Can a few hours around some loud music really damage your ears?
After all, you go to a concert to actually hear the music, right?
So, should I really wear ear plugs at a concert?
The most common cause of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss.
26 million Americans have noise-induced hearing loss that could have been prevented. It doesn’t take a lifetime of attending concerts or loud events to cause a hearing loss, you can damage your ears in just one event.
The longer you are exposed to levels that loud, the greater chance of hearing loss you have. So, if you plan on going to a 2-hour concert, you risk significant damage to your ears. Not to mention an all-day music festival.
Loud music at concerts can cause permanent hearing loss and/or tinnitus.
Hearing loss and tinnitus can cause a significant decline in overall quality of life. It can lead to reduced cognitive function, depression, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of falls.
So, the answer is “yes”. You should wear earplugs to a concert to protect your hearing. But, not just any ear plugs. Some earplugs are better than others.
The best earplugs for a concert
When you attend a concert, you want to be able to hear the music with good quality. It is important that the ear plugs you are wearing don’t sacrifice the clear quality of the music you are there to enjoy.
That is why some earplugs are better than others when it comes to listening to music. The generic foam ear plugs that you pick up at the drug store are going to make the music softer, but also muffled. Leave those for sleeping or shooting.
When attending a concert, high fidelity music earplugs are the best. This type of earplug allows for a flat attenuation of the sound so that the music quality remains the same, just at a lower volume. This will preserve the quality of the music but make the volume within a safer listening level.
These can be purchased over-the-counter, or be custom made by a hearing healthcare professional.
These ear plugs can be purchased in a drug store or online. They are generally either one-size-fits-all or come in a few different size options. You want to look for the earplugs that say “high fidelity” or “musician plugs”. A few of our favorites include:
These earplugs come in two size options: Standard and large. They are reusable and provide 20dB of high-fidelity attenuation. They are great over-the-counter ear plugs to use at concerts or music events to preserve sound quality.
They also come with a cord (in case you want to take them in and out and hang them around your neck like glasses) and a carrying case.
The Earaser ear plugs are made of a medical-grade silicone material and fit discreetly in the ear canal. If you don’t want anyone to know that you are wearing earplugs at the concert, then these are for you.
They are reusable and provide 19dB of high-fidelity attenuation. They come in four size options: X-small, small, medium, and large.
6 more over the counter ear plugs for concerts
|Rank||Picture||Name||Type||Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)|
|1||Etymotic Research ER20 ETY-Plugs Hearing Protection Earplugs||Reusable||12dB|
|2||Etymotic Research ER125-MP9-15-BN MusicPRO High-Fidelity Electronic Musicians Earplugs||Electronic||9-15dB|
|3||DownBeats Reusable High Fidelity Hearing Protection Ear Plugs||Reusable||18dB|
|4||LiveMus!c HearSafe Ear Plugs||Reusable||23-29dB|
|5||Earasers Musicians Plugs||Reusable||19dB|
|6||DUBS Acoustic Filters Advanced Tech Earplugs||Electronic||12-24dB|
For a more complete list, check out our article on all types of ear plugs here.
Custom ear plugs
Custom ear plugs are typically made by a hearing healthcare professional after taking an impression of your ear canal. This provides a custom fit for your specific ear shape and a more reliable attenuation.
Custom musician ear plugs (sometimes called in-ear monitors) can include interchangeable filters so you choose how much volume reduction you need depending on the music environment that you are in.
Because they are custom made for your ear, they tend to be more comfortable than the over-the-counter musician plugs. Be aware that custom ear plugs can take 2-3 weeks for delivery.
In recent years, companies like Radians and Decibulz have created a custom ear plug kit. They won’t be as high quality as a pair made by a hearing healthcare professional, but they won’t be as expensive either. Check out the video below to see how simple this process can be.
Musicians of today have become smarter about protecting their hearing around music. More and more musicians and DJs are beginning to wear earplugs. Now, it’s up to the music fans to protect their ears and prevent hearing loss.