An audiologist’s best tips for preventing hearing loss
If your job (like construction or woodworking) doesn’t require it, you might not think about wearing hearing protection in noisy environments. But really, you should wear earplugs when you’re attending a music festival, riding a motorcycle, or even mowing the lawn, Taylor says.
Without them, “you could experience temporary tinnitus or temporary hearing loss,” she adds. “Sometimes after exposure to noise we see a temporary threshold shift where if someone tested your hearing right after a concert, you would have lost your hearing. It may recover, but you would definitely leave the concert with ringing in your ears.”
In fact, sports are so loud that you can lose your hearing after just 15 minutes of exposure, and it can take as little as five minutes to damage your hearing at a nightclub or concert. Generally speaking, the louder the sound and the longer the exposure, the less time it takes and the greater the risk of hearing loss. CDC3.
People often refuse to wear headphones to concerts, Taylor says, because they think they won’t be able to hear the artist with the plugs. But there are earplugs on the market, like Loop and Eargasm, that are specifically designed for music — and look pretty cute, she notes. “You can hear the music perfectly, only it’s a little softer,” she adds. “I think the music sounds a little better because it’s not too loud.”
In other cases, you can use cheap foam earplugs that can be purchased at a hardware store. Just make sure you place them properly in them for proper protection, Taylor says.