Have you ever received free hearing protection as you walked into a club or set foot on festival grounds?
Some of you may recognize this. If you do, chances are you threw the earplugs away right on the spot, contributing to the heaps of festival litter (or into a bin, but that’s a rare sight). Because why would people wear earplugs?
You’re correct if you think this kind of cheap hearing protection is not the best out there. But it’s something – especially when provided for free.
The better alternative would be to bring your own, high-quality earplugs. But it seems that anyone who owns a good pair is a musician, or already suffers from a constant ringing in their ears. Which means they were too late.
Occasionally you come across someone that cares about hearing protection. He or she consistently brings high quality earplugs to shows and festivals.
But whenever that someone takes out their earplugs while entering a club or approaching a festival stage, there’s always one question that’s immediately asked: “Hey, what do you need those for?”.
Hearing loss grows under young people
Ironic, isn’t it? People uninformed about the dangers of loud music could be the most in need of protection. Apparently not everyone knows that loud noises can damage your hearing permanently. This is somewhat the main reason why people wear earplugs.
There’s always a lot of people raving around without using hearing protection. Just so you know, standing near the front speakers is going to have an impact!
The World Health Organization (WHO) researched hearing loss among young people (ages 12- 35). They concluded that 1,1 billion young people (that’s 1 in 10 people worldwide) are at risk of hearing loss due to exposure to noise in recreational settings. Numbers don’t lie, it’s very important to raise awareness for this problem and communicate solutions.
Why people don’t wear earplugs
People seem to believe that earplugs are either cheap and bad, or good and expensive. This is not true! Yes, free foam earplugs can ruin the music experience. And yes, a set of custom made earplugs is quite expensive.
Luckily for you, there are earplugs out there that are both affordable and high in quality. Consider getting yourself a nice-looking pair.
Try asking someone at the festival why they don’t use hearing protection. They will probably make up some lame excuse… and you may be guilty of doing this yourself! Here are the 4 most common excuses people make up to avoid hearing protection.
“They look stupid”
We agree – some earplugs aren’t the most fashionable item to wear. But you’re thinking of those huge, colored foam earplugs. They make you look like an extra from a lost ‘Teletubbies’ episode.
Usually distributed for free at the concert, club or festival, these plugs are far from the best. But if you plan on moving towards the front of the stage to get blown away by the music, you might aswell accept them. And put them to use.
Of course, they can kind of kill the experience. It’s no surprise the ground is littered with these soon after the show starts.
Maybe you are trying to impress that chick/dude you like? It might become a little difficult with two big orange bulbs sticking out of your ears. But going on a date where you both have to resort to sign language sounds (pun intended) worse!
Another example are those antenna-like earplugs. They have a universal fit and usually go for a small price. If you’re not a fan of the Teletubbie-look, you could give these a try for that perfect alien-like vibe!
Luckily, these fashion-related issues are not found in every earplug out there. Some are actually good-looking! You can buy yourself a cool and attention-grabbing pair. Or if you prefer less obvious ones, there are quite some different kinds of discreet plugs out there. So this excuse? Lame!
“Good hearing protection is too expensive”
You won’t receive high-end earplugs for free at the entrance of a venue, that much is true. Getting professional plugs and having them tailored to your ears will cost you quite a bit.
But everything in between is doable! A set of Loop acoustic filters costs you about one night of partying. In exchange for a lifetime of good hearing. Besides, if we come across you while clubbing wearing a fine pair of Loops, you’ll get a beer from us. Promise!
Something that troubles a lot of people is how comfortable earplugs are. If you have experienced cheap earplugs that feel like shit, you might not be easily convinced to get some new ones.
But any good earplug that takes itself seriously has an eartip that adjusts itself for a great fit. And isn’t as expensive as people believe.
Even then, retaining your ability to hear should be worth a tiny investment, don’t you think? Unless you plan on paying for hearing aid later on. Which is a big investment. Our verdict: Lame!
“It’s not cool”
You know what else is not cool? Losing one of your five basic senses. Going deaf by the age of 40 while you could have prevented it, isn’t going to make you popular.
We’re all about equality and respect everyone’s opinion. But taking hearing protection seriously is the best opinion. It’s true, it’s great.
Your friends laugh at you for being the only one in the group that brings earplugs to the concert? Get better friends. Just kidding. Slap them around the head a few times. Kidding again. Educate them on the dangers of hearing damage (this is a good place to start). Or risk not hearing them at all anymore. Thinking hearing protection is kinda lame, is kinda lame.
“I forgot. I’ll bring them next time!”
It’s possible that you, in all honesty, indeed forgot to bring them with you. But you didn’t intend to bring them anyway, did you? Gotcha!
Well, if you have a pair lying around somewhere, whether it’s a cheap or expensive one; good job. At some point, you cared about your ears, so you can care about them again!
Please take care of your ears. You’d be surprised how many people suffer hearing damage. Listening to music is such an enjoyable experience, make sure you can keep doing it.
In the end, saying you “forgot” if you don’t care about hearing protection (and have never actually used your earplugs), may be the lamest excuse of them all! You better actually bring them next time.
Why use hearing protection?
In many cases you won’t notice hearing troubles immediately. You can’t ignore the fact there are examples of acute hearing loss, but for most people it’s not. We’ve all been there. After a nice evening with a lot of loud music, dancing and chatter, the next morning you experience ‘ringing ears’. Give your ears some rest to let the ringing ease away. Don’t keep exposing yourself to loud music without protection. You’ll risk that the ringing will stay. This could be the first stage of tinnitus. The danger with this type of hearing loss is that the damage done won’t heal. Researchers work everyday to find a cure to solve this. Sadly, no cure exists yet.
Hopefully by now you realize hearing protection isn’t a luxury and is more of becoming a must. If you want to keep enjoying music, it’s time to start protecting your hearing, one of your most basic human senses. Most people seem to realize that exposure to loud noise for a long time results in permanent damage. But it seems like nobody believes it will happen to them.
Summer is coming (whatever Jon Snow keeps saying) so there’s a bunch of good times ahead! Make sure you can enjoy them to the fullest. If you’re the type of guy/girl that likes to dress up for festivals, get yourself some colorful plugs to match your outfit. If you prefer discrete ones, you still have options galore.
It might not be too late for you; time for a test. Time to take hearing protection seriously, level up your (night)life, and time to stop being lame. Barney Stinson’s best advice: be awesome. True story.