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

Musicians rock. They bring so much pleasure to our lives with their performances. The drawback is that music is pretty much always loud, in fact, many individuals prefer it that way. Since musicians expose themselves to loud music on a daily basis, their hearing is at greater risk of being damaged.

As you grow older, you’ll still want to be able to enjoy your favorite music whether you’re a musician or not. For musicians, protecting their hearing is the key to a lengthy and successful career. For the rest of us, ear protection is the key to a lifetime of musical enjoyment and enrichment.

Music is surprisingly loud

If you ask most individuals 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 loud, they might not answer so quickly. Imagine their surprise when they discover the reality: That can also be very loud music! Your ears can even be harmed by classical music which can get to fairly loud volumes.

A violin, for example, can create sounds well over 90 dB. That’s around as loud as a leaf blower. To put that into context, the European Union regulations dictate that any work environment noisier than 85 dB will require the use of hearing protection.

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

How can you protect your hearing?

Okay, musicians who want to preserve their hearing for years to come need to safeguard their hearing. So what can musicians do to safeguard their hearing and still take pleasure in the music they enjoy so much?

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Take breaks: Like any part of your body, your ears can become exhausted and might need to get a little rest. So take regular breaks from the noise. By doing this, noises won’t overpower and damage your ears. Duration is almost as relevant as volume when it comes to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!
  • Track your volume: Everybody remembers the old saying “knowledge is power”. So knowing volume levels of sounds around you will help you safeguard your hearing. Sometimes, this is as easy as keeping track of your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also track day-to-day volume levels of external noises using a volume meter app that you can download on your cellphone. You will need to make some changes if the meter regularly detects volumes above 85 dB.

Use ear protection

Of course, the single most effective thing you can do to safeguard your hearing is easy: using hearing protection of some kind. A lot of musicians are worried that hearing protection will muffle the sound and effects its overall sound quality. That’s not always the case, depending on which type of hearing protection you choose.

  • Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Most people are probably acquainted with disposable ear plugs. They’re fairly good at stopping a lot of sound though they sometimes don’t fit very well. They’re not hard to get, don’t cost much, and can be disposed of easily. For musicians, they aren’t a great solution. But earplugs just for musicians are also available at a slightly higher cost. These earplugs use fancy manufacturing tricks (mostly they’re made out of very distinct materials and are designed to fit comfortably in the ear) to preserve audio clarity while diminishing the noise you hear by around 20dB. This option 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 lose them).
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs function in pretty much the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The majority of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. But the earplug itself will pipe in the sound you hear. This option is perfect for individuals who work in particularly noisy settings, and who are looking for more options in terms of volume control.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a major part of modern music. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and transmits them directly to a device placed inside of your ear (called an in-ear monitor). The majority of monitors are small speakers that fit tightly and block out the majority of sound while playing sounds you want to hear at safe volumes. This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. For musicians who electronically amplify their instruments these in-ear-monitors are the ideal solution.

Protect your career by protecting your hearing

It’s never too late to take steps to protect your ears, but it’s definitely a good idea to begin sooner rather than later. With solutions available at nearly every price point, there are simple ways for everyone to protect 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 creating music for as long as you want to.

Don’t really know where to start? Call us today, we can help!

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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.