By Chloe O’Dell
Going to concerts could perhaps be the landmark of a teenager’s life. Seeing a favorite band live and having the best night to remember, many high school students have been to at least one. However fun the show will be, there’s always going to be that major downside: damaging your hearing.
It’s a known fact that hearing will begin to decline the more we are exposed to high levels of sound. Concerts tend to have between the levels of 110 dB to 140 dB of sound; dB meaning decibels which is the unit to measure sound intensity. Having a normal conversation tends to range 40 dB to 60 dB. Even the iPod earphones students constantly listen to even have the potential to damage hearing. The sound levels at shows exceed 100 dB, Humans can’t be exposed to that high amount of decibels at a concert for long periods of time. That’s why music venues are now promoting free earplugs.
Recently, Minneapolis has passed a rule that all bars and clubs that host live music must provide free earplugs that can block at least 12 decibels. Clubs do not have to use the plugs, but must offer them to the public in some way. According to City Pages, this is believed to be the first ordinance of its kind in the US. Many are on board with the new rule; however, some disagree.
Those that agree with the new rule say that there should be dispensers placed around the venue for people to freely grab the earplugs to still see the show, but not at the price of their hearing. However, those that disagree believe that it is taking away the experience of a live show, drowning the music and covering the sound. Mr. Anderson, head of the theater production, sides with the new rule. He believes that the offering of the free earplugs is great for those who are sensitive to the sound, but he would be against the venues enforcing people to wear them. The venue should offer hearing safety, just so the venue isn’t sued in the case of someone losing their hearing at the time of the show. Mr. Anderson also stretched out to the issue of the safety of the workplace. There are people there who are at the venue for a one-time concert, so the risks of hearing loss aren’t as big of a deal, versus someone who works at the venue who is there every night and constantly exposed to high decibel levels. Senior Hunter Ash plays in an organized band. For every show, he hands out free earplugs and says that they always have them available. Especially when they play in small shows, Hunter doesn’t want anyone getting their eardrums blown because the sound is worse in small packed spaces. It would just provide security and comfort for those.
Those that disagree express that blocking their hearing would take away from the personal experience. Some don’t like to have the earplugs in when they are listening to the music because the audiences’ ears aren’t filled with the entire sound of a live show. The reason people attend the live show is to hear the musicians and band perform in reality, not just by watching a performance through a screen. The people against the free earplugs believe that if someone was concerned about their hearing, then they would bring their own. As for the others who are not concerned at all, then they are not enforced on wearing something to block their enjoyment of the live performance as a whole. The issue about earplugs would be relied on the own individual’s choice to bring some or not.
The issue about hearing loss and concert venues is now becoming a rule that’s enforced by local music venues. The public seem to be on one end or the other. In general, if any concert goer decided to attend a show, whether in a huge stadium or local venue, it’s highly suggested to bring earplugs. Many Huntingtown students are off to enjoy concerts over the summer and some are going to their first show. Wherever the show may be, always be prepared with earplugs. It’ll be a billion times beneficial in the long run.