Over 100,000 people will descend on Chicago’s Grant Park for Lollapalooza this year. The annual festival is already wreaking havoc on traffic, and is sure to kill millions of tiny hair cells in the ears that respond to sound. Many attendees will go home with permanent hearing damage.
In previous years, the level of the music was measured anywhere from 115 to 135 decibels. “At that level,” said Dr.
Ronna Fisher, AuD audiologist, “permanent damage can occur in two minutes.”
“Once it’s gone…it’s gone,” says Fisher. “You will never hear the music, or anything else, clearly again.”
Do not be a martyr…or stupid.
The music is too loud if:
- You experience any buzzing/ringing/noises (tinnitus) in your ears
- Sounds, voices, hearing, is muffled when you leave
- If you have to yell to be heard, it is too loud.
Tips to Protect Whatever Hearing You Have Left
- Try to position yourself away from the speakers (where the sound is loudest)
- Wear earplugs. Almost any kind will protect your ears if you get them in correctly. For frequent concertgoers, get custom, high fidelity earplugs (available at any Audiology office). They will fit your ears perfectly and let you hear the music and the singer while decreasing harmful sounds.
- Take a break. Ears that get a break have time to recover and do not suffer as much damage.
- Drinking and smoking make you less sensitive to sound (ever get into your car in the morning and the radio is blasting from the night before?). Pay attention.
If you still have ringing/buzzing,etc, and voices still sound muffled and unclear, after 48 hours, you need professional help. Now. Call your local Doctor of Audiology, Primary Physician, or ENT specialist.