Audio Life Hearing Center- Knoxville, TN

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 hazard. Since musicians expose themselves to loud music frequently, their hearing is at an increased 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 hearing. For the rest of us, hearing protection is the key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment and enrichment.

Sometimes it can be surprising how loud music can get

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

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 certainly loud! Your ears can even be harmed by classical music which can get to relatively loud volumes.

Sounds higher than 90 dB can be produced by a violin, for instance. That’s about as noisy as a leaf blower. To put that into context, the European Union laws dictate that any work environment louder than 85 dB calls for the use of ear protection.

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

Can you protect your ears from noise damage?

Okay, musicians who want to maintain their hearing for years to come need to protect their ears. So how can musicians keep enjoying their music while also preserving their hearing?

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Track your volume: Everybody remembers the old saying “knowledge is power”. So it follows that you should always be aware of what levels of sound you’re exposing your ears to. Monitoring the volume on amps and PA systems is part of it. But you can also invest in a decibel meter app for your smartphone to make it convenient to track the real-world volume levels your ears are encountering day in and day out. You will need to make a few changes if the meter regularly reads louder than 85 dB.
  • Take breaks: Your ears are like any other part of your body: they can be overworked and will often benefit from rest. So take frequent breaks from the noise. This will help prevent your ears from becoming overpowered with noise (and damage). Regarding hearing, how long you’re exposed is almost as significant as how loud it is. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!

Use hearing protection

Using hearing protection is the number one most effective way to safeguard your hearing. Lots of musicians are worried that hearing protection will muffle the sound and impact its overall sound quality. But depending on what kind of hearing protection you use, that may not always be accurate.

  • Ear plugs made primarily for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s most likely very well known to most people. They’re pretty good at blocking a lot of sound although they sometimes don’t fit very well. They’re cheap, easy to find, 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 modern manufacturing methods (mostly they’re made out of very specific materials and are designed to fit comfortably in the ear) to preserve audio clarity while reducing the noise you hear by around 20dB. This option is perfect for musicians who need a light to moderate level of protection (and who don’t have a lot of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to misplace them).
  • Electronic earplugs: The same general functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can also be found in electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block most of the sound. But the earplug itself will pipe in the sound you hear. For individuals who work in very loud environments and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are ideal.
  • 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 inside of your ear (called an in-ear monitor). Most monitors are little speakers that fit tightly and block out most sound while playing sounds you want to hear at safe volumes. So you control the volume level and can hear sound in an accurate and clear way. In-ear monitors are useful for individuals who work chiefly with electronically amplified instruments.

Safeguard your career by protecting your ears

It’s never too late to take steps to safeguard your ears, but it’s definitely a good plan to start sooner rather than later. Everyone can safeguard their hearing and future with ear protection options for every budget. 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 quite 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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