(The following article was written by Kathy Peck, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers. H.E.A.R. is a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of hearing loss and tinnitus.)
The Sound threshold for pain is 125 decibels. A rock concert maxes out at 130 decibels. Car stereo competitions blast loud speakers up to 170 db. Those levels are similar to the roar of a jet aircraft, one of the loudest sounds in the everyday world which measures about 150.
After exposure to high decibel levels, hearing loss at first may only be temporary, with hearing returning to normal after several hours or days. But, if exposure occurs repeatedly the ears will eventually lose their ability to bounce back, resulting in permanent hearing degeneration.
Other damage can occur called Tinnitus, a ringing in the ears that often follows exposure to loud noise. You might have noticed this after performing in, or attending a rock concert or dance club. The show is over, but the ringing in your ears goes on. For some people, the problem is only temporary, but for others it can become permanent.
Reducing or eliminating your exposure to high decibel levels is one way to prevent hearing damage. According to the United States Safety and Health Standards, 90 db is the maximum that workers should be exposed to over an eight hour period. Most audiologists would like to see that standard modified to 85 db.
So turn down the volume, or remove yourself from the high decibel area when possible. After exposure to dangerous decibel levels, give your ears a rest for 24 hours. Also, have your hearing evaluated at least once a year by an audiologist and checked by and ear doctor.
Drummers, wearing protective ear plugs is a highly effective way to prevent hearing loss. H.E.A.R., through our nationwide affiliate network of audiologists, offers free screenings and consultations with audiologists. Ear doctors have also joined us as Affiliates to test hearing and fit custom plugs or ear monitors for musicians. Our clientele range from rock legends to local school marching bands and all those interested in preserving their hearing for their music.
As a musician I wear custom musician’s ear plugs (ER 9, 15 or 35 filters reduce the sound evenly not sacrificing the frequencies of the music) whenever I know I’m going to be exposed to high decibel levels. The new ear plugs are amazing, they are really very effective in reducing the decibel level and I know the musician’s ear plugs have saved lots of music carreers.
On our website, www.hearnet.com we also offer an ER20 and other music earplugs that are ready fit; plus information about various hearing health and educational products. Funds go to support our clinic, awareness campaigns, educational outreach in the schools and at music events. H.E.A.R. is neither state nor federally funded.