A study conducted in Australia and sponsored by National Acoustic Laboratories examined music patrons’ experience and attitudes while wearing earplugs. In the study, researchers provided 51 regular music patrons between the ages of 20 and 39 with earplugs, and surveyed them about their experiences and attitudes toward comfort, music enjoyment, and effect on communication while wearing the earplugs.
At the end of the 16-week publicly funded study, participants had significant improvements in their views about hearing protection. Approximately half of the survey respondents indicated that earplugs “began to feel more comfortable” over time, noting that they could still “enjoy the music” and even preferred the reduced volume level when wearing earplugs. There was no change in attitudes toward communicating with others while wearing earplugs.
In fact, a City Hall committee in Minneapolis, Minn., unanimously approved an ordinance that requires music venues to carry free earplugs for patrons. This ordinance applies to 185 bars and clubs across the city.
As a growing number of venues in the U.S. are now providing ear plugs, sometimes for free, hopefully the attitudes and perceptions continue to skew positive and more people will be inclined to protect their hearing!