My 12 yr old cannot bear live music concerts. The bass, i think, hurts her entire body. She tells me she cant breathe, & the pain is a stab sensation in her chest & abdomen. Shes a very lean & thin build. Could a particular clothing fibre prevent this effect? Genuine physics based ideas for clothing would be really appreciated as we all hate that she's missing out & she would love to be able to attend a Billie Eilish concert with her sisters next summer 2020. TIA. Helen

  • $\begingroup$ Any sound that loud and low-frequency enough that you can feel it in your chest is not going to going to be stopped by any kind of clothing. $\endgroup$ – d_b Nov 24 '19 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ I understand sound absorbing materials are generally bulky and so naturally unsuitable. However, are you of the opinion development of a material suitable for protective clothing such as a vest / gillett is impossible? If this is perhaps a different field of science could you direct me? In my mind, if ear defenders can protect the ear from sound vibration there surely must be a material to protect the bodys cavities in the torso and torso organs from receiving the full vibration affect? $\endgroup$ – Helen Nov 24 '19 at 5:47

What you describe are potentially serious medical symptoms. IMO you should be thinking about getting some medical advice for your daughter rather than hoping the problem will go away with a different type of clothing.

Whether it just is a temporary thing caused by your daughter's physical development putting her metabolism slightly out of balance, something stress-related, or a sign of a more serious condition like a heart problem, it needs some professional investigation. What you described is about half of the typical symptoms of a heart attack!

That said, very loud sounds can certainly be "felt" through the chest and abdomen as much as they are "heard". I work in the aerospace industry, and working near aircraft jet engines (while wearing proper protective equipment) I can sometimes "feel my chest shaking" from the high levels of low-frequency sound, and I'm definitely not "lean and thin" - I weigh more than 100 kg. But that "shaking" sensation doesn't cause any real pain or breathing difficulties.

Given the excessively loud sound levels at many live music concerts, wearing ear defenders would be good advice regardless of any other problems. There are types which are pretty much invisible "in the ear" if your daughter is worried about not looking "cool" - but better uncool than deaf, in the long term.

  • $\begingroup$ We did originally suspect only hearing sensitivity and so she has used ear defenders in the past for much smaller events. I had not considered any physical problem such as heart so I shall take your advice and seek a GP consult. Thank you for responding so thoroughly. $\endgroup$ – Helen Nov 24 '19 at 5:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.