Why do concert venues promote high-volume, applified noise? At least that’s what over-amped loudspeakers at dance clubs, bars, and auditoriums cause us to ask, as people who want to preserve our hearing.
In 1971, I attended a Led Zeppelin concert in Kansas City, if I recall correctly, my pals and I sat in mid-tier seating so we could see the band yet not so close that we’d get blasted by the sound system. From the get-go the sound became a steady, screaming roar. I could barely make out the words to the songs and it was difficult to differentiate between the non-drum instruments and singing. After the concert, my hearing was muffled the way things sound when you’re submersed in a swimming pool. It was quite alarming trying to hear my friends in normal conversation in the car ride home. The ringing in my ears lasted at least three days. Thankfully, I regained normal hearing in less than a week.
From that point onward, I’ve made sure to use earplugs everytime I attend a live music concert or go out to the disco or a nightclub. Even with ear protection, some excess noise leaks through–causing my ears to ring the following day. The same caution is used whenever I mow the yard or use noisy motorized equipment. The precautions have paid off in that I always pass hearing tests with flying colors.
There is one caveat, I do experience occasional tinnitus. The ear-ringing begins without warning and lasts all day. Perhaps the ringing has something to do with either high or low blood-sugar due to diabetes. I’ve discussed this possibilty with my physician. He noted that this is possible and said he’ll look into it further in my case. The doctor suggested that tinnitus’ onset is probably due to numerous factors such as aging and my exposure to high levels of sound earlier in life. He was glad that I use good earplugs whenever I use heavy equipment or go out on the town.
An informal survey noted that most people have experienced at least a mild version of tinnitus. This seems to indicate that tinnitus suffering lies along a spectrum. Not everyone hears the same frequency of ringing nor at the same apparent volume. Some of us can mask the ringing with a sound generator, other people continue to hear ringing while in noisy environments. When my tinnitus becomes distracting, I use the “surf” sound effect generated by “The Sharper Image” device that is parked on my desk. Many electronics companies market similar devices for consumer use.
“Currently I am sitting passenger in a car, 110-km per hour on a 7 hour road trip. The road noise, passing trucks and more is LOUD but my ultra high pitch tinnitus is just screaming over the top. I am so depressed. There seems no end to this hell.”–annonymous commenter on an Internet tinnitus forum
I feel sorry for anyone who has severe tinnitus. I can only hope that neuroscience can develop effective treatments and a remedy for the condition. Meanwhile, some suspected causes of tinnitus include repeated exposure to loud sounds; earwax blockage; abnormal blood flow in vessels close to the ears; heart problems; or any number of various rare conditions. If you are concerned about chronic tinnitus, a consultation with your physician is in order.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Scottish percussionist, Evelyn Glennie. “Hearing is a form of touch. You feel it through your body, and sometimes it almost hits your face.”
I can understand and relate to these problems with noise and tinnitus very well. The number of people who suffer from it is much higher than is generally assumed. We read a lot about environmental pollution, even light pollution, but little attention is paid to the issue of noise pollution. What’s more, it’s become quite common for people to yell into their phones in the most unlikely of places, to give just one example.
Oh yes, phone yellers disturb the public silence I love whenever I go shopping.
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…so CHOOSE!!! and DECIDE!!! EveryBody because that is where YOUR!!! Happyness is Determined from; sure, Emotions like Guilt, Shame and Embarrassment may be involved…but that is NOT!!! YOUR!!! Problem; it is Their Solution-in-Waiting…
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💎 – Diamond Hard – 💎
Your post reminded me of my tinnitus. It is something that mostly goes unnoticed. Everything starts falling apart as we age.
Thankfully, my tinnitus is at a bearable pitch. It didn’t start until I moved to the USA, just a few years after leaving my job in Brazil at a noise intensive industrial factory of refined leather for upholstery.
Industry is finally realizing that ear-protection is a vital need for workers.
I have always had very sensitive ears and could never stand loud noises. No tinnitus yet for me, but I’m sure its coming.
Ear protection is our friend.
I’ve just developed some tinnitus recently at 58. I can hear the high-pitch of the passing air-molecules now. Ugh.
That’s an apt description.
Earplugs for loud concerts. Never thought of that. Great idea!
Yes, they are cheap insurance.
What an amazing quote from the profoundly deaf Evelyn Glennie!
I don’t recall when my tinnitus started, perhaps in my 50s, but I’m thankful that now in my 70s it is still like the “white noise” you would get when you turned off the television set (of the original valve variety).
I remember watching a TED Talk where Glennie used a xylophone to demonstrate her thesis.