Frequently asked questions about how to protect your hearing at music events and other loud environments
Many people say they hear ringing in their ears after going to a loud concert, nightclub or event. It is a common but avoidable problem.
Everyone should protect their hearing by wearing earplugs in loud environments. If your hearing protection is effective, there shouldn’t be any ringing in your ears.
It’s not just the risk of tinnitus you are protecting yourself from, it’s hearing loss too. Once your hearing is damaged it can’t be repaired.
Yes. You can damage your hearing if you’ve been exposed to a very loud sound even just once! It’s all about the volume and the time you’re exposed to sound. A lot of people think it’s safe to be in very loud environment for a short time, but that’s not true. If it’s too loud, it can cause damage. See our guide on how loud is loud.
Not at all. There are lots of different types of earplugs available including universal fit plugs. These decrease the decibel level of the music but maintain the clarity so you can hear it really well and protect your ears from damage at the same time. For more information, see our page on earplugs.
Earplugs shouldn’t be difficult to fit, but whatever the earplug, you need to make sure you fit them correctly to ensure they protect you properly. Read the instructions they come with and if you need extra help, look on YouTube as there are several videos which will help.
Absolutely! It’s really important that you don’t listen to music that’s too loud for too long. Most phones and MP3 players have a limiter or will give you a warning if you are listening at too loud a level.
A decibel dB(A) is a unit of measurement that indicates how loud a sound is. Noise becomes unsafe without the use of hearing protection at 85dB(A).
See our guide on how loud is loud for examples of different sounds and environments and their safe exposure times. You might be surprised at what is and isn’t safe.
There are apps available which monitor for sound levels.
Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a sound when there is no external source for that sound. Someone with tinnitus may hear ringing, buzzing, hissing, whistling or other noises. The sensation can be there all the time or come and go. The volume of the noises heard can vary from one episode to the next.
Tinnitus can change – it can become louder, softer, can change in pitch and/or type of sound. This is normal. Audiology professionals consider ‘worse’ to mean that it has become more of a problem. This can happen if there is further damage to your hearing.
Definitely not! A lot of people with normal hearing have tinnitus.
But to avoid further damage, reduce your exposure to noise by wearing earplugs in noisy places.