By S. Gorman
When your ears are ringing, it’s hard to concentrate on anything else, and you feel like you will never know the peace of perfect silence again. Follow these smart steps to ease your ringing ears:
1. Relax. Know that most often it’s not a sign of damage, it’s your ears being self-protective.
Your ears will most likely heal. Usually it will go away after a few hours. Take your mind off it by resting and staying away from anything that might exacerbate the symptoms. If the ringing doesn’t go away after 24 hours, see your hearing health professional.
2. Prevention is a winner: Invest in good ear plugs before the festival.
They’re your number one defense against sustained loud sound exposure that can damage those tiny little hair cells in the inner ear causing them to go crazy, which produces the ring in your ears. Try earplugs out at home, and use the ones you feel most comfortable with. Also choose a pair that significantly reduces noise, as badly placed earplugs or ones that do not fit properly can be just as dangerous as not wearing any at all. Thinking you are protected while you are not, is never a good option. People often worry that this might spoil their enjoyment of the music but in fact the research evidence suggests that if the noise levels are very high, then you may in fact hear things better with the earplugs in! So, when the day of the festival has finally come don’t be afraid to show that gorgeous pair of hearing protection. It’s an awesome thing that you take care of your hearing health. Wear those plugs with pride, and enjoy the music knowing you’re doing so responsibly. Maybe you will even be able to convince and thus save other festival goers. (Some ear plugs are so small, that no one will even notice you’re wearing them).
3. Antioxidants can be very helpful if you use them within a few hours of the exposure.
Several studies have shown the antioxidant N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is effective in protecting the ear from noise damage if taken before exposure or several houses afterward. NAC is inexpensive, and can be purchased in health food stores. Stand at an angle to the source of the sound. Try not to stand directly in front of it.
4. Keep well hydrated.
People often sweat in clubs and at parties, and dehydration is not good for inner-ear function. So, make sure you take plenty of fluids. Not those fluids though! Avoid too much alcohol in a noisy (and probably any) environment, as this causes a specific fluid to shift out of the inner ear which can potentially cause problems and predisposes to damage during sound exposure.
5. Dance, dance, dance.
Exercise helps overall ear health. While it might not protect you as well as a good set ear plugs at the gig, it will contribute to your general ear health.
6. Try to take ‘time-outs’.
Take a few minutes in every hour at the concert. Try and go somewhere quiet, to even momentarily give your ears a ‘rest’. Giving your ears a break once in a while will help you to realize how loud the exposure really is as well as for your ears to understand what the “normal setting is”. In this way, your ears can restore and reset as well as prepare themselves for the next session.
For moral support, you can always tweet @mimihearing. We’ll send you additional tips on how to make the most of your music, as well as a complimentary pair of earplugs to help you out on the protection side of things.