Gilberts Audiology & Hearing Aid Center - Oklahoma

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

Musicians rock. Their performances bring us so much happiness. But music is so much more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing risk. Since musicians expose themselves to loud music frequently, their hearing is at greater risk of being damaged.

As you grow older, you’ll still want to be able to enjoy your favorite songs whether you’re a musician or not. The key to having a long successful career, for musicians, is protecting their ears. Ear protection is also key to a lifetime of musical enjoyment for everybody.

Music is surprisingly loud

Most people would say that a jet engine is really loud.

But what about music? People may not be so fast to answer that question if you ask them if a violin or acoustic guitar is loud. Imagine their surprise when they discover the reality: that music is indeed loud! Even classical music can get to fairly loud volumes that can easily damage your hearing.

Sounds higher than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for example. That’s about as noisy as a leaf blower. To put that into context, the European Union laws stipulate that any workplace louder than 85 dB will require the use of ear protection.

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

Can you safeguard your ears from noise damage?

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

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

  • Take breaks: Much like any part of your body, your ears can become fatigued and may need a little break. So take frequent breaks from the noise. By doing this, noises won’t overpower and damage your ears. Regarding hearing, how long you’re exposed is almost as important as how loud it is. Taking breaks can be the difference between just the right amount of stimulation and too much!
  • Track your volume: Everybody knows the old saying “knowledge is power”. So knowing volume levels of noises around you will help you safeguard your hearing. Sometimes, this is as simple as keeping track of your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also purchase a decibel meter app for your smartphone to make it easy to monitor the real-world volume levels your ears are experiencing from day-to-day. If the meter reads above 85dB regularly, you’ll want to address this.

Wear ear protection

Of course, the single most effective thing you can do to protect your ears is easy: using hearing protection of some kind. Lots of musicians are worried that ear protection will mute the sound and impact its overall sound quality. That isn’t always the case, depending on which kind of hearing protection you use.

  • Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Most individuals are likely familiar with disposable ear plugs. They don’t always fit well, but they do reliably block a lot of sound. They’re cheap, easy to get, and easy to dispose of. And they aren’t best suited for musicians. But earplugs just for musicians are also available at a slightly higher cost. These earplugs use cutting-edge manufacturing tricks (mostly they’re made out of very specific materials and are designed to conform nicely to the ear) to maintain audio clarity while reducing the noise you experience by about 20dB. This solution is perfect for musicians who need a light to moderate amount of protection (and who don’t have a lot of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to lose them).
  • 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. What you hear will instead be piped in by the earplug itself. This solution is perfect for individuals who work in particularly noisy environments, and who want more options when it comes to volume control.
  • In-ear monitors: Most music is electronic now, or at least amplified by electronics. 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). 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). So you control the volume level and are able to hear sound in an accurate and clear way. In-ear monitors are useful for individuals who work primarily with electronically amplified instruments.

Protect your ears, and protect your career

It’s never too late to take measures to safeguard your hearing, but it’s definitely a good plan to start sooner rather than later. Everybody can protect their hearing and future with hearing protection options for every budget. Remember, ear protection for a musician is an investment in your career. It’s one way to ensure you’ll be making incredible music for many years (maybe even decades) to come!

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.
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