Are Earplugs The New Rubbers?

Are Earplugs The New Rubbers?

Earplugs are being used as prophylactics or the new rubbers

Loud Rock Concert

Loud Rock Concert

I remember the first time I saw someone wearing earplugs casually. My friend Christa and I were at a rock concert at Pacific Standard Tavern, which boasts New Haven’s most modern sound system outside of College Street Music Hall, when I noticed two blue cones protruding from her ears.

My first response was alarm. Christa went to more concerts than anyone I knew. I felt betrayed, as though the earplugs were an admission that Christa really was not there for the music, just for the scene.

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You have something in your ears, I told her.

She turned and said, “I know.”

I barely heard her with my naked ears. I realized I hardly heard myself. But she had heard me.

From small clubs to big theaters, music shows have been getting louder for at least a generation. But earplug use hasn’t caught up. Is it starting to? Are they the new rubbers?

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In between songs, music fans are having that debate.

typicalsoundlevelscrAccording to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, hearing protectors enhance speech comprehension in loud places the way sunglasses enhance vision in extreme brightness. The rule of thumb is that noise damages your hearing if you are at arm’s length and have to shout to make yourself heard.

So basically, every rock, rap, or electronic concert I have ever been to has subtly chipped away at my inner ear.

Christa started wearing earplugs after a music festival friend of hers developed a nasty case of tinnitus, a constant ringing in your ears that makes it nearly impossible to sleep without some sort of white noise — an open window, a television humming — to mitigate the high-pitched whine in your head.

ear-defense-packaging-265x415Studies haven’t conclusively documented the benefits or earplugs, but do suggest that they do eliminate at least some short-term hearing loss, according to this report from Reuters. One key factor: Using them right.

In an interview with the Independent, Dr. Elias Michaelides, director of theYale Center for Hearing and Balance, confirmed research indicating that as many as one in five teens suffer from hearing loss, and those numbers are only getting worse. The latest study, from JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, concludes that loud music at live events is at least partly responsible for that loss.

“We don’t know if younger ears are more vulnerable,” Dr. Michaelides said, “but when you are young you still have a hearing reserve so you might not notice the damage at all.” Damage can be caused by the cumulative effects of loudness over time, not just noise trauma. The inner ear never regenerates.

Michaelides explained exactly what is happening when your ears start ringing.

“Essentially, the cochlea of your inner ears contain long rows of haired cells,” he said. When these hairs pick up vibrations from sound waves, those are converted into nerve signals. Really loud sound damages the cell hairs through over-stimulation. The eardrum only tears when it pops, which is unusual unless you are standing close to a grenade or smacked directly in your ear.”

It’s not hard to understand how these cell hairs get overstimulated. The distortion in the sound in this video from a (really good) Mates of State show at BAR is because of the sheer volume of the music, and this video was shot from behind the house’s speaker, not in front of it.

Michaelides regularly sees the worst cases, those who come in after days or weeks of constant ringing. His patients often admit that the last show they went to was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“Hearing protection is a valid medical preventative precaution,” he said.


Medical plans rarely cover earplugs; if musicians declare their creative income, earplugs should be tax deductible. Prescription earplugs can range into the hundreds of dollars, but many are happy with what they’ve gotten. The over-the-counter versions are cheaper — a pack of 14 pairs of foam earplugs runs about $5 at Walgreens — but they are possibly too effective. Alternativeky, a really good pair of earplugs can be purchased from Amazon.

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Thousands Of People Missing Out On Holidays Because Of Hearing Loss

Thousands Of People Missing Out On Holidays Because Of Hearing Loss

THOUSANDS of Scots are missing out on dream holidays because of their hearing loss.

Hearing-Loss-1-350x233Difficulties hearing among crowds or over background noise mean two-fifths of those who suffer from some form of hearing impairment are avoiding holidays to noisy or city destinations altogether.

Almost a quarter say their hearing problems have led to them being far less adventurous when it comes to travelling.

A third even went as far as to say their hearing problems made them feel anxious when they went on holiday or travelled somewhere new.

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The research, by hearing specialist Amplifon, involving more than 2,000 people who suffer hearing problems. It found that New York, Madrid and Tokyo were perceived as among the noisiest travel destinations in the world.

Barry Downes, Amplifon’s professional services manager, said: “The world becomes a smaller place for people with hearing loss if they don’t take steps to deal with their problems.

“Many admit they become less adventurous when choosing a holiday, not just in terms of the destinations they pick but also the types of activities they take part in.



“One of the most uplifting things about going on holiday, especially if it involves travelling abroad, is being able to immerse yourself in a new culture, which involves taking in the sounds as well as the sights.

“Being able to hear properly is therefore integral to the quality of the experience.

“A third of those surveyed also said their hearing loss made them more anxious about travelling, which is understandable given that they may have problems picking up important information such as flight announcements or details of planned excursions.”

William Allan, 57, from Irvine, Ayrshire, is one of many who found his hearing problems were holding him back as he and his wife Valerie tried to tick off their holiday bucket list.

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Top of their list of destinations was China, but what should have been the trip of a lifetime turned into a nightmare because poor hearing stopped William from fully appreciating all the country had to offer.

He said: “We’d been looking forward to travelling for so long but when we eventually got to China I spent the whole time shackled to the tour guide because if she moved too far away I couldn’t hear what she was saying.

“The whole trip was a nightmare to be perfectly honest because the fact I couldn’t hear properly had a real impact on the quality of the experience.

“You need information to make proper sense of the sites you are visiting, whether it’s the Terracotta Warriors or The Great Wall of China, otherwise you’ll never appreciate their full historical value, so from that point of view, China was pretty frustrating for me and I came away thinking ‘why did I bother?’”

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His nightmare trip to China was a turning point, after which he decided to be fitted with a hearing aid.

Allan said: “One good thing came out of that trip to China – it forced me to make the conscious decision that if I ever went on a long-haul holiday again, I must be able to hear properly. I waited four or five years before seeking professional help and I regret that, because it’s time I can’t get back.

“After getting a hearing aid fitted, we went to Vietnam and Cambodia last year and the whole experience compared to China, from a hearing perspective, was like night versus day.

“Apart from hearing everything the tour guide said, I also felt more confident in my ability to hear conversations properly so, from a social point of view, the whole experience was far more enjoyable.”

The National Scot

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Dr Hilary Jones Says That Hearing Loss Raises Risk Of Dementia

Dr Hilary Jones Says That Hearing Loss Raises Risk Of Dementia

Dr Hilary Jones Raises Awareness Saying That Hearing Loss Increases The Chances Of Dementia

Dr Hilary Jones

Dr Hilary Jones

Dr Hilary Jones – A TV doctor is in Guernsey to raise awareness of the importance of paying attention to hearing loss, saying it can increase the chances of dementia.

Dr Hilary Jones says it’s vital islanders get their hearing checked as there are currently 4m people in the UK with hearing loss that is undiagnosed.

He told ITV News hearing loss can have an impact on your general health, explaining that it makes someone two to five times more likely to develop dementia.

Dr Jones say that’s because the condition can make a person feel cut off, confused and even paranoid.

Dr Jones says age is a major factor in hearing loss, but there are ways to prevent it:

  • Keep music and TV levels low
  • Protect ears from a young age by keeping MP3 levels down
  • Get your hearing checked as soon as you notice any problems

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Noise Levels In Summer At 4 Spots In A City Are Twice The Safe Limit

Noise Levels In Summer At 4 Spots In A City Are Twice The Safe Limit

Can You Believe That Noise Levels In A City Can Be This Damaging?



Mumbai: A random reading from four of the noisiest enclaves of the city shows that Mumbaikars are sitting on a powder keg of ear-splitting decibel levels. Constant exposure to loud sound is an inescapable reality in these locations, with no mechanism in place to control the blaring of horns that accompanies the rush of traffic.

On Thursday, an ordinary summer afternoon with no festival to exacerbate the problem either, activist Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz Foundation took readings nearSion Hospital, Dadar East railway station, Saki Naka at Andheri East, and Mohammed Ali Road. The findings were alarming. Be it hospitals or schools that are classified as silence zones, or neighbourhoods that have a mix of residential and commercial users, sound levels ranged from 95dB to 105dB.

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Noise Levels Chart


According to noise rules, sound in silence zones should not exceed 40dB at night and 50dB by day. In residential areas, there is a cap of 45dB at night and 55dB during the day.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the relative risk of hearing loss to men and women rises when they are continually exposed to noise levels over 85dB. The danger gets higher at 90dB and above.

Mohammed Ali Road, below J J flyover, has earned a dubious distinction as the noisiest enclave in Mumbai. A flood of bikers and taxi drivers rushes to negotiate multiple traffic signals, leading to screeches and skidding sounds.

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Advocate Shahid Nadeem lives in Vazir building at Shalimar junction along Bhendi Bazar. “The traffic problem is precipitated during the ongoing month of Ramzan, especially from 4pm to midnight. I think traffic police should consider opening J J flyover for bikers during this time to reduce the number of vehicles beneath the flyover. Constables should be posted at all signals. And, of course, residents must follow traffic rules,” says Nadeem, who is a lawyer for Jamiat ul Ulema.

Dadar East is an unenviable spot given the muscle of cab drivers at the taxi stand, and an amalgamation of vast footfalls from Western Railway and outstation trains. Hanuman mandir and Swaminarayan temple are meeting points for thousands of Mumbaikars.



Residents wish drivers and pedestrians would follow basic rules. Yashwant Zende, a mobile app developer who has an office here, says that even within the cacophony, it is honking that is most unbearable. “As soon as I alight from the train around 10am, I feel I should put cotton in my ears to muffle the noise. The haphazard movement of taxis leads to more honking and more irritation throughout the day,” Zende says.

Resident Anand Padhye (seen in pic) says, “The traffic department should either declare the station precinct as a no-honking zone or levy hefty fines, which will serve as a deterrent.”

Further away, the silence zone around Sion Hospital ironically faces a double whammy of ambulance sirens and indiscriminate honking. Ajay Pandya, 59, lives where the skywalk ends. He says, “I am forced to stop talking on the phone when ambulances with unnecessarily loud sirens pass even 500 metres away.” Cleatus D’Souza (seen in pic), who runs an optical store at Sion Circle, says, “Better infrastructure like the Ambedkar bridge, and the need to avoid toll for the Bandra-Worli Sealink, has prompted more vehicles to take this route. New housing complexes have also come up.” Near Gandhi Market, activist G R Vora points out that a surfeit of marriage halls sees loud processions along with musical instruments and firecrackers.

At Saki Naka junction in Andheri East, even the presence of two large nursing homes has failed to make any difference in the attitude of motorists who honk incessantly through the day.

“We have put up thick glasses to keep the noise out of the rooms and the ICCU but it helps little,” said Dr Utkarsh Angachekar of Paramount Hospital. “Unfortunately, patients who are residents of the area have become accustomed to living with such high decibels.”

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Cheer On Your Team Without Causing Permanent Ear Damage

Stadiums are so loud these days that they can cause permanent ear damage.

Ear Damage

CLEVELAND CLINIC – For sports fans, there is no time of year that is more exciting than playoff time. For the unwitting, that time can cause also cause permanent ear damage.

And the only thing better than cheering on the home team is to cheer them on in person, at the game.

But can all of those ‘fan-o-meters’ that measure the excitement and noise level in the arena really tell fans how loud it’s getting?

Sharon Sandridge, PhD, of Cleveland Clinic said there are ways to measure the real noise level during the game.

“I always recommend that with smartphones you can download all kinds of sound level meter apps, for free, for a couple bucks, just get one and then you can test an environment to see if you are safe or not,” said Dr. Sandridge.

Dr. Sandridge said it’s important to be aware of the noise level, even if it’s noise that’s all in good fun.

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Research has shown that it only takes one instance of loud noise exposure to damage the cells within our ears for good.

noise-levels-1The risk for permanent damage begins at a level of 85 dBA for eight hours or more. Eighty-five dBA is about the equivalent of the noise produced by a vacuum cleaner or a food blender.

Noise exposure can cause varying symptoms. The most common is a ringing sound in the ears, called tinnitus, which can occur shortly after loud noise exposure. Occupational noise is very well regulated, however recreational noise is not, which is why Dr. Sandridge said that it’s important for fans to be aware of the noise that surrounds them.

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She recommends getting up and taking a break from the noise every now and then, with a walk to the main concourse where it’s possible to be tuned into the action, but maybe not as much noise.

Dr. Sandridge said wearing foamy earplugs is another good option, as they can reduce noise to a safe level without turning it down too much.

“We just have to be more aware of the noise around us,” said Dr. Sandridge. “It’s around us all the time and we get very used to it. The reality is, every single second we’re exposed to noise, can indeed do damage.”

Motorcyclists Need Earplugs

Motorcyclists Need Earplugs

Excessive Road Noise Can Cause Permanent Ear Damage. Motorcyclists need earplugs.

Motorcyclists should wear ear plugs. you can get comfortable noise reduction that could have you a lot of trouble and permanent hearing damage in the long run.

Motorcyclists need earplugs

Why Motorcyclists Need Earplugs

It is a fact that riding a motorcycle at normal highway speeds, even in a full face helmet, without ear protection, does irreversible damage to your hearing over time. Noise fatigue is also a very real effect of riding, and can leave rider far more tired than expected.

Another long time rider told me he’s getting a hearing aid today, and he never wore ear plugs. I’ve heard a number of reasons from some friends about why they won’t or don’t wear them. Those reasons are weak. Here are a few:

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traffic-noise-1Traffic, horns, sirens and other noises will be hard to hear: Good hearing protection will lower high frequency noise, like wind buffeting your helmet. While ear plugs will lower the volume of all sound, they won’t eliminate those interruptive sounds from making it to you at all, rather you’ll be more likely to hear them as the effects of constant high frequency noise will not be as bad.

I wear a full face helmet: So what? Comfortable helmets flow a lot of air, and are pretty damn noisy! Helmet noise reduction studies show very minimal improvement due to a full face helmet.

I do not have loud pipes: While the silly loud pipes of many a Harley rider could make anyone deaf, you are really looking to block out the wind noise rushing past your head. Loud pipes just add another droning source of white noise like sound that will deafen you over time, but they are not the primary one motorcyclists need fear!

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