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! They bring so much pleasure to our lives with their performances. But music is a lot more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing risk. Since musicians subject themselves to loud music frequently, their hearing is at greater risk of being damaged.

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, ear protection is the secret to a lifetime of musical enjoyment and enrichment.

Music is surprisingly loud

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 harmed by classical music which can reach fairly high volumes.

Sounds higher than 90 dB can be produced by a violin, for instance. A leaf blower is around this noisy. In Europe, for instance, they have laws that require ear protection for anybody who works in a work environment where there is noise above 85 dB.

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

How can you protect your hearing?

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

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

  • Track your volume: Everybody knows the old saying “knowledge is power”. So it makes sense that you should always know what volume of sound you’re exposing your ears to. Usually, this is as simple as monitoring your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also keep track of day-to-day volume levels of external noises using a decibel meter app that you can download on your cellphone. If the meter reads above 85dB consistently, you’ll want to do something about this.
  • Take breaks: Like any part of your body, your ears can become fatigued and might need a little break. So give yourself “hearing breaks” regularly. In this way, noises won’t overpower and harm your ears. With regard to hearing, how long you’re exposed is nearly as important as how loud it is. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!

Use ear protection

Using ear protection is the number one most effective way to safeguard your hearing. A lot of musicians are worried that hearing protection will muffle the sound and effects its overall sound quality. That isn’t always the case, depending on which type of hearing protection you use.

  • Ear plugs made primarily for musicians: Most people are likely acquainted with disposable ear plugs. They don’t always fit comfortably, but they do reliably block a lot of sound. They’re cheap, easy to come by, and easy to dispose of. For musicians, they aren’t the best solution. But earplugs made just for musicians are also available for a little more money. These earplugs use fancy manufacturing processes (mostly they’re made out of very specific materials and are designed to fit comfortably in the ear) to maintain audio fidelity while decreasing the noise you hear by about 20dB. This solution is perfect for musicians who require 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: The same basic functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can also be found in electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block out most of the sound. But the earplug itself will pipe in the sound you hear. This solution is perfect for individuals who work in particularly noisy settings, and who want more options when it comes to 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 in your ear (called an in-ear monitor). It’s like a specialized little speaker for your ear, and most monitors can block out sound from the outside world (thanks to a fairly tight fit and special design). So you regulate the volume level and are able to hear sound in an accurate and clear way. In-ear monitors are practical for those who work chiefly with electronically amplified instruments.

Protect your ears, and protect your career

It’s best to start safeguarding your hearing early, before any significant damage occurs. Everybody can safeguard their hearing and future with hearing protection solutions for every budget. Don’t forget that you’re investing in your career by using hearing protection for musicians. It’s one way to be certain you’ll be making amazing music for years (maybe even decades) to come!

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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