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Rave Safety: Ear Protection 101

FeatureJames NoonanComment

There’s nothing better than standing in front of your favorite artists at a club or festival. We’re all music lovers and live concerts and raves we attend regularly make up a big part of our weekly routines. It’s an amazing feeling to hear not only your favorite music with that added bass and white noise on huge sound systems to give it that extra ‘oomf ‘ but also the roars of the crowd and general atmosphere. It can be so much MORE than when you’re just sitting at home with your earphones in, rocking out in your own little world.

But how many of you can actually say that you’ve ever thought about what this is actually doing to your ears and general hearing? I mean, seriously, thought about it?

We’ve all been there where we’ve had some of the greatest nights of our lives with some incredible people – laughing, singing and dancing the night away and along to timeless music in crowds that are hundreds and even thousands strong. We’ve then woken up the next day and had a ringing in our ears and thought that we could be going deaf. This is our bodies telling us that we’ve literally overdone it and that something is wrong. 

Ear protection seems to be something that not many people take seriously and is one of the biggest afterthoughts for many of us – however this should be one of our main priorities for a night out!

How many times have you ever seen your favorite DJs or musicians walk onto stage and command their sets without something noticeable in their ears? I mean really think about it! I bet the answer is very few and far between! That’s because this is a dream career for them and if their hearing is shot, it means a swift and early retirement from the thing they love most. They take ear protection extremely seriously, so why shouldn’t you too?

Most club speakers have an average output of 110dB or more, however you’re always going to get one of those artists who doesn’t know or care about noise output and will constantly have his levels hitting the red on the decks – you don’t need to be an expert or music technician to know that this is a serious no no...

Hitting levels like this can seriously damage your hearing and cause major side effects, like a bad case of tinnitus or even partial or total deafness. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, the side effects can last for a couple of days and you can be back to your normal self in no time after some discomfort. However it only takes that one time for the music to be THAT loud that it bursts your ear drums and your hearing is gone forever (it HAS happened sadly enough). This likelihood is dramatically increased the closer you are to those huge speakers! 

Volumes of 137 decibels and upwards have been recorded near music stages at some music festivals and clubs from time to time. Now imagine this…a Jet plane takes off at 140db and standing near this could burst your ear drums and render you deaf for the rest of your life.

Now, you don't have to go out and purchase the most ridiculously expensive special custom-made in-ear plugs. What I AM saying is that just like you wouldn’t go deep sea diving without an oxygen tank, wet suit and googles to protect you… why wouldn't you wear protection to save your hearing from being ruined?

There are many great brands of cheap ear plugs and ear filters out there that can do the job just as well as the ‘leading brands’ on the market and will save you the next day from having to ask people various times what they’ve just said to you as you couldn’t hear!

photo cred: DUBS   

photo cred: DUBS


Personally, I recommend DUBS acoustic ear filters. They’re a great brand of in-ear plugs that don’t just block out the noise and ruin the experience, but filter out the output of noise frequencies to protect your ears while still giving you the overall live experience of music without dulling the quality. Surprisingly, they are really affordable and cool looking – practical and stylish for around $25!! This brand has also had huge support from some big names in the music industry such as Nicky Romero, Richie Hawtin, Mark Ronson, Ellie Goulding and the legend that is Quincy Jones.

Of course, I am conscious of how expensive the musical lifestyle can be. Ticket prices for concerts and festivals can be extortionate, leaving very little room for luxuries. So, you can always ask the venue for disposable foam earplugs or even buy them at your local pharmacy. They may not look stylish as proper ear-plugs and the bright orange/yellow could seriously clash with your outfit but at least your ears will be safe!

No matter what avenue you go down, make sure to be smart and protect your ears when attending concerts and festivals…because one thing is for sure, when your hearing goes completely you’re gonna regret not protecting it as you may never get it back!

T: @wearDUBS