Mind, Body & Spirit

Rock on! It’s the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. Sound advice to protect your hearing at noisy summer concerts

If you think only young people rock out at concerts, think again. This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival. Many music lovers will return to the site of the original concert to enjoy the music of such rock icons as Santana, the Doobie Brothers, and John Fogerty.

Ron Middleton, hearing instrument specialist at Lifestyle Hearing Solutions, says the average
rock concert can reach hearing-damaging noise levels of 100 decibels or higher. “Hearing protection
wasn’t a big consideration for concertgoers back in 1969,” says Middleton. “Today, we are more aware of the
long-term effects of exposure to noise. Sound over 85 decibels—about the level of a gas-powered lawn
mower—can increase your risk of hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it
takes for damage to your hearing to occur. And noise-induced hearing loss can happen at any age.”

This doesn’t mean you need to opt out of the summer concert season, one of the most popular times
for rock bands to tour the country. Middleton and his colleagues Kerry Hamm and Brenda Pottinger
offer concertgoers of any age advice to protect their hearing health and enjoy the rocking sounds
of summer:

Wear hearing protection. Disposable earplugs fit snugly in the ear canal to reduce the volume of noise.
They are inexpensive, easy to bring along, and a common sight at even the wildest concerts.

Choose outdoor venues when possible. Noise tends to be less contained and you may have more
space to stay away from the loudest sounds, such as the blaring loudspeakers. Indoors or outdoors,
seating in the middle or back of the audience is best and keeps you away from screaming fans in the
front rows.

Give your ears a rest. This is a must for day-long festivals. Step away for a quiet break between bands.
Even a 5-minute respite from the noise can be beneficial.

Schedule a hearing check-up if you notice signs of hearing damage such as ear pain or muffled hearing
after a concert.

“A hearing evaluation is easy, painless, and one of the best investments you can make in your longterm hearing health,” says Middleton. “If a hearing loss is detected, there are many modern, discreet hearing solutions available including some that allow music lovers to stream to their hearing aids from their smartphones and other Bluetooth-enabled devices.”

Contact Lifestyle Hearing Solutions at 323-0099, 6425 E. Broadway (Broadway near Wilmot) or 639-8760, 7225 N. Oracle (Oracle near Ina), or visit www.LifestyleHearingSolutions.com.