Moby concert and ear damage?

The other night I saw Moby performing at the Sydney Opera House and it was a stunning event with superb amplified sound filling the Concert Hall to the delight of 4000 enraptured fans.
The hall is really a vast volume (too big for any symphony orchestra to adequately fill) yet the volume produced by the amplifiers and speakers became so deafening that at times I had to crouch down behind the seats and block my ears......and I was sitting in row W of the Stalls?
I am sure that I must have suffered some permanent hearing loss over the 2 hour concert duration although thankfully there were some slow melodic songs to break the continual 100-110dB sound pressure levels.
The band members must surely wear ear-plugs to avoid early permanent deafness?

But this is not my question.
My stomach lining and chest cavity were vibrating and pulsing with the volume of sound but the bass drums and bass guitar were the lowest frequency-producing instruments on stage and I know that the lowest notes of the electric bass guitar is not lower than about 32Hz and most notes were way above that?
My home system with 2 Vandersteen 2Wq Subwoofers can produce 26 Hz in my listening room but my innards do not vibrate when I play low organ music?
So it must be 'volume' combined with frequency that vibrates the guts?
Is there a mathematical formula for determining what volume at 40 Hz is needed to vibrate materials compared to that at 20 Hz?
It is indeed the low frequency that vibrates your guts.
The Chinese as a punishment for attempting to harm or kill
the Emperor would tie someone to a very large bell,
attached to the ringer, surrounded by the bell.
It rang or vibrated at a hertz below our hearing but over a few days destroyed his body.
Wow, that sounds nasty. To answer the question re ear damage, the best indication is tinnitus. If you come out of a concert with tinnitus, you have sustained a degree of permanent hearing loss. That may not be much, but it's cumulative. That principal works in general, but less well for low frequencies, where tinnitus may be difficult to detect. In general, noise related hearing loss is worse at high frequencies.
As an aside, I listended to an interview by Zappa some years ago. He describes a concert in Texas, where a Sherrif from a town from 20 miles away, came over to complain about the noise. At another, a pidgeon flew in front of the speakers and blew apart!
Pigeon blew apart? I'd like to see that on Mythbusters!
Hi Halcro, 100-110db is not mightly loud. When I listen to my system I am usually in the mid 90 db range average, with peaks to 104db. What kind of SPL meter were you using to measure the concert level with?

I went 90% deaf for two weeks after a rock concert. Like you, I found myself crouching down and plugging my ears. None of my friends around me suffered any hearing damage. Like anything else, there will be exceptions. I have been careful ever since.
I don't think the frequency has to be that low, just loud. Witness the subwoofed car with the wump wump sound going down the street. Over exposure to average levels like that are bound to cause some hearing loss. I've had peaks of over 100 db at home but not 110 db average and it is rare that I play that loud. The average movie theater is too loud for me so I don't go to those anymore either. You should take some foam earplugs with you to the next concert just in case. I wish you well.
Much of what you hear off of a drum kit or bass guitar is synthesised lower during a concert. Also they use electronic instruments that you don't "see" while they are playing. Hench the extreme low freq or the boosted mid/lower freq that you hear.

I *always* bring ear plugs with me to every show I go to nowadays. I can't tell you how many times I was *so* relieved that I did. In addition, I usually bring a few extra sets in case my companions need them. On more than a few occasions they were quite grateful to have them.

I'm a headbanger from way back, but I have up and left a few shows that were just too damn loud. Thankfully, at 54, my hearing is still decent. I guess leaving those concerts was the right thing to do...

I have pretty much quit going to in door concerts for that reason. I am kucky that I live an hour from Red Rocks and most of the artists I want to see want to play Red Rocks.
I think the open arenas eliminate compression that create
high decibles and pressure. However I still take ear plugs just in case.
I too have had to stop going to most shows. Much too loud.

And yes, there are subharmonic synthesizers used to create low

anyone who goes to these type concerts without professional ear protection is just plain crazy.
One of the worst concert experiences I had was seeing a pop show and an acoustic-specific venue. The show was Flaming Lips opening for Beck. I went to see Beck, because I'd seen him previously outdoors and loved his charismatic performance (I enjoy his music). Didn't know the Flaming Lips and they're definitely not my style. The venue was Benaroya Hall, which is the Seattle Symphony's relatively new concert hall known for its outstanding acoustics for unamplified music. Well, these guys came with amplification up the wazoo. I seldom walk out on concerts or films, but this was one of those rare exceptions. The music was so loud it hurt. I went back in when Beck came out doing mostly solo acoustic guitar stuff, but he used the same amplification and I couldn't even make out the lyrics he was singing. I walked out again. Truly awful! I cannot imagine enjoyment with or without earplugs. I think the hall sounded horrible with amplification - I see the symphony there and indeed it is otherwise a wonderful acoustic space. I totally gave up on big ticket concerts since then. A few other bad experiences, both indoor and out. I see no reason to drop any money at all, much less what they're asking to see shows like this, on a presentation that I'd otherwise get far more enjoyment from listening to the same artist's CD on my system. I agree that risking your hearing on 100+db sustained anything is just plain stupid. I don't know how renewable your hearing is once damaged this may come back, but I wonder if it is really the same. Regardless, it's not worth it to me. I really enjoy my five senses and would prefer to keep doing so as long as I'm around. I currently suffer from mild tinnitus, which I speculate may be from too many years of riding motorcycles without ear plugs (I always wear earplugs when I ride now).
If the ear is resisting sounds, it will sustain permanent damage much quicker than a relaxed ear. When we tense up and resist sounds, that is like tensing when falling - makes for a greater impact. At least, this is what my audiologist told me. I had some tinnitus a number of years ago and the doctor told me to wear earplugs when sleeping, never drive with the windows down (that compression thing Theo talked about), and try to relax when exposed to loud sounds. I have done all these things religiously for 10 years and, believe it or not, my tinnitus is almost gone.

I've been told this is not possible but it's happened to me. The Dr. said we need to rest and relax our ears just like our eyes when we close them. Trick is to get the foam earplugs set deep and tight. Took me 3 months to get that right.
You obviously neglected one of my favorite senses, the sense of humor. So make that six
You obviously neglected one of my favorite senses, the sense of humor. So make that six

Good point. I usually don't miss that one. Probably have some lingering obstacle jammed firmly up the Hershey Highway stopping the otherwise uninhibited flow of BS. Now I know where that missing The Perch™ went to! Six it is then!
Those low-frequency synths sound plausible.
Do you know how they produce the low frequencies and how low they actually go?
Regarding foam earplugs set deep, what I often do is rip one in half. It still provides the same protection, but when it's flush with the ear, there is no half of the plug sticking out. It helps when I wear them sometimes even in bars where there is just music, without attracting attention to the fact that I am wearing earplugs.

It really sucks I have to forgo seeing Springsteen concerts. I have seen him close to 70 times over the years, but 2 years ago was my last show of his (or any large rock show). Every bass drum hit felt like it was punching me. Luckily every show of his is recorded by fans (sometimes in great quality and twice even in 96K) and posted online via dime and usenet.
Jax2, I too live in Seattle and stopped going to indoor concerts years ago. I did just see David Grey at the Paramount. Great show but way too loud. That place can sound great if the mixing guy is good. I just can't take the loud and distorted music anymore. I really wanted to see the Beck show as I havn't seen a show at Benaroya and I like Beck, now I'm glad I didn't go. I have been going to the winery shows in the summer for years now which is a great place to see a concert. The sound is amazing with the right artist. And hey, the wine isn't too bad either.

Take Care, Greg
If I had to listen to Moby for two hours,my ears would not be the only thing hurting.
want a real low freq gut jiggler? Go to a NHRA drag race sometime that is featuring the nitro dragsters/funny cars. Most venues let you down close to the action and you will feel organs you did not know you had. Sort of like being 75 feet from a force of nature.
I too live in Seattle and stopped going to indoor concerts years ago. snip

Hey Greg - I've seen a few good ones at the Paramount (Tori Amos several times very well done). Also seen some bad ones there that were overamped. The Moore is an outstanding venue here and I can say that I've never seen a bad show there. You didn't miss anything as far as Beck at Benaroya. See acoustic music there - the hall shines with un-amplified acoustic music. I completely agree, the Winery shows are great and usually well done as far as amping and mixing. I've seen Cowboy Junkies there, Tori Amos (again), and a handful of others - all great. ZooTunes often has some great shows, but their amplification is consistently poor (not nearly as engaging as St. Michelle) - I go anyway as I there's been some very enjoyable shows there in spite of the SQ. Gott'a smuggle in the wine though. The Pier is sometimes good to...hit or miss there. I loath the Gorge and you could not pay me to attend a show there. One time was all it took to figure that one out.
TOMRYAN The idea of relaxation is new to me and I'm in the business, family doctor, not ENT specialist. An interesting idea, though I am not sure I understand the physiology.
As many of you know, the hearing sense organ is the Cochlear in the inner, a shell like looking organ through which sound passes and excites hair cells which are the actual sense organ. each cell responds to a different frequency. It follows that loud sound potentially damages the cells which are excited at that frequency.
Typically, in age related hearing loss, you get a progressive loss with higher frequencies. This is often accompanied by a high frequency tinnitus, as a corollary to the hearing loss. I have some high frequency tinnitus, which has'nt gone away, perhaps I should Tomyran's audiologist advice.
Noise related hearing loss, usually is different, with a mid frequency notch of hearing loss and more normal higher frequencies. This is what you will get, working in a canning factory, say, for 30 years, without hearing protection. I am not sure if there is a particular pattern of loss with rock music. Perhaps there should be a study of Ozzy Osborne and Frank Zappa.
Emailists - If half the foam plug is sticking out of your ear, it's not in as it should be. It took me 3 months of practice but I get even the longest foam plug all the way in, it disappears. I can get them in so deep I can't hear my wife talking next to me. You have to roll the plug between your fingers until it's thin and hard, then pull the ear diagonally up & back. This opens up the ear and the thin hard plug goes as deep as you like.

David12 - My doctor told me that the hair cells in the ear react to loud sounds by tensing and that constant tensing causes the hearing damage. He said when these cells are relaxed they react less to loudness. Said natural sounds such as thunder, water rushing, and acoustic instruments are less damaging to hearing because the ear is more relaxed upon exposure. Said unnatural sounds such as amplified instruments, electronic "music", and grinding machines cause more damage as the ear generally tenses more.
He said the tissue to which the hair cells attach tense at exposure to sounds - loud sounds cause more tension. The more relaxed a person (and his ears) are, the less reaction and damage.

I know this is true as regards the rest of the body. A drunk can fall many times and not hurt himself because he's so relaxed. 40 years of martial arts and kickboxing (and good coaching) taught me that relaxation is the most important thing in fighting. Proper relaxation in the ring allows quicker action, better balance, and harder hitting. Relaxation also reduces the effects of getting hit. Tensing right at the moment of getting punched or kicked increases pain and damage such as broken bones and torn tendons.

Maybe the hair cells get damaged more and quicker while tense because the connecting tissues "wear out" in some way. Being tense while even just sparring in the gym wears you out in minutes. I'm 58 and I can spar 6-7 rounds without much trouble. I'm fine at the end but I am a very relaxed fighter. I spar with guys in their 20s and 30s who "gas" in 2-3 rounds, a time when I'm not really even breathing heavily.
Hey Jax2, I like the Moore a lot and the Zoo is a great place to see a show. The zoo used to be really stricked about the drinking, but they seem to be better now. I've only been to the Gorge once myself also. I saw Steely Dan on there first tour in 20 years. That show sounded amazing, the sun was setting and we were in the golden circle seating area. I wouldn't go back thou unless I stayed at Cave B. It's owned by Dr. Bryant who was the mastermind who started the gorge. I've been fly fishing with him a couple of times, really great guy. Otherwise it's a tent in the parking area and I'm not into that anymore. It's good to know there are some audiophiles in Seattle.
David 12, My hearing loss is in the mid freq. range, so I guess that is noise related. I'm not surprised, I've gone to a lot of really loud shows in my day. We never even thought of using ear protection, just dumb kids I guess.

Take Care, Greg
I got permanent hearing damage - not too bad i don't think - from The Clash. I was young and stupid and my ears were ringing for 3 days.
After having the misfortune of being in the front row of a "concert in the round" with a bank of speakers less than 10 feet in front of me, my ears rang/buzzed for 3 days. I'm sure it did some minor lasting damage.
The band was "Whitesnake" which opened for Jethro Tull up in L.A. around 1980. Tull was outstanding.