Did You Hear That?

Rock concertI love live music. There’s no greater feeling for me than sharing a musical experience with a bunch of strangers. People of all different backgrounds connect through their love of music.

I’ve been seeing live shows now for about 10 years. I’ve seen bands play in 40,000 seat stadiums and clubs with a 500 person capacity. Recently, I had a couple of experiences that got me thinking more critically about taking better care of my hearing at concerts.

I left a show a few months ago and thought an alarm was going off in the distance. When the ringing went away after a few minutes, I realized that there was no alarm; the sound was only in my head. I guess I was standing a bit too close to the speakers…

Fast forward to this past Sunday night after another concert, where I had a hard time hearing anything at all. Quite a different effect from my last experience of post-show ringing-in-the-ears. It was on Sunday night that I made an official pledge to myself (and my ears). I’ve thought about doing this in the past, but this time it’s for real. From here on out, I will wear ear plugs when I go to concerts. Now that my pledge is documented, I’m far more likely to follow through, and I’ll be sure to post a review of my first ear plug experience.

Trust me, I love loud music. In fact, I’ve always felt that there’s some music that must be played loud. However, my ability to hear is much more important. I read an article recently that stated that 1 in 5 adolescents in the United States has hearing loss. Not only can this can impact your performance in school, it can leave you far more likely to develop more serious hearing issues as you get older.

I’m twenty six years old and not trying to lose my hearing by the age of thirty. Even if you’re 13, 17, or 21, I recommend you join me. Do yourself a favor – wear ear plugs to shows (especially if you know you’ll be close to the speakers), and turn down your iPod… just a few notches. Your ears will thank you later.

-Daniel, Young Men’s Health Task Force