PASS Summit Tip: Hearing Protection
The next in my series of PASS Summit Tips may seem a bit strange, but I assure you it comes from experience: Parts of PASS Summit can be loud.
I'm not referring to the official events themselves; if you're in a session and feel it's too loud, maybe take a seat farther away from a speaker. What I'm really referring to are the after-events, of which there are plenty. Many of which involve karaoke, some will even have live bands. I can assure you that this will be loud.
I've never liked loud noises, but my years spent in high school and college marching bands really turned me on to the importance of hearing protection. In college the band even had the hearing science department take molds of our ears and make us custom earplugs. They are amazing and I still have and use them regularly! I realize not everyone has access to that, but still, pick up a pair of earplugs from a drugstore or online. Some of them even have carrying cases. I just keep a pair in my backpack at all times. If I find myself in an environment I feel is too loud, I can pop them in and nobody else is the wiser. I also have a second pair in my car, so if I find myself heading to a concert or similar loud event, I'm ready to go.
ANC is Awesome
On a similar note, if you want to help your hearing while flying to the conference, you should seriously consider a pair of active noise control headphones. I recently got a pair myself and am just amazed at what a game-changer they are. I never realized how loud it was on an airplane until I started using them. Of course these are much more of an investment than earplugs, but if you do any amount of flying throughout the year, I think they're worth it. I have the Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) wireless headphones, but you can find them from a variety of manufacturers at different price points. If you don't like over-the-ear headphones, ANC earbuds are also available.
No matter what you decide to do, please remember that your hearing is precious, and even the most basic protection is better than nothing at all.