Outdoor Event Season is Almost Here, Colorado!
With the recent snow and cold weather in Denver, it’s hard to believe that Spring is just a couple of months away. But, you know what Spring brings with it? The return of outdoor events!
As Coloradans, we’re lucky to have one of the most well-known outdoor event venues (Red Rocks, of course!) right in our own home state. But, as Audiologists, we also see a side of live music and events that many people don’t, and that’s the potential damage that loud noise can have on our hearing.
But, there’s an easy solution to this widespread problem: custom hearing protection. Read on to learn more about the risks of attending concerts without protecting your hearing and how custom earmolds are an effective and comfortable option for concertgoers.
The Potential Consequences of Loud Noise
Noise is one of the most common causes of sensorineural (caused by damage to the inner ear itself) hearing loss that Americans experience today, and it makes sense. We are exposed to loud noise every day. A firetruck driving down the street. Fireworks on the Fourth of July. The occasional live music event. All of these, among others, can cause permanent and irreversible damage to your hearing.
Hearing loss caused by noise is called noise-induced hearing loss, and prolonged or even sudden exposure to loud noise can cause damage to the inner ear and the nerves responsible for hearing, leading to sometimes severe hearing loss, especially as we get older.
Studies show that sounds above about 85 decibels (dB) are harmful to the human ear. To put that in perspective, the typical conversation falls between 60 and 70 dB, and motorcycles fall between 80 and 110 dB. Given that we encounter motorcycles and other loud vehicles frequently in our day-to-day, it can be surprising to learn that the revving engine may be causing damage to our hearing — even if we don’t notice it right away.
In the case of concerts, the average concert (even outdoor shows, like the shows at Red Rocks) is somewhere between 94 and 110 dB, which, even at the lowest end is still above damaging levels. And, to make matters worse, concerts can be two, three, sometimes four hours long, adding to the potential damage caused by the loud music you’re hearing.
Once noise-induced hearing loss happens, it cannot be reversed. So, the only real way to avoid noise-induced hearing loss is by protecting your ears from loud noise in the first place.
Benefits of Custom Hearing Protection for Concerts & Events
While some hearing protection is better than none at all, foam or silicone earplugs or noise-canceling headphones are simply not as effective as custom-molded hearing protection, like what we offer at Colorado Ear Care.
That’s because foam earplugs are all roughly the same size and material, and everyone’s ears are different, making them much less effective at protection than something custom molded to your unique ear shape. In fact, if foam earplugs are ill-fitting, they may not be protecting your hearing at all. That kind of defeats the purpose, don’t you think?
Custom earmolds offer much more effective hearing protection and, since they are personalized to your ears, they are much more comfortable to wear for long periods of time, too. No more excuses to not wear protection!
It’s important to note that hearing protection won’t completely eliminate sounds — a common misconception among our patients. That’s because sound is made up of vibrations, and those vibrations can still travel to the eardrum through the cranial bone. So, you’ll probably still hear some sound even with the best, most snug-fit earmolds, which is great for concertgoers who still want to experience the show they paid to see.
How To Get Custom Hearing Protection
Getting hearing protection that is molded to your ear is a fairly straightforward process. Your hearing care provider will start by placing a small piece of cotton or foam inside the ear canal to protect your eardrum and other inner ear organs. Then, they will inject impression material into your ear and around the outer ear that hardens in a few minutes, leaving a perfect impression of your ear that can be used to produce your hearing protection. It’s a painless process that can be completed in less than 10 minutes, and within a few weeks, you’ll have personalized hearing protection in your hands.
Put Your Hearing Health First This Concert Season
Whether you’re planning on hitting Red Rocks this Summer or work in a loud industry, like on a construction site or in a factory, custom earmolds are the best way to protect your greatest asset: your hearing.
Colorado Ear Care has several locations in the Denver area, making us the convenient option for your concert hearing protection needs. Schedule an appointment to learn more.