Photo from: Bassnectar.net
For any music lover, few things in life are sweeter than attending a live concert. Whether you’re a diehard fan in the front row, a casual fan standing in the back, an audio engineer mixing side-stage or even the lead singer standing center-stage with all eyes on you, few things are more enjoyable than watching (and hearing!) your favorite songs be masterfully put together and performed right before your very own eyes. From hearing the roar of thousands of love-struck screaming groupies, to seeing the jaw-dropping perfection of some of the most detailed light shows onstage that one could ever imagine, there’s simply nothing like experiencing the environment of a live concert in person. With so many pros, it’s hard to think of too many cons to attending a live musical performance, however no matter what type of music is being performed, or where you are located within any given venue, there’s one potential consequence of attending live shows that all concert-goers should always keep in the back of their mind: HEARING LOSS!
According to the Hearing Health Foundation, nearly 50 million Americans are currently affected by some form of hearing loss, and more than half of those individuals - all from the ages of 20 to 69 - specifically suffer from Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). NIHL can occur suddenly when the ear is exposed to a single high impulse noise, such as a gunshot, or it can occur gradually as the ear is exposed to numerous harmful noises over an extended period of time. Noise levels are usually considered to start becoming potentially dangerous or hazardous when they surpass about 80 to 85 decibels (dBs), a fact that all musicians and concert-lovers should be aware of considering it’s not uncommon for live concerts to reach levels of 120 dBs or higher! While the amount of time exposed to hazardous noise obviously plays an integral part in determining just how damaging any given noise can be to an individual’s hearing, it’s not hard to imagine what the potential consequences could be of regularly attending live performances for hours on end without any hearing protection.
So what’s a music lover to do, stop going to live shows?!? We all know that sort of talk is nothing short of blasphemous, so we’ve got a better idea: get some TRU hearing protection from Westone! Our TRU line of hearing protection can be used in a variety of settings, however these amazing earpieces were originally designed specifically with music lovers in mind. Utilizing advanced acoustic filter technology, TRU earpieces have been critically tuned to reduce volume while still maintaining sound quality in a variety of potentially loud settings. For performing musicians, this means that even on stage with your amp “turned up to eleven”, you will still be able to hear from your surroundings clearly as you would without any earpieces in, however everything you hear will just be at a lower and safer dB level. For both diehard fans and average concert-goers on the other hand, this means you’ll still get the fulfilling, clear concert listening experience that you’ve grown accustomed to, but at a much safer volume for your ears. With multiple interchangeable filter options to choose from, TRU earpieces really do give all users more control of just how much attenuation is provided by their earpieces, and how much their normal hearing is affected once their filtered earpieces are inserted.
Our lineup of TRU filter options can be broken down into two separate groups of filters: WM Professional filters and WR Recreational filters. WM filters are the best attenuating options for performing musicians, stage crew members, audio engineers, fans sitting in the front row or really anyone at a concert who is in close proximity to the stage, whereas our WR filters are better-suited for the average concert attendee who isn’t too close to the stage, but still wants to ensure their hearing is well-protected throughout the duration of any loud shows. While our WR TRU filters only come out of the box in a single 20 dB option with universal-fit earpieces, our WM filters consist of 10 dB, 16 dB, 20 dB and 25 dB options for both universal and custom-fit earpieces.
Few things are more imperative to a music-lover, especially a performing musician, than their hearing. If you have been performing in or attending live concerts regularly for quite some time, you may have already experienced some hearing loss without even knowing it. Once you begin to lose your hearing, there’s unfortunately no way to repair the damage that has already been done, so for a performing musician who relies on their hearing to make a living, hearing loss can eventually become a potentially career-altering condition. Here at Westone, a surprisingly large segment of our staff is made up of musicians who have experience performing at live events, and in turn, some experience dealing with hearing loss. But don’t just take our word for it, take the word of Greg Morgan, a retired military vet, shredding guitarist and Westone employee of over 30 years.
“Being in a garage band is a rite of passage for most musicians if you want to play Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Greg stated when discussing his own experiences as a performing musician, as well as his own struggles with hearing loss. “Some of my fondest memories are from jamming with my buddies; we were making horrible noise by most people’s standards, but we thought we were going to be rock stars. The volume levels can reach ear-splitting levels in a garage or basement, with everybody trying to hear their instrument and inching the volume up ever louder. I would walk away (from band practice) with a tremendous ringing and dullness in my ears however I had no idea what this ringing was, but it would clear up a few hours later and we would do it all over again the next day. Back in those days little was known about noise exposure and its potential effects. Unfortunately, Tinnitus is a part of my everyday life now as the damage was already done.”
Nowadays, Greg doesn’t even contemplate the idea of walking out the door to band practice unless he has his hearing protection with him, however even with the absolute best or most advanced hearing protection option on today’s market, there’s unfortunately no way for Greg to gain back the hearing that he has already lost. While Greg’s custom, filtered earpieces won’t ever bring back his hearing or stop the ringing in his ears, they will prevent these symptoms from getting any worse than they already are. Tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss in which a reoccurring perception of ringing can be heard in the ears, and still to this day, no cure exists for this symptom. While there may be no known cure for tinnitus, there is still a way to prevent tinnitus from ever occurring, which can be accomplished by simply taking good care of your ears now with proper hearing protection!
With the use of proper hearing protection, musicians and music lovers alike can continue to do what they love most without having to worry about the treacherous risk of permanently damaging their hearing due to the hazardous noise levels present at most concerts. With custom earpieces, as well as cheaper, universal-fit options, our TRU hearing protection line is sure to have an affordable option that’s just right for you and your own specific hearing protection needs. And with every individual TRU filter being the same size and having the same dimensions as all others, TRU filters are interchangeable regardless of whether you have a pair of custom earpieces, or a pair of our pink, blue or smoke-colored universal-fit earpieces.
As has already been stated at the beginning of this post, there’s nothing quite like the sights and sounds of attending a concert. Attending live musical performances is something that people can enjoy from adolescence through adulthood, that is unless hearing loss becomes an issue and starts to deprive your ears slowly but surely of what they love hearing most.
So don’t put yourself through the trials and tribulations of living with hearing loss, but instead stay TRU to what you love and what you love doing by getting some TRU hearing protection today!