Turn It Down! Loud Concerts Cause Ear Damage

This article was about tinnitus, what causes it, what we can do to prevent it, and why we probably won’t. Tinnitus refers to a constant ringing in your ears due to damage by harmful sound waves. Affecting 1 in 5 people, tinnitus can be caused by excessively loud noises like music blasting or the loud sounds of the trains in the subway. Chronic, tinnitus is more than simply an annoying ringing, it signals other damage.
To put into perspective what kind of sounds cause tinnitus, sounds 85 dBA (decibel adjusted) or above are considered harmful. Regular speaking voices are only around 65 dBA, while an average concert is between 98 dBA to 115 dBA. The damage is also related to the length of exposure to harmful frequencies. Generally, a person can be exposed to hearing 100 dBA sounds for 15 minute before damage can occur. (Concerts usually run for around two hours.) There has been a lot of controversy over young people experiencing tinnitus because of loud concerts.
With with most people, unless we feel the negative effects immediately we tend to overlook the issue. The article points out that many artists and those who work with them are affected with tinnitus due to being exposed to the harmful frequencies for long periods of time but have yet to lower the sound. Sometimes artists and their band wear earplugs to protect themselves from harm but continue to play the music loud affecting their audience.
I agree with the article that it is up to the individual to protect themselves from harmful frequencies. Concert halls/clubs know that people enjoy the loud music and turning it down will only send their customers to a competitor. This is because there is a culture of going out to enjoy dangerously loud music.
The way I feel about turning the volume down at concerts reminds me of something a friend of mine said about weight gain. “I have the same mentality toward weight gain as I do about global warming; very aware that there is an increasingly growing problem but not really wanting to sacrifice anything at all.”
Living in NY, taking the subway almost everyday, I’ve become accustomed to lots of noise I’ve probably already damaged my hearing by now. That could be why I play my music so loud. For me, part of the concert experience is hearing your favorite songs, drowning out all other noise with people who appreciate the music as much as you. The other issue with earphones is the controversy of whether or not they can block out the vocals, taking away from the experience. Some believe that they do cut out the vocals because of the varied frequencies due to the artists moving closer and further from the mic but others say that losing the vocals is nothing to be concerned about because earplugs are designed to cut out only the dangerous frequencies.
Of course I’m probably going to end up paying for it as I get older but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. To be honest though, the idea of constant ringing in my ears IS a bit terrifying.

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