Is Hearing Protection Recommended for Musicians?

Close up of drummer's hands playing a drum kit. Drums are very loud, the player should be wearing hearing protection.

Musicians are cool! Their songs bring us so much enjoyment. But music is a lot more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing hazard. The musicians themselves are at an increased risk of hearing damage since they are exposed to loud music nearly every day.

Whether your living relies on music or not, you’ll still want to be able to hear your favorite songs when you’re in your later years of life. For musicians, preserving their hearing is the key to a lengthy and successful career. For the rest of us, hearing protection is the key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment and enrichment.

Oftentimes it can be surprising how loud music can be

Most people would say that a jet engine is really loud.

Is music actually that loud? People might not be so quick to answer that question if you ask them if a violin or acoustic guitar is loud. Usually, when they hear the answer, they’re pretty surprised: That can also be loud music! Your ears can even be damaged by classical music which can reach fairly high volumes.

Sounds higher than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for example. That’s around as noisy as a leaf blower. To put that into context, the European Union regulations dictate that any workplace noisier than 85 dB requires the use of hearing protection.

And your hearing can be significantly damaged over time if you’re working with music every day, particularly if you don’t use hearing protection.

How can you safeguard your hearing?

Okay, now you’re aware that musicians need to safeguard their hearing (particularly if they want to keep on rocking out for years to come). So what can musicians do to safeguard their ears and still enjoy the music they love so much?

Well, here are a couple of easy things musicians can do:

  • Take breaks: Your ears are the same as any other part of your body: they can be overworked and will frequently benefit from a break. So take frequent breaks from the noise. This will help prevent your ears from getting overwhelmed with noise (and damage). Regarding hearing, how long you’re exposed is nearly as significant as how high the volume is. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!
  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it follows that you should always know what volume of sound you’re exposing your ears to. Tracking the volume on amps and PA systems is one factor. But you can also buy a decibel meter app for your cellphone to make it easy to monitor the real-world volume levels your ears are experiencing day in and day out. You will need to make a few changes if the meter regularly detects volumes louder than 85 dB.

hearing protection is important

Needless to say, the single most effective thing you can do to safeguard your hearing is easy: using ear protection of some kind. A lot of musicians are worried that hearing protection will mute the sound and impact its overall sound quality. But depending on what kind of hearing protection you use, that may not always be true.

  • Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Most people are probably acquainted with disposable ear plugs. They’re pretty good at blocking a lot of sound though they sometimes don’t fit very well. They’re cheap, easy to come by, and easy to throw away. And they aren’t best suited for musicians. However, by spending just a little more money, you can purchase high-quality earplugs designed chiefly for musicians. A special material and modern engineering are utilized to help these earplugs fit comfortably in the ear and minimize external noise by about 20% while preserving the audio clarity. For musicians who need a moderate amount of protection on a budget, this solution is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs work in pretty much the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The majority of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. What you hear will instead be routed in by the earplug itself. This option is perfect for people who work in particularly noisy environments, and who want more options when it comes to volume control.
  • In-ear monitors: The majority of music is electronic these days, or at least amplified by electronics. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and conveys them directly to a device placed in your ear (called an in-ear monitor). It’s like a specialized little speaker for your ear, and the majority of monitors can block out sound from the outside environment (thanks to a rather tight fit and special design). This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. In-ear monitors are useful for individuals who work primarily with electronically amplified instruments.

Protect your ears, and protect your career

It’s never too late to take steps to protect your hearing, but it’s definitely a good idea to begin sooner rather than later. With solutions available at just about every price point, there are easy ways for everyone to safeguard their hearing and their future. Remember that you’re investing in your career by utilizing hearing protection for musicians. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy making music for as long as you want to.

Give us a call so we can help you get started.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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