A new University of Toronto study recommends the provision of ear plugs, education at concert entrances and the reduction of music sound levels to minimize the risk of hearing loss for rock concert attendees.
The conclusions are part of a study published in the January/February issue of the Canadian Journal of Public Health, which looked at whether concert goers perceive there is a risk of hearing damage from the loud music at concerts and whether they use hearing protection at these venues. The study revealed that although 74 per cent of attendees thought it was likely or very likely that noise levels at music concerts could damage their hearing, 80 per cent said they never wore hearing protection at such events.
"Over 40 percent of respondents said they would be willing to use hearing protection if it was provided for free at the concerts," says U of T medical student Isaac Bogoch, who initiated the research during a second-year rotation in occupational health with Dr. Ron House, a professor of public health sciences and medicine at U of T and staff physician in the department of occupational and environmental health at St. Michael's Hospital.
"This would be a significant improvement considering only three percent of respondents always wore ear protection at rock concerts," adds Bogoch, noting if hearing protection became normal attire at rock concerts even those who were concerned about their appearance would be more inclined to wear them.
To identify attendees' beliefs, the research team distributed questionnaires at four rock concerts in Toronto; the 204 questionnaires that were completed represented a 75 percent response rate. Bogoch, who is now in his final year of medical studies, notes the study's recommendations allow concert attendees to have a great time while being safe.
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