How to protect your hearing this festival season

Published 15 May 2019  | Updated 06 December 2022  | 3 mins read

It’s festival season and that means one thing: loud music. Seeing our music heroes perform live can be a once in a lifetime experience, but you can still enjoy your favourite festivals without sacrificing your hearing.

Here’s how you can protect your hearing at your next music festival.

Once it’s gone, it’s gone…

Our ears are complex things and our hearing relies on a variety of elements, but one crucial component is the cochlea. Found in the inner ear, it houses 15,500 microscopic hair cells. These hair cells are responsible for sending nerve impulses to our brain, which is then perceived as sound; however, they are very sensitive to loud noise which can cause them irreparable injury. The hair cells don’t recover or grow back, meaning hearing damage is permanent.

Action On Hearing Loss estimates that around 1 in 6 of us suffer with hearing loss in the UK, so it’s a lot more prevalent than you might first think.

But how loud is too loud?

The World Health Organisation considers any sound below 85 decibels as safe. To put that into perspective, a normal conversation is around 60 decibels while a lawn mower would be tipping the balance at 90 decibels.

Transport For London has recently been encouraged to display warning signs on the Underground network after campaigners found that some journeys reach 100 decibels, which could be harmful for commuters’ hearing.

But where does that leave music festivals? Surely sound blasted out into the open air isn’t harmful?

Protect hearing at festivals

Keys, phone, wallet… ear plugs

Loud festivals and concerts frequently exceed the safe zone of 85 decibels and below – even if you’re seated outside. On average these types of music events reach around 110 decibels, which can lead to either temporary or permanent hearing loss after a mere 2 minutes of exposure. The longer the exposure levels, the higher the risk of permanent damage. You are also more likely to develop tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears which currently there is no cure for).

A performance by The Who at Glastonbury was measured at 103 decibels, almost 30 decibels above what experts deem a safe level. With sound levels this high, you should be wearing earplugs for the best hearing protection.

The market is now filled with specialist ear plugs designed for just that – ear protection at festivals and concerts. They reduce noise levels depending on what level of protection is needed, allowing you to enjoy music safely without feeling like you’re missing out on quality.

British company ACS has developed a wide range of custom-fit products targeted at musicians and music-lovers alike. With an international reputation, they develop unique products for the ultimate concert ear protection. As well as protection for your ears, they also provide optimum comfort to the user as they are custom-made to fit your ear perfectly.

Earplugs for concerts are growing in popularity. So whether it’s rock’n’roll, cheesy pop or a classical soiree, you’ll enjoy music as it’s meant to be and protect your hearing too. Check our Earasers Hi-Fi or EarPeace HD if you’re off to a festival this season.

Book your free hearing test today

If you’re worried your ears have been affected by loud music, book a free hearing test with us today. Call 0800 52 00 546, book online or pop into your nearest THCP practice, where our friendly and professional team will be able to give you advice on hearing protection.