Researcher exempts that temporary hearing loss after a concert may be more likely in people who drink, use drugs and avoid earplugs. Researchers studied 51 people at an outdoor music festival in Amsterdam, asking half of them to wear earplugs. All but two of the participants drank alcohol during the show, and 11 of them, or 22%, reported drug use. The acquired hearing loss has become much more common in recent decades. The study was published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

For assessing the factors are associated with the occurrence of a temporary threshold shift (TTS) after music exposure and to investigate the behavior of music festival attendees. Earplugs, as expected, appeared to minimize the risk of hearing the loss in tests done after the 4.5-hour show. But alcohol and drug use were independently associated with temporary hearing difficulties, even when people used earplugs.

People who wore earplugs were also more likely to drink alcohol than people who didn't wear hearing protection during the show. This prospective post hoc analysis gathered data from a randomized, single-blind clinical trial conducted on September 5, 2015, at an outdoor music festival in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Adult volunteers with normal hearing were recruited via social media from August 26 through September 3, 2015. Intention to use earplugs was an exclusion criterion. Of 86 volunteers assessed, 51 were included. 

Physicians should consider these factors to raise awareness about the combined risk of attending music festivals without using earplugs while consuming alcohol and/or drugs. The intention to use earplugs was correlated with the loudness and appreciation of music with earplugs, which may advocate for the use of personalized earplugs.

The primary outcome was a TTS on a standard audiogram for the frequencies 3.0- and 4.0-kHz. Multivariable linear regression was performed to determine which factors are associated with a TTS. A questionnaire on behavior, hearing, and tinnitus was distributed to the participants before and after the festival visit.

The present study identified nonuse of earplugs, use of alcohol and drugs, and male sex as associated with a TTS at an outdoor music festival.