Everyone knows rock concerts are loud. That is part of the experience. I don’t go to too many concerts anymore, because of my hearing loss. But when I do, I use strong protections against the noise — I mute my hearing aids and use noise-cancelling headphones. Believe it or not, I can usually still hear the music just fine! As I look around the concert, I see some people wearing earplugs or earmuffs too. I wish there were more. Perhaps they don’t understand the risks.
Prolonged exposure to any sound at or above 85 decibels can cause gradual hearing loss, and once your hearing is damaged, it is permanently impaired. Loud noise exposure kills the delicate cells inside the cochlea of the inner ear, and once they are gone, they do not grow back. Loud noises can also cause tinnitus, the sensation of buzzing or ringing in your ears when no sound is present. You may have experienced this after a particularly loud night out. Sometimes it goes away, but with increased exposure, it can become permanent. Mine is.