A leading network of Hearing Experts in the USA have published a warning about the risks posed to music fans during the busy festival months by over exposure to the loudness of their favourite music.Rock band_Medium

As summer approaches, the live music industry gears up for its busiest season of the year. Industry heavyweights including One Direction, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift will pack tens of thousands of fans into venues across the country in the coming months. However, summer concerts can also bring potentially dangerous noise levels that can damage hearing.

“Summer concerts are a fantastic tradition for music fans of all ages,” said David Smriga, M.A., president of AuDNet Inc. “But as the volume of the music rises, attendees need to be aware of the effects on hearing.”

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This image shows a Kamplex KM6 sound level meter recording the kind of noise levels whcih can be experienced by concert and festival goers. These kinds of levels can use your entire days noise exposure allowance in seconds.

In a 2012 study, the House Research Institute (HRI) reported that a staggering 72 percent of teenagers experienced reduced hearing ability after attending a pop music concert.

The study found that during the 26 songs played throughout the three hour concert, sound levels ranged from 82 to 110 dBA, with an average of 98.5 dBA (with the mean level greater than 100 dBA for 10 of the 26 songs).

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safe listening guidelines set time limits for exposures to sound levels of 85 dB and greater in the workplace. The volumes recorded during the concert would have violated OSHA standards in less than 30 minutes.

“Heightened and prolonged noise levels at concerts can impair the tiny outer hair cells in the inner ear. These cells are key to ensuring normal hearing, especially for low level sounds and understanding speech in noisy environments,” Smriga added. “Concert goers can greatly reduce any damage to hearing by monitoring sound levels via smartphone apps to determine when to wear protective earplugs while attending shows.” To find your nearest Hearing Care Professional why not visit www.perfectfitears.co.uk , and search forthe nearest centre to you.

Damaged Hair Cells

In the HRI study, only three of 29 attendees chose to wear protective hearing devices, despite being encouraged to do so.

While the outer hair cells show a reduction in their ability to function when exposed to loud noise, they have the ability to fully recover within 48 hours. However, it is generally accepted that repeated exposure to noise levels above OSHA safety levels can lead to permanent damage in the tiny hair cells.

Smriga strongly encourages anyone who has experienced hearing loss and/or tinnitus, a high-pitched ringing in the ears, to schedule an appointment with a licensed audiologist to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment for hearing impairment.

At the very least, if you or someone you know is planning a trip to one of the many music festivals being put on this summer, please encourage them to visit their local hearing care professional to discuss the options available to them for hearing protection. Anything is better than nothing if fitted correctly and custom made hearing protection ensures the correct fit every time while still giving all of your favourite music the quality it deserves, or in some cases not.


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