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

Musicians are awesome! They bring so much joy to our lives with their songs. The drawback is that music is nearly always loud, in fact, many individuals like it better that way. Since musicians expose themselves to loud music frequently, their hearing is at greater risk of being harmed.

As you get older, you’ll still want to be capable of enjoying your favorite songs 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 secret to a lifetime of musical fulfillment and enrichment.

Music is surprisingly loud

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

But what about music? People might not be so fast 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 music is certainly loud! Even classical music can get to relatively loud volumes that can easily harm your hearing.

A violin, for example, can produce sounds in excess of 90 dB. A leaf blower is around this loud. In Europe, for example, they have regulations that require ear protection for anybody who works in a setting where there is noise louder than 85 dB.

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

How can you safeguard your hearing?

Okay, now you’re aware that musicians need to safeguard their hearing (particularly if they want to keep on rocking out for years to come). So how can musicians keep enjoying their music while also protecting their hearing?

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

  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it follows that you should always know what volume of sound you’re subjecting your ears to. Sometimes, this is as simple as keeping track of your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also invest in a decibel meter app for your cellphone to make it convenient to monitor the real-world volume levels your ears are encountering from day-to-day. If the meter reads above 85dB consistently, you’ll have to do something about this.
  • Take breaks: Your ears are like any other part of your body: they can be overworked and will often benefit from rest. So give yourself “hearing breaks” frequently. In this way, noises won’t overpower and damage your ears. Duration is nearly as important as volume with regard to hearing health. The difference between the ideal amount of stimulation and too much can come down to taking frequent breaks.

hearing protection is important

Needless to say, the single most effective thing you can do to safeguard your hearing is easy: using hearing protection of some kind. Lots of musicians are worried that hearing protection will mute the sound and effects its overall sound quality. 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 likely familiar with disposable ear plugs. They’re pretty good at stopping a lot of sound though they sometimes don’t fit very well. They aren’t hard to get, aren’t expensive, and can be disposed of easily. For musicians, they aren’t an ideal solution. However, by spending just a little more money, you can purchase high-quality earplugs designed specifically for musicians. These earplugs use fancy manufacturing tricks (mostly they’re made out of very distinct materials and are designed to conform nicely to the ear) to preserve audio clarity while diminishing the noise you hear by about 20dB. This option is perfect for musicians who require a light to moderate amount of protection (and who don’t have a lot of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to misplace them).
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs function in essentially the same way as high-quality, non-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. For people who work in really loud environments and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are ideal.
  • In-ear monitors: The majority of music is electronic nowadays, or at least amplified by electronics. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and conveys them directly to a device placed in your ear (called an in-ear monitor). It’s like a special 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 accurately and clearly. For musicians who electronically amplify their instruments these in-ear-monitors are the ideal solution.

Safeguard 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. Everyone can safeguard their hearing and future with hearing protection options at all price points. Remember, hearing protection for a musician is an investment in your career. It’s one way to ensure you’ll be making incredible music for years (maybe even decades) to come!

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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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