Should Musicians Use 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 awesome! Their performances bring us so much enjoyment. The downside is that music is almost always loud, in fact, many individuals like it better 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 livelihood depends on music or not, you’ll still want to be able to hear your favorite songs when you’re pushing 60, 70, or 80. For musicians, preserving their hearing is the key to a lengthy and successful career. For the rest of us, hearing protection is the secret to a lifetime of musical enjoyment and enrichment.

Music is surprisingly loud

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

Is music really that loud? If you ask someone whether an acoustic guitar or a lone violin is noisy, they might not reply right away. Usually, when they hear the answer, they’re pretty surprised: That can also be very loud music! Your ears can even be harmed by classical music which can get to relatively high volumes.

A violin, for example, can create sounds well over 90 dB. That’s about as loud as a leaf blower. In Europe, for example, they have regulations that require ear protection for anyone who works in a setting where there is noise above 85 dB.

And if you’re working with music on a daily basis, continuous exposure to that sort of volume, especially without hearing protection, can seriously damage your hearing over time.

Can you protect your ears from noise damage?

Okay, now you know that musicians need to protect their hearing (especially if they want to continue rocking out for years to come). So what can musicians do to safeguard their ears and still enjoy the music they love so much?

Here are a couple of strategies:

  • Take breaks: Much like any part of your body, your ears can become tired and may need a little break. So take regular breaks from the noise. This will help stop your ears from becoming overpowered with noise (and damage). Duration is nearly as relevant as volume when it comes to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just the right amount of stimulation and too much!
  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it follows that you should always be aware of what levels of sound you’re subjecting your ears to. Tracking the volume on amps and PA systems is part of it. But you can also monitor day-to-day volume levels of external noises using a decibel meter app that you can download on your cellphone. If the meter detects volumes above 85dB regularly, you’ll want to address this.

Wear hearing protection

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

  • Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s likely very familiar to most individuals. They don’t always fit comfortably, but they do reliably stop a lot of sound. They’re not hard to get, don’t cost much, and can be thrown away easily. And they aren’t ideal for musicians. However, by paying a little more, you can purchase high-quality earplugs made specifically for musicians. These earplugs use cutting-edge manufacturing processes (mostly they’re made out of very distinct materials and are designed to conform nicely to the ear) to maintain audio clarity while diminishing the noise you experience by around 20dB. This solution is perfect for musicians who need a light to moderate amount of protection (and who don’t have a ton of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to misplace them).
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs work in basically the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block most of the sound. But the earplug itself will pipe in the sound you hear. For people who work in very loud settings and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are ideal.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a significant part of modern music. A device, called an in-ear-monitor, is placed in your ear and transmits signals in electronically. It’s like a specialized little speaker for your ear, and most monitors can block out sound from the outside world (thanks to a rather tight fit and specialized design). So you control the volume level and are able to hear sound accurately and clearly. In-ear monitors are useful for individuals who work primarily with electronically amplified instruments.

Protect your career by protecting your hearing

It’s better to begin safeguarding your hearing early, before any substantial damage occurs. With solutions available at just about every price point, there are easy ways for everyone to protect their hearing and their future. Remember, ear 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.

Don’t really know where to begin? Give us a call today, we can help!

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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