Truth Matters.

Does Anybody Hear Me?

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How everyday sounds lead to lifelong hearing loss.

Christine Ramstad | Features Editor

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Students worshiping during a Vespers service. Photo by Nathan Klok.

For me, earplugs are like loose change.

My backpack, drawers, pockets, car, etc. all seem to have the little foam contrivances tucked inside of them.

For five years I spent countless hours (ballpark calculation: 1,000+ hours) inside a gymnasium with the sound of drums reaching well over 120 decibels (dB); the same as a rock concert. According to sound exposure guidelines published by Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 15 minutes is the maximum amount of time that you should withstand 115+ dB per day.

For music students, the risks of hearing loss seem obvious. Yet, I’ve almost always been the only person wearing earplugs in all my musical activities.

Drumline, concert band, jazz band, marching band, percussion ensemble- you name it and I’m there using my hair to cover up the fact that I’m protecting my hearing.

Wearing earplugs has never been something that’s bothered me or had an effect on the musical experience. It gives me peace of mind that I’m protecting a vital part of my health.

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Musicians performing in Benson Great Hall. Photo by Nathan Klok.

According to the Center for Hearing and Communication, hearing loss is the third most common health issue.

Hearing loss is reported in 52% of classical musicians and 26% of high school band students.

What about Bethel students?

Hearing loss seems out of mind for mostly everyone.

For me, it’s regularly on my mind: at VESPERS, banquet dances, and multiple days a week at band and other music activities.

I hope to enjoy music for as long as I can. The most critical part of that is not becoming one of the 28 million Americans with hearing loss.

As Mike Meyers, a professional musician devastated by hearing loss writes, we need to protect our most valuable instrument.

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