With summer comes the period of festivals and concerts. If you pay attention, everywhere in France there are festivals every week. A moment of joy, celebration and sharing that can quickly leave irreversible marks on your hearing.
As you may know, sound intensity is expressed in decibels on a scale ranging from 0 dB(A), the threshold of human hearing, to around 120 dB(A). At 0 dB, we pick up the sounds of our body: heartbeat, joints, blood circulation… Between 30 and 40 dB(A) the noise is equivalent to a quiet office or a bedroom. Beyond, the noises begin to create stress and fatigue in people who hear it. At 80 dB(A), that’s the equivalent of heavy traffic. Since August 2017, concerts are limited to a maximum volume of 102 dB, compared to 105 dB previously.
You should know that the danger threshold is estimated at 85 dB. The hearing sensitivity varies from person to person. From buzzing to irreversible deafness, exposing yourself to too loud music for too long damages or even destroys hair cells.
Hearing: learning to make sound pauses
To avoid deafness, tinnitus or hyperacusis, it is better to protect yourself well by going to a festival. According to ARS Normandy, 8% of the population is affected by hyperacusis. Young people under 35 are the most affected.
The first trick is to equip yourself with earplugs. Many festivals offer them free of charge at the entrance to the site. That doesn’t mean you’re going to cut yourself off from the world and hear nothing from your gigs. Quite the contrary! Earplugs are hearing protection. They maximize comfort by reducing noise pollution. It is also possible to wear a noise canceling headphones. They are not just for children, some even offer active noise reduction thanks to a microphone that picks up outside noise, which is reversed by an electronic circuit. This prevents the wave from reaching the ear.
Try to the maximum of you move away from speakers. If you are a little further away, you will hear just as well.
Finally, plan to do real sound breaks. It is recommended to take breaks, of at least 15 minutes in quieter places, without music, to rest your ears. It will be much nicer to get back into the noise once you’ve given your hearing a quiet break.