One-third of festivalgoers leave early due to loud music

Research conducted by the Dutch National Hearing Foundation concludes that one-third of all festivalgoers leave a music festival early because they fear for the wellbeing of their ears. A legitimate concern: seven out of ten come home with a (possibly permanent) ringing in their ears.

Tinnitus is on the rise and there seems to be a correlation with the ever increasing amount of amplified concerts, festivals, and today’s trend of blasting music at maximum volume through your earbuds. Hearing experts expect a flood of new tinnitus sufferers in the coming years, especially among young adults. The Academic Medical Center Amsterdam (AMC) analyzed the results of 350.000 hearing tests conducted among youth (12 to 25 years old) and the results are worrisome. One out of four participants show signs of early hearing loss.

The degree of (and the risk of permanent) hearing damage has a lot to do with how long a person has been exposed to dangerous levels of noise. Volume levels at festivals can reach over 110 decibels, which is the equivalent of a jet plane taking off. The risk of permanent damage increases with prolonged exposure to these levels. Luckily, there’s another trend on the rise: an increasing number of people take responsibility and wear earplugs. The Dutch National Hearing Foundation compared their latest survey results with results of four years ago. Back then, only 4% of the festivalgoers wore earplugs. This percentage has gone up to 36% and is expected to keep rising as long as people are well informed about the risks of loud music.

Still there remains some kind of resistance to earplugs, and it’s mostly a cultural thing. People believe that earplugs lessen the sound quality or overall experience, but this is not necessarily true. There are many high quality custom earplugs which not only protect your ears, but also filter out the extraneous noise to enhance the sound experience. Until the maximum allowed volume levels at festivals and clubs is significantly lowered, it is up to listeners to protect themselves. Hearing loss can easily be prevented, but it can rarely be cured.

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