Last weekend I went to see Saxon play at Manchester Academy. They’re a heavy metal band, so as you can imagine the gig was pretty loud!
You might wonder why on earth someone with hearing loss and tinnitus would willingly subject themselves to a sustained period of loud noise.
To be honest I wondered about that myself.
But since I’ve recovered my hearing in my good ear I’ve rediscovered my love of music in a big way. And while I could sit at home and listen to Saxon on the stereo, there’s something about the atmosphere of a gig that is irreplaceable.
So I went. BUT I was as careful as I could be to safeguard my hearing and reduce any tinnitus spike. And it was awesome!
Here are my top 5 tips for enjoying a gig without compromising your hearing health:
Stay away from the speakers. I stood as far away from the speakers as I could, and I could still feel the bass guitar thudding through my body. Can you imagine what damage it could do to those tiny hairs in your cochlea if you stood on top of the sound?
Try taking your hearing aids out. Yes, I recognise that seems completely counter-intuitive when the point of you being there is to listen. But, unless you are severe/profoundly deaf you’ll still hear the music. If you can’t take them out, turn the volume down.
Put ear plugs in. If you have an ear that doesn’t need a hearing aid, keep it that way. Get some earplugs that are specifically made for listening to music rather than blocking out noise. They knock the volume down without making the sound muffled or distorted and are barely visible in the ear. Starting from as little as £12 a pair they’re definitely a worthwhile investment.
Take hearing breaks. Escape from the gig for a few minutes every so often to give your ears some respite from the noise. Nip to the loo. Go to the bar. Grab 5 minutes of fresh air.
Keep it quiet the next day. Even if you’ve taken all the steps above, your ears will still have had a bit of a workout the day before and will appreciate a bit of a rest.
Do you love listening to live music? How do you protect your hearing? Let us know in the comments below.