Ringing ears after a night out? You have damaged your hearing!
Anyone who has gone to a concert or nightclub has probably experienced a ringing sound in the ears. This usually goes away after a couple of days, but it is annoying and bothersome nevertheless. People normally shrug it off, claiming it’s nothing to be concerned about, as loud music is an integral part of going out. The sound can often exceed 100 dB, the same as a helicopter taking off. At this level, you can only be unprotected for 15 minutes without risking damage. Ear plugs handed out at a concert are accepted, only to immediately be stuffed in a pocket and forgotten about. Public opinion is that the simple foam plugs impair the music quality, disrupt your appearance and are uncomfortable to wear.
However, that ringing in your ears is actually a sign that your hearing has been damaged, and this should not be overlooked.
Imagine going on vacation, and looking forward to the sun and warm weather. The first day, you get sunburned, as your skin isn’t used to this amount of sunlight exposure. The best thing to do after a sunburn is to stay out of the sun the following days, to let our skin heal, but we often continue to sunbathe. Over time, being sunburned over and over increases the risk of skin cancer dramatically. This situation could be used as an analogy for hearing. Imagine going to a concert you have been looking forward to for a while. The following day, you get a ringing sound in your ears. This is actually tinnitus, and even though it is annoying, most of us overlook it. In this case, the best thing to do would be to avoid loud sounds for a while. Ignoring this need for restitution for the ears can lead to permanent hearing damage.
After exposure to very loud sound, you may temporarily experience hearing loss. This is known as a Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS), and may occur with tinnitus. While it can be uncomfortable and frightening, it will usually pass, but it can also be an ear-opening experience that makes people take their hearing more seriously. Permanent Threshold Shift (PTS) is, as it implies permanent hearing loss. WHO estimates that 1,1 billion young people are at risk for hearing loss because of exposure to loud sound in situations such as concerts, nightclubs and personal audio devices. This number is staggeringly high, compared to the level of awareness around the problem.
The most effective way to prevent damage is by using hearing protection. Even the basic ones given to you are better than nothing, even though they muffle the sound. If you experience tinnitus after a night out, it is important to avoid loud sounds for a few days. Just like restitution is important in sports, your ears need to rest and recover. If you experience tinnitus multiple times as a result of loud music, you are on the highway to developing permanent hearing loss.
One of our goals at Minuendo is to create a product that protects the ears from harmful levels of sound, while not just maintaining, but even enhancing the music quality. So we wish to make the concert experience enjoyable without negatively impacting your hearing. Some alternatives addressing these issues already exist, but people still get hearing damage. Our goal is to create the superior product in this category, which will be so comfortable and appealing that it is used all the time and therefore provides full, actual protection.