Can You Hear What They Hear?
It’s no secret that China has some of the LOUDEST clubs in the world. Without volume regulations strictly enforced across the venues nationwide, the speakers tend to get pushed to the max. I always wondered how much this affects, let alone damages, my ears, especially the amount of shows I goto on a monthly basis. To find out more, PYRO sat down with local hearing center New Wave – European Hearing Solutions to learn more about the causes and repercussions of excessive volume listening either from a loud club or through our headphones. I learned a shocking amount of knowledge that I felt I should share with my fellow electronic music lovers, whether its EDM or Techno – you only have one set of ears and there is no going back after they’re damaged.
“I have seen many musicians and DJ’s in my hearing center in Shanghai and most of them have one thing in common: TINNITUS or already a mild hearing loss in the high frequencies range. I hope that the below information will help you to start taking care of your hearing as once it’s damaged it’s impossible to repair it.
Noise-induced hearing loss
Whether you are exposed to factory noise or listening to music, risk to hearing arises from a combination of how loud the sound is and how long you are exposed to it for. If you visit a nightclub that is thumping out music on the dance floor at 100 dB, then after only 10-15 minutes the exposure is potentially damaging.
Exposure to high noise levels often causes temporary deafness – something that many people have experienced after going to a loud gig or nightclub. While hearing usually recovers after a few hours or days, repeated loud exposure leads to permanent hearing damage. Initially, this damage is subtle and unlikely to be noticed by the listener. One of the first symptoms of the hearing damage is tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
The largest study into noise-induced hearing loss in musicians was published in 2014. Three million people were examined, including professional musicians and DJ’s. They found that the musicians were about four times as likely to report a noise-induced hearing loss compared to the general population.
One of the DJ’s who took a part in this study reported:
“I have not been able to hear silence for about four years now. The high-pitched whining that you may temporarily hear after you leave a gig is, for me, a permanent fixture. The worst thing about this is that regardless of the ear protection that I use religiously when DJing these days, I will never be able to repair the damage that’s been done. I simply started using the hearing protection too late. I find this terrifying. The high-pitched whining that you may temporarily hear after you leave a gig is, for me, a permanent fixture.”
“Not a day passes during which I do not worry about my hearing. From the moment that I realised the temporary ringing in my ears was no longer temporary, I have been haunted by an image of myself in which I am sitting with my (yet to be created) children, unable to hear a word they say”
What can be done?
Fortunately, there are steps that musicians can take to reduce their risk.
There are many “musicians ear plugs” available on the market that are a good solution. These decrease sound without completely blocking everything out. Hearing protection comes in different shapes, technology and prices. Some of the earplugs contain a unique sound filter which attenuates excessive noise to a safe level while sound quality remains high. The filter also means that you can communicate with others without having to remove the earplugs.
The best is of course to use the custom made solution tailored to fit your ears as our ears are just as individual and distinct as fingerprints – no two ear canals are exactly the same shape or size, and that means your ears are totally unique.
At NEWWAVE we have a full range of hearing protection available – from the simple foam to the full-custom solution for professional musicians and DJ’s.
DJ CONRANK :
”As a professional producer and DJ, ears are paramount for me. I spent years ignoring the signs and the info and didn’t wear ear plugs. Tinnitus quickly set in. It was around then that I met the New Wave team. I had some custom plugs made and have worn them at events and during my sets ever since. A few years on and my tinnitus is basically gone. I can’t stress how important protecting your ears is nowadays, as system gets louder and music gets heavier”
“Ring Sound No More! Hi this is Tsunano, I suffered from a stage-zero hearing loss, then I was introduced with a full custom-made acoustic Ear Plug by New Wave Team, It solves the problem differently from normal earplugs that has lack of hi-freq transparency, ear tickles or dropping it during my DJ set. The team diagnosed and suggested the most suitable hearing protection. Without the New Wave Team my hearing loss could be even worse and I would regret for the rest of my life.”