Music Festivals and Hearing Protection

Music Festivals and Hearing Protection
It’s that time of year again.  We’re awash in music festivals and, however epic the day is, the ringing in your ears may be the least of the unfortunate consequences you’ll suffer as a result.  At the risk of being a buzz-kill, you should know that after three hours of exposure to concert level volumes, you may have permanently damaged your hearing. The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported on the deafening decibels at outdoor concerts.  Their findings, below, compare the concert volumes to other noises we may be familiar with.


At the speaker Chain saw
4 rows back Jet takeoff at 1,000 feet
9 rows back Outboard motor
10th row Power Mower
100 yards back Subway train at 200 feet
150 yards back Motorcycle
Half way back Home theatre


Who would subject themselves, for hours on end, to the sound of a chainsaw or outboard motor?  Even subway drivers wear hearing protection.  But when we think of hearing protection we usually think of those frustrating foam earplugs.  Foam earplugs are a great, affordable solution if

  • You are inserting them properly, and,
  • They fit your ears well.

However, many people find that foam earplugs fall out and/or hurt their ears after wearing for a short while. The other problem with foam earplugs is that they muffle too much sound for a concert situation.  You and your friends are already having to yell to one another to communicate over the sound of the band.  Foam earplugs make it even harder to communicate.  But there are alternatives. One of the best alternatives for the occasional summer concert-goer is Etymotic Research’s “ETY Plug”.  These come in a regular (small/medium) fit as well as a larger (large/extra-large) fit.  The differences between an ETY Plug and a foam ear plug are…

  • Rather than being a plug designed to dampen all sound as much as possible, the ETY Plug attenuates up to 20db that preserves sound quality and replicates the ear’s natural response to sound.  ETY Plugs are often used by musicians themselves as a way to protect their hearing while still getting excellent sound quality.
  • The ETY Plug comfortably fits 90% of people and is easy to insert, unlike a foam plug that must be compressed a particular way while the foam is at a particular temperature and then inserted before it expands too much.
  • The filter in the ETY Plug makes it possible to hear conversation without having to shout over music.

Music Festivals and Hearing Protection

The best part is that the ETY Plug costs only $15.00 and is always available in our store, a one minute walk from Coxwell subway station. So, whatever noisy outdoor event you are enjoying this year, whether it is a concert, a demolition derby, or checking out the races at Mosport, be sure you preserve your hearing for years to come by making a small but critical investment in protecting your hearing.  Not only will you not diminish your enjoyment of the concert, but you’ll save your hearing to better serve your love of music and good conversation for years to come.

Music Festivals and Hearing Protection

Have a safe and happy summer!