Rave safe: The benefits of hearing protection [Magazine Featured]
Wearing hearing protection at raves and festivals without losing sound quality is as possible as it is crucial.
Live music has evolved a lot. Music festivals have been getting bigger and better and this is not only reflected in star-studded lineups. Sound technology has evolved and so have the soundsystems. The quality of the sound has improved in clubs and outdoor venues alike, a quality that has been accompanied by a gradual increase in volume. Louder is great but your ears might disagree. I’m sure you’ve come home after a night out with discomfort in your ears, as if you’ve brought some of the music with you, in your head and your ears. That high-pitched ringing sensation that ranges from a few seconds to 5 minutes is called tinnitus and it’s your body’s way of alerting you that protecting your ears is a good idea. Tinnitus happens when you are exposed to loud noise for a long period of time, like when you go to a club or music festival. In the process, the tiny sensory hair cells in your inner ear are damaged and can completely disappear and cause permanent hearing loss because unlike your actual hair, it does not grow back.
Protecting your ears before exposing them to a massive soundsystem is not one of those boring pieces of advice but something already well supported by science. After all, nobody wants to go deaf, right? It is known that any exposure above 80db causes damage in just two hours. That time frame shortens to fifty minutes when we go up to 96db and for levels above 100db, the damage happens in just 15 minutes. The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) has found that most clubs in the UK have their music at around 92db rising to 110db on the dancefloor. The World Health Organization (WHO) has presented statistics that one in 10 people will have disabling hearing loss by 2050.
Should we stop listening to music? Absolutely not. Should we protect our ears? Without a second thought. Fortunately, as sound systems have been developed and improved, so have earplugs. Massive adaptations and improvements have been made and there are now a plethora of solutions adapted to your needs.