When summer heats up, concerts are the cool place to be (especially when they sell ice water and have spray fans).
Whether you make a road trip to Woodstock, sit in the nosebleed section at The Hollywood Bowl, or relax at your small town’s weekly concert in the park series, if you’re anything like us you’ll be spending plenty of hours sprawled on a picnic blanket or sitting in the stands of your favorite venue, enjoying music while the sun goes down.
How Hearing Loss Ruins Summer Concerts
But staying cool isn’t just a matter of body temperature. For reference, here are a few things we consider uncool:
1. The guy driving in front of us that doesn’t use his blinker
2. When our mom tries to dance in public
3. Damaging our hearing because of something completely preventable
You can’t control other drivers or your mom’s dance moves, but you can control how your hear when the music heats up. Whether you’re a fan of rock, country, hip-hop, techno or electronic, music concerts on average, fall between 95dB to 112dB.
What does this mean for your ears?
Sustained exposure at 90-95dB can result in hearing loss, which is the sweet spot for sound at many concerts. Pain can begin at 125dB, and short-term hearing loss can occur at 140dB.
Imaging packing yourself into a room with 500 other people at Aloe Blacc’s concert, shoving your way as close to the stage as possible. Standing right underneath a set of speakers for several hours, you snap photos, sing along, and stumble home with a slight ringing in your ear. You sleep it off and forget all about it. But depending on the number of concerts you attend each year, cumulative damage cannot be reversed.
Don’t take our word for it. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) safe duration standards for noise exposure recommends that exposure to 95dB should be limited to four hours, and 100dB should be limited to two hours. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) guidelines are even stricter, limiting music at 95dB to just one hour.
If you’re not a numbers fan, allow us to sum it up for you: protect your ears, because the ringing sensation you experience post-concert can significantly impair your hearing for hours or days, and can leave you with a headache. Once the headache is gone, hearing damage lingers.
If you forego our advice, the good news is hearing aids have come a long way. They’re small, unobtrusive, and fit delicately in your ear so most people won’t even notice you’re wearing them.
The bad news is noise-induced hearing loss (like the kind you can experience from rocking out to your favorite concerts every summer), is irreversible.
Just remember, bands can make a comeback, but your hearing can’t.
5 Things to Pack for Your Next Concert
Now that you’re ready to stay cool and listen carefully this summer, here are a few of our favorite things to bring along.
1. Picnic Blanket. A picnic blanket serves double duty by offering you a place to sit, or serving to keep you warm once the sun goes down.
2. Hearing Protection. High fidelity ear buds protect your ears, and don’t change the sound of your favorite band!
3. Reusable Water Bottle. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, especially when you’re outside all day! We’re partial water bottles are eco friendly and BPA free.
4. Great Food. Music and food go hand in hand. But not all recipes can stand the heat. Pack sturdy sandwiches like these, pasta salads, kettle chips, fruit, and portable desserts like cookies or brownies.
5. Friends. You might not pack your friends in your purse or backpack, but definitely bring them along!