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Going to a gig or concert?
Don’t forget the earplugs and reduce the coffee intake!

Posted: 22nd July 2016

It is well known that exposure to loud noise or music can cause hearing damage. Two recent studies have reported that ear plugs can help protect hearing, and lower caffeine intake can reduce the damage of recent exposure to loud music.


A Dutch study has found that 42% of people who do not use earplugs experience temporary hearing loss immediately following recreational noise exposure at a music festival. The study involved two groups of people with an average age of 27 years who were attending a music festival in Amsterdam for 4.5 hours: one group were given earplugs, and the other group had no noise protection. The average noise level during the music festival was 100dB – a noise level that is only safe to be exposed to for a maximum of 15 minutes per day.

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The study found that 42% of the participants who did not use earplugs experienced temporary hearing loss, compared to 8% of the group using earplugs. Also, 12% of those using earplugs experienced tinnitus, while 40% of the non–protected group experienced tinnitus. Temporary tinnitus following exposure to loud noise is a well recognised symptom of hearing damage.

The researchers concluded that “earplugs are effective in preventing temporary hearing loss during high recreational music levels. Therefore, the use of earplugs should be actively promoted and encouraged.”


earplugs are effective in preventing temporary hearing loss
during high recreational music levels

No coffee after the concert!

Meanwhile researchers at McGill University in Canada completed tests on guinea pigs exposed to loud noise similar to what might be experienced at a concert or gig. Some guinea pigs were also fed a daily does of caffeine. The hearing of these guinea pigs did not recover as quickly as the hearing of the group that did not receive any caffeine. This led the researchers to conclude that people who continue to take caffeine regularly while being exposed to loud noise may be reducing the chances of their hearing recovering fully.

DeafHear’s clear advice is prevention is better than cure. Don’t expose yourself to hearing damage by listening to music at dangerous intensities, and if you are attending a music or major sporting event, make sure you don’t forget to bring your earplugs and your tickets!


Zawani, F. et al. Association of Caffeine and Hearing Recovery After Acoustic Overstimulation Events in a Guinea Pig Model. Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, 2016.


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more...Hearing loss costs an estimated €2.2bn every year in Ireland.


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