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 songs. But music is a lot more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing risk. The musicians themselves are at an even greater risk of hearing damage since they are exposed to loud music nearly every day.

As you get older, you’ll still want to be capable of enjoying your favorite songs whether you’re a musician or not. The key to having an extended successful career, for musicians, is protecting their hearing. Hearing protection is also key to a lifetime of musical enjoyment for everyone.

Oftentimes it can be surprising how loud music can get

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

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! Even classical music can get to fairly high volumes that can easily damage your hearing.

A violin, for instance, can create sounds well over 90 dB. A leaf blower is about this loud. In Europe, for instance, they have laws that require hearing protection for anyone who works in a setting where there is noise above 85 dB.

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

How can you protect your hearing?

Okay, now you recognize that musicians need to protect their hearing (especially if they want to go on rocking out for years to come). So how can musicians continue to enjoy their music while also safeguarding their hearing?

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it follows that you should always be aware of what volume of sound you’re exposing your ears to. Tracking the volume on amps and PA systems is part of it. But you can also keep track of day-to-day volume levels of external noises using a volume 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 take frequent breaks from the noise. This will help stop your ears from getting overwhelmed with noise (and damage). Duration is almost as important as volume with regard to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just the right amount of stimulation and too much!

Wear ear protection

Of course, the single most effective thing you can do to safeguard your hearing is simple: wearing hearing protection of some kind. Many musicians are reluctant to wear hearing protection because they’re concerned it will impact the quality of sound they hear, in addition to muting the volume. But depending on what kind of hearing protection you use, that may not always be true.

  • Ear plugs made primarily for musicians: Most people are probably familiar with disposable ear plugs. They’re pretty good at blocking a lot of sound although they sometimes don’t fit very well. They’re not difficult to find, aren’t expensive, and can be disposed of easily. For musicians, they aren’t an ideal solution. But earplugs just for musicians are also available at a slightly higher cost. A special material and state-of-the-art engineering are utilized to help these earplugs fit snuggly in the ear and minimize external noise by around 20% while maintaining the audio fidelity. This solution is perfect for musicians who require a light to moderate level 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 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. For people who work in really noisy settings and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are perfect.
  • In-ear monitors: Most music is electronic nowadays, or at least amplified by electronics. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is put inside of 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 environment (thanks to a rather tight fit and special design). 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 perfect answer.

Protect your ears, and protect your career

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 options available at just about every price point, there are simple ways for everyone to protect their hearing and their future. Remember, ear protection for a musician is an investment in your career. It’s one way to ensure you’ll be making amazing music for many years (maybe even decades) to come!

Contact us so we can help you get started.

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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.