think about it or not, concerts are some of the loudest things you’ll ever be exposed to. They can be as loud as a jackhammer pounding concrete! After a few minutes or hours, this exposure will certainly lead to hearing loss or tinnitus, that annoying ringing or buzzing feeling in your ears. The World Health Organization is concerned by the rising number of concert goers, and the affects of noise on hearing. Nearly a billion teenagers and young adults risk hearing loss due to noisy events, and overuse of personal listening devices.
So how loud is too loud? If you wake up the next morning with a hoarse voice, a sore throat and neck, or temporary tinnitus, the music was far too loud. But you don’t have to wait for the next day to realize the music was too loud. If you have to shout to be heard by the person standing next to you, experience any kind of temporary hearing loss like muffled sounds, or feel pain in your ears, the music is far too loud and you need to protect your hearing.
Wear Hearing Protection
One of the best things you can do to protect your hearing is to wear hearing protection. This summer festival season, pick up a few pairs of foam ear plugs and toss them in your bag. If you find yourself somewhere loud, pop in a pair, and pass the extras around to your friends. If you have earbuds or headphones with a noise reduction feature, you can also wear these to protect your hearing.
Pick the Right Spot
Picking the right spot is a top priority at the start of every festival day. People jostle to get a spot near the front with a good view, or battle over areas with shade. Another thing to consider when picking a spot is how it will affect your hearing. Check out the speaker set up, and try put your chair down in the middle, or even towards the back, where the sound from the speakers won’t overpower you. Avoid sitting directly in front of speakers, or too far over to the side, as this will expose you to very dangerous noise levels.
Take a Break
If the music is very loud it’s important to take a break every now and then, and give your ears a chance to rest. Take a break between sets, when you’re changing stages, or once every hour. Go to the back, walk to a quiet part of the festival grounds, or even sit in your car for a couple minutes. Your ears will be thanking you, and you’ll be able to go back to the stage and have a good time without feeling discomfort or risking your hearing.
After the Festival
After the music festival, it’s likely that your ears will be tired and sensitive. For every hour of exposure to loud noises, you should give yourself several hours of quiet to allow your ears to rest. The day after the festival, plan to give yourself a hearing detox. Close the doors and windows, avoid turning on the radio or the TV, and choose a book instead. Have a day of quiet, and be good to your ears.
Visit Pacific Northwest Audiology
If you’ve been to a lot of festivals this summer, then schedule an appointment to visit us at Pacific Northwest Audiology. Whether you’ve been experiencing tinnitus or hearing loss, or are concerned about your hearing health, our team of hearing specialists are here to help. A thorough hearing assessment and consultation will put your mind at ease, and help you take control of your hearing health.