We’re all still reeling our minds back in from another bout of blissful partying through Miami Music Week, Ultra, WMC, SXSW, and Beyond Wonderland. It was certainly a week for the books, inhibitions were tossed aside only to be found on a drunken walk home, and as usual, musical history was made in strides. However, it seems that one issue which our scene continues to slough away is hearing protection.
Volume levels at music festivals and venues regularly exceed 100 decibels. Exposure to this volume for just 15 minutes can result in hearing damage. A three-day festival like Ultra boasts over 30 hours of sound at this level. That’s over 120 times the threshold for permanent hearing loss. The danger is real, it’s now, and it’s time to do something about it
Some organizations, like the University of Miami Health System, are doing everything they can to warn our generation of our risky love affair with organ-shivering sound systems. “The response has been so great. We can’t keep them on the table,” says Dr. Tricia Scaglione of their free earplug station. Along with Dr. Dana Libman and a handful of volunteers with the University of Miami Health System, she’s on a mission to save our generation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that because of our generation’s love of bass-filled venues and rampant headphone use, over 1.1 billion people are at risk of hearing loss. Yes, that’s equivalent to the entire U.S. losing its hearing for three generations. It’s a bit of an epidemic if you think about it.
Personally, I wear earplugs to every event. Halfway through my first night at EDC Vegas, an aggressive set from Zeds Dead caused my right ear physical pain and discomfort. My hearing felt off, and my balance was a bit tweaked for months after that night. The experience hit home for me, and now I wear earplugs to every event. I’ve tried a couple different brands, and the simplest solution that works for me is a pair of $12 Etymotic standard earplugs.
It’s the same principle as wearing a helmet while doing anything dangerous, except earplugs are more than just a precaution; they’re preventing physical damage every single time you go out. Imagine falling from a bike and hitting your head every time you go for a ride. Would you rather take it to the dome in favor of feeling the wind blowing through you hair, or would you accept the minor restraint in favor of self-preservation?
Honestly, I don’t see how lawsuits haven’t made wearing earplugs mandatory already. But in the words of some young and bright eyed festival goers, those stuffy pieces of plastic in your ear are just really lame and uncomfortable…
H/T LA Weekly