Should Musicians Wear Hearing Protection?

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 performances bring us so much enjoyment. The downside is that music is nearly always loud, in fact, many individuals prefer it that way. The musicians themselves are at an even greater danger of hearing damage since they are subjected 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 an extended and successful career. For the rest of us, hearing protection is the key to a lifetime of musical enjoyment and enrichment.

Music is surprisingly loud

If you ask most people if a jet engine is loud, they’ll likely say yes.

But what about music? If you ask somebody whether an acoustic guitar or a lone violin is noisy, they may not reply so quickly. Usually, when they hear the answer, they’re pretty surprised: That can also be loud music! Even classical music can reach fairly high volumes that can easily damage your hearing.

Sounds louder than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for instance. A leaf blower is about this loud. In Europe, for instance, they have regulations that require ear protection for anybody who works in a work environment where there is noise above 85 dB.

And if you’re working with music day in and day out, continuous exposure to that sort of volume, particularly without hearing protection, can severely harm your hearing over time.

How can you protect your hearing?

Okay, now you’re aware that musicians need to protect their hearing (especially if they want to go on rocking out for years to come). So what can musicians do to protect their ears and still take pleasure in the music they enjoy so much?

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Take breaks: Your ears are the same as any other part of your body: they can be overworked and will often benefit from rest. So give yourself “hearing breaks” frequently. By doing this, noises won’t overwhelm and harm your ears. Regarding hearing, how long you’re exposed is nearly as significant as how high the volume is. The difference between the perfect amount of stimulation and too much can come down to taking regular breaks.
  • Track your volume: Everyone knows the old saying “knowledge is power”. So knowing volume levels of sounds around you will help you safeguard your hearing. Usually, this is as easy as keeping track of your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also keep track of day-to-day volume levels of environmental noises using a decibel meter app that you can download on your cellphone. You will need to make a few changes if the meter regularly detects volumes above 85 dB.

hearing protection is important

Using ear protection is the number one most effective way to protect your hearing. A lot of musicians are concerned that ear protection will mute the sound and impact its overall sound quality. That’s not always the case, depending on which type of hearing protection you choose.

  • Ear plugs made primarily for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s probably very familiar to most individuals. They’re fairly good at stopping a lot of sound although they sometimes don’t fit very well. They’re not difficult to find, don’t cost much, and can be disposed of easily. For musicians, they aren’t an ideal solution. However, by paying a little more, you can purchase high-quality earplugs designed specifically for musicians. A specialized 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 fidelity. For musicians who require a moderate amount of protection on a budget, this solution is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: The same general functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can also be found in electronic earplugs. Most of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. But the earplug itself will pipe in the sound you hear. This solution is perfect for individuals who work in particularly loud settings, and who want more options in terms of controlling volume.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a major part of modern music. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and sends them directly to a device placed inside of your ear (called an in-ear monitor). It’s like a special little speaker for your ear, and most monitors can block out sound from the outside environment (thanks to a rather tight fit and specialized design). This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. In-ear monitors are beneficial for people who work primarily with electronically amplified instruments.

Safeguard your career by protecting your hearing

It’s never too late to take measures to protect your hearing, but it’s definitely a good plan to begin sooner rather than later. Everyone can safeguard their hearing and future with hearing protection options for every budget. Remember, hearing protection for a musician is an investment in your career. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy creating 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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