To hear or not to hear – how festivals and gigs can impact your hearing

19 July 2018

Are you a regular festival-goer? Heading off to Creamfields, Reading, SW4 or any other festivals this year? It is important to look after your ears, even if your liver may be taking a hit!

It’s a given that when enjoying a music festival with your friends or family, very little thought goes into protecting your hearing, more into making sure you get a good spot for your favourite act, or scouting out the queue for the bar! However, you could be taking home with you a little more than lifelong memories, as the loud music can have a permanent impact on your hearing.

The World Health Organisation stated that sound levels over 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing damage, when you put into perspective that many gigs and festivals are over 100 decibels and the damage at that level can be done within in a minute, this may make you stop and think.

Tinnitus is a sore consequence of gigs/festivals for many individuals. Ever felt like your eyes were ringing or you can hear a noise that no-one else can? That’s tinnitus. It is estimated that around seven million people in the UK have experience tinnitus at one time or another. In some cases, the tinnitus will fade within hours or days. However, in others the sound can continue for months or years, affecting sleep patterns, concentration and overall quality of life.

While festival organisers legally have to ensure that their employees are wearing hearing protection, the same doesn’t go for attendees. The easiest and best advice is, enjoy yourself but protect your hearing! Think about wearing ear plugs, or reducing the amount of time you’re exposed to such high decibels.

Top tips:

  • Enjoy the atmosphere and make the most of your day, but protect your hearing!
  • If you have children, protect their hearing too with ear defenders, not plugs
  • Keep hydrated! Just like the rest of your body, your ears need fluids to stay healthy
  • Protect your skin too, if it’s a scorcher of a day make sure you regularly apply suncream

However, we are here for you when those thoughts go out the window and you’re left with more than just a wristband and memories. Here at Spire Harpenden we offer many different treatments for tinnitus, such as Tinnitus desensitisation therapy (TDT), environmental sound enrichment, relaxation training and many more.

Dr Elizabeth Adesugba, Doctor of Audiology here at Spire Harpenden Hospital, states: "Noise induced hearing loss and its consequences are entirely preventable, so if you think you will be exposed to very loud noise, take action before it is too late.

Even if you already experience noise induced hearing loss or tinnitus, hearing protection is essential to prevent it getting worse.

Not all earplugs are appropriate or sufficient. The type of earplugs you need depends on the type and level of noise you are exposed to. If you are a musician, there are hearing protection solutions that are very comfortable and made so that your hearing is not affected while you are playing your specific instrument. 

The more personalised the solution, the better they will feel and function for you."


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