Countless voices and sounds are combined in an unparalleled mix, a powerfully loud and frightfully beautiful symphony. Of these sounds, it's the referee's whistle that rings the loudest, clocking in at 130 Decibels - the same as a jet plane taking off.

A rock concert, meanwhile, is one of the loudest events anyone will ever attend. Raucous cheers from the crowd intermingle with the booming sounds of the band, which can reach 120dB or higher. At times, the music is so loud it's nearly impossible to make anything out. 

As exciting as they are, either of these events can cause significant damage to your hearing if you go in unprotected. The human ear simply wasn't built to withstand sounds of such intensity for so long. To understand why you first need to understand a few things about sound and hearing.

What is a Decibel, Exactly?

The amount of energy and pressure behind a particular sound - perceived by us as loudness - is measured in decibels (dB). You need to understand that this is not a linear unit of measurement, as loudness encompasses a massive dynamic range. A 10dB increase actually corresponds to a doubling of the sound's perceived volume.

This means that a sound registered at 110dB is twice as loud as one at 100dB. The human ear can generally hear sounds from 0dB up, but anything about 90dB is seen as damaging to the inner ear. Anything above 120dB can do severe, potentially irreversible damage.

Yes, that includes rock concerts.

The good news is that you don't need to swear off your favorite events altogether. Instead, you should simply invest in some adequate hearing protection before going in. There are actually plenty of headphones and earplugs you can wear that won't impede your enjoyment. 

Safeguarding Your Ears is all About Finding the Right Tools

The ear is unable to protect itself against severe noise. We cannot shut deliberately shut off our hearing. As such, extremely loud sounds can cause severe damage to our ears, even killing off the hair cells within the ear canal.

That's why hearing protection is so important. Ideally, it would be best if you could avoid extreme sounds altogether. If that isn't an option, you should understand the different types of earplugs available to you: 

  • High-fidelity earplugs reduce all sound but are designed to maintain overall sound quality. They're frequently used to protect the hearing of musicians and audio engineers. This makes them an ideal choice for concerts. 
  • Filtered earplugs only reduce loud sounds but otherwise maintain similar audio quality to high-fidelity earplugs. They're a good option for concerts, but also sporting events, nightclubs, and bars. 
  • Electronic earplugs are the best of both worlds. They're adjustable, allowing you to configure the level of sound they block. Higher-end models even automatically adjust their protection level based on ambient noise. The main drawback is that compared to other earplugs, they're almost prohibitively expensive. 
  • Earmuffs are usually used in environments such as construction sites and airport runways. They're designed to protect against extreme noise and muffle all sound. As you might expect, using them at concerts or sporting events is not recommended. 

Protecting Your Ears Doesn't Mean Sacrificing Entertainment

A boisterous sporting event. A lively nightclub. A high-energy rock show. 

Each of these is a unique and incredible experience. It would be unreasonable to suggest you should miss out on them just to protect your ears. Thankfully, with the wealth of different earplug options available on the market, you don't need to. 

You can keep your hearing safe without sacrificing the things that make you happy.

And if you suspect you've suffered hearing damage from any of the events you've attended? Get in touch with us. We'll give you a free hearing assessment.