Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Arcade Fire, or Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

On Friday, Lauren secured two tickets to see Arcade Fire, and last night we saw them live in concert at the Atlanta Civic Center. They were really good. Just a really good, chill-out band. I don't even know all of their music, but I know I like them enough to stand through a set list of songs I haven't even heard before, which to me is saying something. I think that's the mark of a good band. The bandmembers were entertaining, too. They danced around and climbed on things and maybe went a little crazy, but the crowd loved it.

Despite their fun performance, though, it was still extremely loud. By the 2nd song, I thought, "Wow. I'm really ruining my ears." During the course of the 3rd song, I had moved onto more advanced ponderings: Has concert music always seemed this loud to me? Why can't bands just make everything about 50 decibels quieter? Gee, I wonder what effect such loud music will have on young people of my generation? What will the percentage of Americans with noise-induced hearing loss be?

These thoughts, along with the ringing in my ears, obligated me to be kinder to my inner ears. Going against the natural desire to fit in, especially in the face of young and passionate rockers, I pressed my fingers against my ears. Yes, I listened to one and a half songs in this manner. Yes, Lauren laughed at me and called me an old person. But I had decided not to subject my ears to this kind of damage anymore. I still wanted a hands-free concert experience, though, so I beamed at Lauren's suggestion to use toilet paper as earplugs.

So during the very next song, I went to the ladies' room, grabbed some toilet paper and thought about what would be the best way to inconspicuously plug up my ears with the paper. But when I went back to listen to the band, I decided to forget about my silliness. I mean, hey -- who wants to wear hearing aids by choice? Not me. I may have looked oh-so-slightly funny, but I had just as good a time as anybody else. And who knows? In 30 years, Lauren just might get noise-induced hearing loss, a condition that can be prevented by the regular use of hearing protectors such as earplugs and earmuffs. That's quite reassuring, considering that the National Institute on Deafness and Other Hearing Disorders states that "of the 28 million Americans who have some degree of hearing loss, about one-third can attribute their hearing loss, in part, to noise." Well, I don't want that part to be my fault.

In 30 years, Lauren, we'll see who's laughing last. . . . Or who's hearing last! :)

Thing I'm thankful for: attending concerts with friends.


Blogger kelly said...

I pretty much always use either a torn off, crumpled up napkin or just some random paper I pull out of my purse. With as many shows as I go to, I'd probably be deaf already if I didn't.
Good call, Sara.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I wasn't laughing at you, I was laughing with you.

And you're right, I'll probably be deaf. Because that concert was the perfect amount of decibels for me, which is scary.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

We were laughing together, Lauren. We were.

1:26 PM  

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