Going to concerts, either as a spectator or as a musician, means that you are exposed to a lot of noise on many levels. Regardless of the type of music, whether it's heavy metal or classical music, being exposed to loud music can exacerbate hearing problems like tinnitus over a long time. In addition, it has the potential to decrease your hearing over a long period of time. Prolonged exposure to any noise can deteriorate the quality of your hearing. It is important when you go to concerts to wear earplugs.

Why should we wear earplugs when we go to concerts? 

If you have ever gone to a concert and experienced a muffled noise or a ringing in your ears after leaving the gig, this is your ears protecting themselves. Usually, it will disappear after a couple of days. But others may experience this over a long period of time. We have to remember that hearing damage can occur at almost any volume, and while a typical conversation is around 60 decibels, you only have to go up to 85 decibels to experience irreversible hearing loss. The typical concert is around 100 decibels. Your ears can only cope with 100 decibels for approximately 15 minutes without any hearing protection devices.

The most important features of an earplug 

People who go to concerts regularly need to start arming themselves with earplugs for every gig. There are four key features that form the perfect earplug: 

  • Protecting the ears. Having quality earplugs that protect your hearing will greatly reduce any potential damages but will also work to protect against hearing issues like tinnitus. Earplugs protect the ears, but when you are going to a concert, you need to hear the music in as high a quality as possible. Finding an earplug that has a good quality sound reduction but not overly so will be the best balance. 
  • Providing comfort. One of the most important things when going to concerts is that you experience the music as comfortably as possible. While many people use earplugs in environments where they need to completely block out the noise, when going to a concert, it's important to hear the nuances of the music. Earplugs with soft contact tips and are tailored to fit your inner ear are crucial and need to be made from a material that suits your needs. Typically, earplugs are made from memory foam or silicone.
  • They help the person to enjoy the music. Sound quality is essential when you go to a concert. You need to find earplugs that provide equal attenuation over the entire hearing spectrum, which means, very simply, that every frequency provides a natural audible experience without distorting the sound. 
  • They work with your style. Wearing earplugs is not a fashion statement by any stretch. If you are going to gigs frequently, finding something discreet that matches your style takes away any self-consciousness.

What types of earplugs are there? 

Four the most common types of noise protection include:

  • Reusable earplugs: These are usually made of soft silicone. Reusable earplugs are perfect for people who need to wear earplugs regularly, such as individuals who go to concerts. Reusable noise earplugs come in two different types, "corded" or "non-corded." 
  • Disposable earplugs: As the name suggests, disposable earplugs are worn once and discarded. They are usually made of foam material, which is generally comfortable for the user.
  • Custom earplugs: If you are looking to block out excessive noise regularly, you can purchase custom noise earplugs to suit the contours of your ears. 
  • Earmuffs: If you are exposing yourself to loud music regularly, earmuffs are very effective protection. They are heavy-duty, and as they are used by people who work with machinery, there is more noise attenuation when compared to earplugs. 

If you go to concerts regularly, you have to be aware of how much exposure to loud noise you are getting over time. Our ears are very sensitive, and if we experience a temporary hearing issue, we should consider ourselves lucky. But if you expose yourself to loud noises regularly, temporary hearing can transition to permanent noise-induced hearing loss. If you have any concerns, or you are looking for advice on the best earplugs for concerts, you can get in contact with the Center for Better Hearing on 510-768-7091 to book an appointment with a hearing instrument specialist.