Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 10

thoughts from our
board chair

Much Too Loud
BY RICHARD EINHORN

M

y friend Scott Wilkinson writes about
professional sound technology for a living.
Recently, a famous rock band began a fournights-a-week concert series in Las Vegas that boasts
the absolute latest and greatest sound equipment for
their shows. So off Scott
went to experience it for
himself and review the
show.
The band's concerts
take place in a large
auditorium outfitted with
38 surround speakers, 22
overhead speakers and 24
subwoofers-speakers that
reproduce bass sounds. This
amazing audio system lets
the band's technicians not
only amplify but also place
the band's sound all around
the audience with incredible precision. Scott found the
overall sound "excellent-very clean and clear..."
But there was a serious problem.
While the sound quality was wonderful, it was also, Scott
wrote, "brutally loud"-so loud that he couldn't tolerate it
for more than a minute and quickly got out his ear plugs.
Measuring the volume with a highly accurate smartphone
app, Scott found that the sound level was so high that
"according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention), it can cause permanent hearing damage in
as little as five to 15 minutes." Even if the ringing in their
ears subsides a few days later, published research shows
that many of the people who attend concerts like these
are likely to require hearing technology earlier than those
who weren't exposed to such high sound levels. And their
hearing problems are likely to advance faster.
The band that Scott reviewed performs four shows a
week in their 5,200-seat theater. Since most of the audience
members for large rock shows usually don't wear hearing
protection, nearly 21,000 people a week are being placed
at risk of serious hearing loss later in life. This is just one
venue, among many, that regularly delivers music at literally
deafening sound levels. In fact, the hearing tests of between

10

Since most of the audience members
for large rock shows usually don't wear
hearing protection, nearly 21,000
people a week are being placed at
risk of serious hearing loss later in life.
10 to 40 million Americans "suggest hearing loss in one or
both ears from exposure to loud noise," according to the
HLAA webpage on noise-induced hearing loss.
And music concerts are hardly the only culprit. In
sports arenas, fan noise-say, during a hockey goal-has
reached levels above 120 decibels. That's louder than the
takeoff of a jet plane!
Speaking both as a professional musician and a
hearing health advocate, these sound levels are appalling.
Their practical effect is to create a massive increase in
the population of Americans with hearing loss, especially
among older adults who were exposed to loud sound
when young. While we welcome, of course, anyone
with music or noise-induced hearing loss to HLAA-
where they'll find a wealth of information and meet
some wonderful people-this isn't, by any stretch of the
imagination, how we wish to add to our ranks.
So, what should we do? All of us should wear hearing
protection when we attend loud concerts or sports events
in large stadiums. Yes, even if you already have a hearing
loss, exposure to loud sound can make it even worse. The
good news is that it's possible to buy reasonably priced
musician ear plugs that attenuate the volume but don't
affect the overall balance of the sound.
And if you do go to loud events, bring extra ear
plugs for your normal-hearing family or friends. Explain
to them the serious dangers of modern sound levels at
concerts and live sports events-and that even a single
exposure to loud sound creates permanent, hidden
damage. It's simply a matter of hearing health.
Richard Einhorn is chair of the HLAA Board of
Directors and lives in New York City. Reach him at
chairperson@hearingloss.org.

* HEARING LIFE * NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 * HEARINGLOSS.ORG


http://www.HEARINGLOSS.ORG

Hearing Life November/December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hearing Life November/December 2019

A Note From Our Executive Director
Thoughts From Our Board Chair
Founder’s Corner
Supporting Our Veterans Through All Their Years: The HLAA Veterans Across America Virtual Chapter
Advocacy
Convention
Never Give Up: A Vietnam Veteran’s Hearing Journey
Walk4Hearing Update
Sue, Eleanor, Fred—And Facing Our Fears
Awards and Recognition
Acoustic Trauma and the Impact of Noise on Our Men and Women in Uniform
A Holiday Getaway to the Big Apple
Hearing Loops at Home
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - Cover1
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - Cover2
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 3
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 4
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 5
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 6
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - A Note From Our Executive Director
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 8
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 9
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - Thoughts From Our Board Chair
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - Founder’s Corner
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 12
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - Supporting Our Veterans Through All Their Years: The HLAA Veterans Across America Virtual Chapter
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 14
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 15
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 16
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 17
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 18
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - Advocacy
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 20
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - Convention
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 22
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 23
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 24
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 25
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - Never Give Up: A Vietnam Veteran’s Hearing Journey
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 27
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 28
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 29
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 30
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - Walk4Hearing Update
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 32
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - Sue, Eleanor, Fred—And Facing Our Fears
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 34
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 35
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 36
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - Awards and Recognition
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 38
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - Acoustic Trauma and the Impact of Noise on Our Men and Women in Uniform
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 40
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - A Holiday Getaway to the Big Apple
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 42
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - Hearing Loops at Home
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 44
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 45
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - 46
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - Cover3
Hearing Life November/December 2019 - Cover4
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