David Browne does, and he still is a regular concert goer since he’s been a music journalist for more than 30 years. He saw a lot of great shows, but he also learned the hard way that loud concerts take their toll. And he shares his hard-won knowledge in his excellent article, “You’re Losing Hearing Faster Than You Think.”
Browne starts his piece with a discussion about the increase in hearing loss, stating that it is “likely due to a constant assault of noise” and adding that we have “become so accustomed to blaring sound” that our definition of what is loud has changed. He interviews Robert Jackler, chair of otolaryngology at Stanford, who asks, “Are we going to see people lose their hearing at an earlier age, and lose it more severely as time goes by?,” and emphatically answers, “Yes.”
Browne talks about his concern for his own hearing as well as his daughter’s, adding that for as long as he knew him, his father wore a hearing aid. Browne looks at the stigma attached to hearing aids, noting that there is no stigma attached to wearing eyeglasses. Along with the stigma, there are the psychological manifestations of hearing loss, namely isolation and depression. This discussion follows Browne’s visit to an audiologist and his “sobering” results–a diagnosis of sloping high-frequency loss.
In light of his audiology exam, Browne’s goal for himself was to prevent further damage. To do that, his audiologist suggests two options: The first was to get fitted ear plugs to wear at loud events, and the second, which Browne found depressing, was that he consider getting hearing aids.
In the end, Browne opts for the ear plugs, “for now,” and he lists six things everyone can do to protect their hearing, including downloading a decibel meter and wearing ear plugs. To read the entire article and see the full list of protective steps, click the second link above.