The recent Guns N' Roses: Not In This Lifetime tour was the perfect venue to test the effectiveness of our custom molded earplugs to prevent noise induced hearing loss. We sent two fans, Keith and Derek to the concert. Keith wore custom molded earplugs and Derek went without any hearing protection.
Noise induced hearing loss is 100% preventable
Why a Rock Concert?
We picked the rock concert not just because it’s loud, but because it’s a fairly lengthy event and the exposure to loud noise is calculated by multiplying the intensity by the duration. So basically, very loud noises for short period of time can have the same effect on our hearing as moderately loud noises for longer periods of time. Also, while we instinctively know that a concert is not good for our ears, the potential for damage is still widely underestimated. In North America noise induced hearing loss is the greatest risk to our hearing health and her leisurely activities are big part of our exposure to loud noise.
Noise “Dosage” = Sound Intensity x Exposure Time
…. slow, subtle loss of hearing is insidious and will often go unnoticed until it becomes an obvious problem.
Step 1: we performed a pre-concert hearing test on both of our GNR fans to establish their “normal” hearing.
Step 2: our 2 fans then went to watch the opening act and the full three-hour plus performance by Guns N' Roses. Keith wore his custom molded earplugs and Derek went without hearing protection.
Step 3: immediately after the concert our rock fans repeated their hearing tests
Step 4: we then compared the results between the two sets of audiograms.
How loud are Winnipeggers? About an hour into the concert Axl Rose commented on how incredibly loud the Winnipeg fans were!
Temporary Hearing Loss
Below are charts showing the change in hearing between the pre-concert and post-concert hearing tests. Derek’s hearing loss ranged from 5 dB to 30 dB. To put the change in perspective, if the quietest sound you could hear was about 0 decibels, then 10 decibels would be 10x louder, 20 db would be 100x and 30dB would be a whopping 1000x louder.
“I think the comparison between the 2 guys at 8000 Khz is really telling with Keith being a 10 dB loss which still leaves him in the range of normal hearing. Derek has a 30 dB loss which is quite significant, putting him right on the border between mild and moderate hearing loss.” – Kerry Holden
It’s clear from the charts that the custom earplugs did a good job protecting Keith’s hearing. While Derek’s hearing loss was significant, it is temporary. And that is part of the problem when it comes to warning people about noise induced hearing loss. Noticeable hearing loss generally doesn’t happen all at once. In fact, if we tested Derek’s hearing a week after the concert we wouldn’t find a clearly measurable difference in his hearing. But, combine the effect of aging with 25 years of loud concerts, snowmobiling, motorcycling, overly loud iPods, etc. it’s all going to add up to measurable irreparable hearing loss that will likely require treatment.
Why not take care of your hearing now so you can enjoy music for the rest of your life?
Do you have questions about hearing protection? We would like to hear from you! Just call the Polo Park Hearing Centre Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. or Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (204) 788-1083.