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Live music is back; bring your earplugs: Public health demands we protect our hearing

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Despite COVID variants looming large as temporary threats to the ease of lockdowns, live entertainment is back. For concert-goers, this presents an opportunity.

Because the pandemic has disrupted our concert-going habits, we have a chance to build new habits. Just as many of us learned to collectively embrace mask-wearing as a normal part of daily life, we can use this moment to begin incorporating a simple practice into our going-out routine: bringing earplugs.

Wearing earplugs isn’t a new idea, but riding on the coattails of the mask-wearing many of us began during the pandemic, it has a renewed salience. The pandemic has revived a public interest in how exposures to certain environments may impact health, as well as how personal behaviors can sometimes mitigate those negative effects. Furthermore, it reminds us how our senses, such as taste, play a role in our daily lives, and that these senses can’t and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Our ears detect sound through a complex mechanism. Tiny hair cells lining the inner ear help transmit sound vibrations into electrical impulses to the brain through sensory nerves. Exposure to loud noise over time can damage these hair cells and cause hearing loss.

The problem with hearing loss — as with many other areas of health — is that decisions made while young,........

© NY Daily News

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