Over the course of the next 15 years or so I'd go to parties/concerts/bars/clubs featuring music that was usually too loud for comfort. But for whatever reason, it never occurred to me to extend my ear-protecting practices outside of the realm of playing live music. And so, like everybody else who spends time in such environments, sometimes I'd come home with a bit of transitory tinnitus, that ringing in the ears that accompanies you in the quiet hours before you sleep it off. I didn't like it, but for reasons passing understanding I didn't do anything about it.
Then came the night I was outside at a party where I would have been having a lovely time, save that the DJ had his system cranked up way past what was necessary—or even tolerable for the likes of me, despite the fact that I was nowhere near a speaker. Finally it occurred to me that I didn't have to sit and take it. I went to the bathroom to fetch some toilet paper, which I wadded up and shoved in my ears. It wasn't an ideal solution, particularly from a fashion perspective, but it helped me to enjoy the rest of my evening far more than I would have otherwise.
That was the first step on the path to where I am today, which is being a person who has earplugs with him almost everywhere he goes. What amazes me is why I find myself such a rarity. Because you people are killing your ears.
You don't need to know anything about acoustics or anatomy to understand the correlation between sound and hearing damage: expose yourself to too much high-volume noise, and you damage your hearing.
What is too loud or too much? As you surely have heard, sound is measured in decibels (db). Normal conversation, for example, is around 60 db. The baseline for damage comes above 85 db without ear protection. That's about the volume of your blender. But you need not pop in earplugs every time you make a smoothie, unless it takes you more than eight hours to get the consistency you like.
As you know from experience, what you hear at a concert or club is far louder than your blender. A list compiled by Purdue University puts "live rock music" between 108 and 114 db. At that level, unprotected exposure for more than 15 minutes puts you in danger of doing damage.
If that gives you pause because you know you've exposed yourself such volumes for far longer than that, it should, since it very possibly means that your hearing is not what it would be otherwise. But because hearing damage is cumulative (excepting cases when a sound is so loud that even momentary exposure is too much), while your hearing won't get better, it certainly can get worse. That's because overly intense air pressure—such as excessive volume—will kill off the hair cells that respond to the vibrations of air that we experience as sound. The more hair cells you kill off, the less you hear.
But that also means you, Señor Soundguy and Doña DJ, cranking your rig far higher than what's necessary for everybody to get down. I like to feel and not just hear the music as much as the next guy, but I'm infuriated by how far over the line most venues push the sliders. I'll be the first to say that protecting one's hearing in such environments is a question of personal responsibility. Nonetheless, is "I'm not my brother's keeper" really a good argument for knowingly exposing your clientele to physical peril?
The irony of the overloud is that it sounds like shit relative to a mix that is respectful of the particular space in which the music is being played. Get a good sound mix and you can hear all of the elements in play; get a bad one and they get crammed together in a big mush; pump up the volume too high and everything distorts. Even were our ears invincible, from an aesthetic point of hearing you'd do better to impress us with the clarity of your PA than with its power. A troglodyte can crank it up to 11; it takes an artist to find the perfect balance.
Fortunately, a few live-music venues here and there have gotten proactive for their patrons, providing earplugs for events they expect to be particularly loud. It's still a rarity (personally, I've been to a total of two events where earplugs were provided—both at a same venue that is notorious for blaring music so loudly that on multiple occasions I've been driven out despite my earplugs), but some is better than none.
However, you can't rely on anyone to protect your hearing for you. On dozens of occasions at a club or concert someone has seen me all earplugged up and said, "Smart!" What I would reply in those moments, were the music not so loud that it drowned out the possibility of real conversation, is that they, too, can do themselves the same favor I'm doing myself. Foam earplugs can be had online or at stores like Target and Rite Aid for ______. You can stick pairs in your purse, your wallet, your glovebox, the case for whatever instrument you play.
In short, you can enjoy loud music and come home none the worse for wear. Why have it otherwise? With natural aging come challenges aplenty. There's no reason to make it harder on your future self.
But that goes for the music you hear at home, too—or more likely while jogging, at the gym, etc. We're talking about earbuds, bud. According to the American Osteopathic Association, "Today, 1 in 5 teens has some form of hearing loss—a rate about 30% higher than it was in the 1980s and 1990s—which many experts believe is due, in part, to the increased use of headphones."
It's great to get lost in music, but you don't have to suffer hearing loss to do it. More is not always better. Excess tends to lead to diminishing returns. Don't make your ears a case in point."
Source: Greggory Moore, Harming Your Hearing: The Obvious Hows and Whys To Which Many People are Deaf, HealthWorldNet.com,
Don't Hate Me Because I Can't Hear You
Over the last few years, I've noticed my hearing is starting to go. I'm constantly asking people to repeat themselves. At restaurants, I have to lean in and strain to decipher the conversation, and at home, my kids regularly tease me about my hearing, shouting out non-sequiturs like "Louisiana Purchase" or "Barack Obama" to illustrate how far off I am with my guesses at what they've just said.
Personal Health: Lifelines for People With Hearing Loss
Hearing loss, a disability currently untreated in about 85 percent of those affected, may be the nation’s most damaging and costly sensory handicap. It is a hidden disability, often not obvious to others or even to those who have it.
The Real Sounds Of Hearing Loss
It's easy enough to restore 20/20 eyesight with glasses or contacts. But even state-of-the-art digital hearing aids can't perfectly restore hearing for people whose inner ears have been damaged by noise exposure, medications or just the wear and tear of aging.
Acoustic Neuroma Association
Acoustic Neuroma Association is a patient organization established in 1981 to provide education and support to those diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma. This rare tumor is benign and is located on the hearing and balance nerve. The first symptoms include hearing loss, tinnitus, balance issues and a feeling of fullness in the affected ear.
Action on Hearing Loss
We want a world where hearing loss doesn’t limit or label people, where tinnitus is silenced – and where people value and look after their hearing.
American Board of Audiology
Founded in 1999, the American Board of Audiology® (ABA) is an autonomous organization dedicated to enhancing audiological services to the public. We work closely with expert practitioners across the globe to create universally recognized standards in professional audiology practice.
American Cochlear Implant Alliance
ACI Alliance unites the medical community, patients, families, advocates and other professionals to improve the acceptance of and access to cochlear implants for one simple reason: to help enrich people's lives.
American Hearing Research Foundation
Founded in 1956 by Dr. George E. Shaumbaugh, Jr. in Chicago, The American Hearing Research Foundation serves two vital roles: to fund significant research in hearing and balance disorders, and to help educate the public about hearing loss and balance disorders related to the inner ear.
American Society for Deaf Children
ASDC is the premier source of information for people who must make decisions about deaf children: providers, educators, legislators, and advocates.
American Tinnitus Association
The American Tinnitus Association – Committed to a Cure.
ATA is a global leader in the effort to find a cure for tinnitus. We bring together patients, researchers, healthcare professionals, industry partners and lawmakers to develop tinnitus management tools and fund vital tinnitus research.
Deaf and hearing people worldwide want to learn and enjoy American Sign Language – ASL. Our vision here at ASL Access is to promote public access to ASL.
Association of Late Deafened Adults
ALDA strives, as it continues to grow, to provide education, role models and support for late-deafened adults. ALDA also advocates on behalf of late-deafened adults in promoting public and private programs that support their needs, and encourages research into the various aspects of late-deafness.
A leading online resource for news, information, careers and continuing education for audiology and the hearing care industry.
Better Hearing Institute
This website is our effort to help you on your journey to better hearing. We’re certain that the trip will be well worth your while.
British Deaf Association
As a member-led organisation, our work is focused on achieving equality for Deaf people through community empowerment, membership and campaigning. Working with local Deaf and BSL Communities is crucial to the success of BDA campaigns and creates opportunities for Deaf people to develop, participate and contribute in wider society.
Canadian Hard of Hearing Association
CHHA is a consumer-based organization formed by and for hard of hearing Canadians. CHHA works cooperatively with professionals, service providers and government bodies, and provides information about hard of hearing issues and solutions. CHHA is Canada's only nation-wide non-profit consumer organization run by and for hard of hearing people.
Canadian Hearing Society
Founded in 1940, the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) is a charitable agency and the leading provider of services, products, and information that remove barriers to communication, advance hearing health, and promote equity for people who are culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened and hard of hearing
Canine Companions for Independence
Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.
To equip children with hearing loss and their families with a foundation for lifelong learning through listening and spoken language and to build productive partnerships in research, professional training, and collaborative outreach programs to promote best practices in language learning for children with hearing loss.
Over 250,000 people have been where you are right now. Face to face with their own hearing loss. Or that of a loved one. Of course they were anxious, who wouldn’t be? But they all took a deep breath and made the decision to hear now and always. And we’ll help you do the same.
CochlearImplantHELP is here to help you wherever you are in your cochlear implant journey. Whether you are just starting to research about a cochlear implant online, or are a seasoned user looking for ways to connect to your favorite piece of electronic equipment,
Communication Service for the Deaf
CSD exists to address communication inequalities in the Deaf Community. There's nothing else that means more to us than communication access.
Deaf Children Australia
DCA was established formally in 1862 to support the needs of families raising children who are deaf. DCA is one of Australia’s longest serving charities and our organisation continues to build upon our reputation for quality services and innovation.
DeafEd.net and Hands & Voices and are proud to be co-partnering on this web site. We hope that this collaboration will work to support the educational possibilities provided to children who are deaf/hard of hearing.
Deaf Linx is your resource for information on deafness, deaf culture, American Sign Langauge (ASL) and all other related topics. Deaf Linx firmly believes that deafness is not a disability, but a condition that produces a sub-culture that should be celebrated.
This IMB DeafPeoples site encourages and empowers Deaf Christians to participate in Deaf mission efforts. Why? So Deaf people from every Sign Language and Deaf nation can know and worship Jesus Christ as Lord.
Deaf Resource Library
The Deaf Resource Library is a virtual library -- an online collection of reference material and links intended to educate and inform people about Deaf cultures in Japan and the United States; as well as deaf and hard of hearing related topics. While I have a bias towards cultural Deaf models, I have tried to include more material about hard of hearing issues as well.
Deaf Strategies has been designed with hearing impaired people in mind. It brings together strategies that people with a hearing loss have found helpful to them in a variety of situations. We hope that people will be able to dip into this pot of ideas and take what they feel they will find useful, much like the bee in the photo below takes the nectar from the poppy.
Deaf Studies Trust
DST is a national charity set up for the benefit of the Deaf community in the UK. It aims to apply research-based knowledge to practical issues for Deaf children and adults. It works also with hard of hearing adults.
Your center for deaf awareness, deaf culture and deaf resources.
Your Gateway to the Deaf Community.
Welcome to A-Z to Deafblindness. Please feel free to come in and browse around.
Welcome to DeafDOC.org, where the difficult is easy…the impossible takes just a little longer! DeafDOC.org is your site for free, reliable health information for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) community, health and educational providers, interpreters, and partnerships worldwide.
Founded in 2003 by brothers Joel and Jed Barish, DeafNation, Inc. is the international leader in video content, news coverage, social networking and special events for the greater deaf and hard-of-hearing community. The company’s brand portfolio includes DeafNation Expo, an annual tour of 10-15 expos all over the United States and deafnation.com, an exclusive social network offering resources for the deaf and hard-of-hearing such as blogs and online videos that provide in-depth coverage on current news, famous world activities and outstanding individuals.
DeafNotes.com is DEAF.com’s message-board site. It’s a free public forum where participants can discuss controversial issues and topics of interest to the Deaf community, and ask questions. There are several forums focusing on issues from a Deaf perspective, and departments for "just-for-fun" posts, too. All forums are moderated.
DeafPals is a free social networking site for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing. It makes it easier to browse and locate Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing people from all over the world.
The first TV show and website in American Sign Language.
Welcome to DeafSpot: The Deaf Community Online
Editor: Tom Willard
Deafweekly is an independent news report for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community that is mailed to subscribers on Wednesdays and available to read at www.deafweekly.com. These are the actual headlines and portions of recent deaf-related news articles, with links to the full story.
Dogs for the Deaf
Dogs for the Deaf, Inc.'s mission is to rescue and professionally train dogs to help people and enhance lives, maintaining a lifelong commitment to all dogs we rescue and all people we serve.
ExceptionalNurse.com is a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 resource network committed to inclusion of more people with disabilities in the nursing profession. By sharing information and resources, ExceptionalNurse.com hopes to facilitate inclusion of students with disabilities in nursing education programs and foster resilience and continued practice for nurses who are, or become, disabled.
Foundation For Sight and Sound
The Foundation For Sight and Sound's mission is to enhance the quality of life for men, women and children with vision and/or hearing impairments.”
Gate Communications is a local and national not-for-profit organization serving the greater Deaf Community through the provision of Interpreting, Education, Community Events, and Outreach.
Gray's Deaf Blog
Hi. My name is Graham and I have decided to right a journal about my hearing loss problems and my current adventure into the possibility of getting a Cochlear Implant.
H.E.A.R. Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers is a nonprofit (501c3) organization dedicated to raising awareness of the dangers of noise exposure that can lead to permanent hearing loss and tinnitus. Damage to hearing is typically cumulative and irreversible, not immediately detectable, and it can occur from almost any contemporary music source or event.
Hands & Voices
"Who are we? We are parents of ASL signers, cued speech users.... parents of kids with cochlear implants or total communicators... we are people who have common interests connected through the community of deafness. Hands & Voices is a safe place to explore options, get unemotional support (although we can be emotional about it!), learn from one another and share what we have in common.
Our goal is to use the internet to educate persons about hearing loss and hearing aids, and then encourage them to seek help from a hearing care professional. We do not sell any hearing-related products or devices, nor do we run any hearing aid clinics or provide personal medical advice. We are the leading website information portal for hearing healthcare and we work to provide high-quality content that is understandable and useful to our visitors.
Hear the World Foundation
The foundation’s aim is to create a world in which each person has the chance of good hearing. As leading hearing system manufacturer, Sonova sees its social responsibility as the provision of support to needy people with hearing loss and its involvement in prevention of hearing loss and provision of information.
Hearing Aid Check
A child learning language needs the hearing aids to consistently provide a clear sound that is loud enough for him or her to hear speech. Hearing aids can malfunction for a variety of reasons, including normal daily wear and tear. The child cannot or may not tell you when there is a problem. Checking the hearing aids every day helps you to know if there is a problem, and reduces the amount of time the child is not hearing well.
Hearing Aid Museum
Welcome to the largest on-line hearing aid museum in the world! When this web site is completed, you will be able to browse through more than 1,300 different hearing aids and related items that have been used down through the years.
Hearing Health Foundation
Hearing Health Foundation's mission is to prevent and cure hearing loss and tinnitus through groundbreaking research.
We are the UK organisation for people with hearing loss & their families. We make it easy to find information, services & support, and to connect with others to share experiences & advice.
Hearing Loss Association of America
HLAA is the nation’s leading organization representing people with hearing loss. According to the National Center for Health Statistics 48 million (20 percent) Americans have some degree of hearing loss making it a public health issue third in line after heart disease and arthritis.
Hearing Tracker was founded by a Doctor of Audiology to help consumers find better hearing aids and better hearing providers. Hearing aids and hearing providers are rated by real patients. This helps ensure more meaningful information for consumers and providers. We're sure we have the best platform available, and we hope you enjoy using it as much as we do.
Hearing Wellbeing has evolved into ensuring the wellbeing of everyone with a hearing issue and making sure relatives and carers know how to make life easy. It started life as a mag called Deaf Wellbeing but the profoundly deaf community does not need us. We are here for everyone with hearing loss (don’t you just hate the word ‘loss’). We have to use the expression as most people type it into Google but we’re moving on with ‘hearing assistance’ and wearing a hearing device! Attitude change is another aim.
Whether you think you have hearing loss or are concerned about a loved one, Hearing-Aid.com has the answers and resources you need.
This site is created by and for people who share the belief that Hearing Health & Technology Matters! Our vision is to provide timely information and lively insights to anyone who cares about hearing loss.
I look so I can Hear
This blog is about living with a hearing loss in London (UK), aiming to raise awareness of various issues surrounding hearing loss.
International Hearing Society
The International Hearing Society (IHS) is a membership association that represents hearing healthcare professionals worldwide. IHS members are engaged in the practice of testing human hearing and selecting, fitting and dispensing hearing instruments and counseling patients.
John Tracy Clinic
JTC is the leading diagnostic and education center for young children with hearing loss. We are the largest private provider of services to families with young children overcoming hearing loss in the world. Our renowned audiology, education and support services have garnered international attention and praise.
Let Them Hear Foundation
The Let Them Hear Foundation helps hearing-impaired individuals to H.E.A.R., specifically those lacking adequate access to funding and healthcare resources. LTHF provides Hearing services for underprivileged American youth; Education for professional and public sectors per cochlear implant hearing healthcare issues and practices; Access development for under-served persons through insurance advocacy and overseas medical missionary efforts; and Research concerning treatment for ear disease and function.
Life In Mute: The Progression Towards Silence
I created this blog to share my journey from the chaotic world of overbearing noise to a place of silence, a place I've been for so long, I often forget just how loud the world really is. Here you can gain insight into my hearing impairment, the latest technology in hearing improvement, hearing aid reviews, hearing health, hearing assistance, and just about anything else that relates to hearing loss, my terror of becoming completely deaf and my adventure as I learn more about deaf culture.
Access to Movie Theaters for Patrons who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Blind or Visually Impaired.
National Association of the Deaf
NAD is the nation's premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America.
National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management
NCHAM serves as the National Resource Center for the implementation and improvement of comprehensive and effective Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) systems. As a multidisciplinary Center, our goal is to ensure that all infants and toddlers with hearing loss are identified as early as possible and provided with timely and appropriate audiological, educational, and medical intervention.
National Center On Deaf-Blindness
As a national technical assistance center funded by the federal Department of Education, NCDB works to improve the quality of life for children who are deaf-blind and their families...
National Family Association for Deaf-Blind
The National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB) is a nonprofit, volunteer-based family association. Our philosophy is that individuals who are deaf-blind are valued members of society and are entitled to the same opportunities and choices as other members of the community.
Oticon Hearing Foundation
Seeks to promote sustainable improvements in access to hearing care for in need people and communities around the world. Through its support of humanitarian endeavors that unite hearing care professionals in a community of caring, the Foundation aims to provide lasting benefits to underserved populations worldwide.
Rotarians for Hearing
Rotarians for Hearing RAG is a resource for Rotarians to provide information, expertise and encouragement to Rotary Clubs, Rotary Districts and Multi-Districts to help them participate in cooperative projects and large scale humanitarian projects to help children and adults with hearing loss.
Royal Association for Deaf People
Welcome to RAD. We promote equality for Deaf people through the provision of accessible services. RAD has been working with sign language users and promoting Deaf people’s rights since 1841.
Signing Online offers web-based courses, designed to effectively teach you American Sign Language (ASL) at your own pace from anywhere using your computer, tablet or smart phone.
The Center for Hearing and Speech
The Center for Hearing and Speech is the only full-service resource in Houston to teach deaf children to listen and speak without the use of sign language. Since 1947, CHS has helped thousands of Houston-area children gain listening, speaking and literacy skills – the tools they need to improve their quality of life and achieve success in society.
The Listen Foundation
The Listen Foundation was founded in 1969 and was the first organization in the world to advocate auditory-verbal therapy (AVT), and remains Colorado’s only parent centered, auditory-based communication approach for teaching children who are deaf and hard of hearing spoken language through listening.
World Federation of the Deaf
WFD’s philosophy is one of equality, human rights and respect for all people, regardless of race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual preference, age and all other differences. WFD supports and promotes in its work the many United Nations conventions on human rights, with a focus on Deaf people who use sign language, and their friends and family.
I was a hard of hearing child who grew up to be a deafened adult. I share and write about deafness, hearing loss and other things I find interesting. I am a 50 something year old woman who could be anyone's mother, grandmother or friend.