HEARING TIPS

Musician protecting his hearing from hearing loss.

When your favorite tune comes on the radio, do you find yourself cranking the volume up? You aren’t on your own. When you pump up the music, you can feel it in your gut. And it’s something you can truly take pleasure in. But, here’s the thing: there can also be appreciable damage done.

In the past we weren’t conscious of the relationship between hearing loss and music. Volume is the biggest problem(this is based on how many times each day you listen and how extreme the volume is). And many musicians are rethinking how they approach dealing with the volume of their music.

Musicians And Hearing Loss

It’s a pretty famous irony that, when he got older, classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven was hard of hearing. He could only hear his compositions internally. There’s even one story about how the composer was conducting one of his symphonies and had to be turned around at the end of the performance because he was unable to hear the thundering applause of the crowd.

Beethoven may be the first and most famous example of the deaf musician, but he definitely isn’t the last. In fact, a far more recent generation of rock musicians, all famous for cranking their speakers (and performances) up to 11–are now going public with their personal hearing loss experiences.

From Neil Diamond to Eric Clapton to will.i.am, the stories all seem remarkably similar. Being a musician means spending just about every day stuck between blaring speakers and deafening crowds. Significant damage including hearing loss and tinnitus will ultimately be the result.

Even if You’re Not a Musician This Could Still be a Problem

As a non-rock star (at least in terms of the profession, we all know you’re a rock star in terms of personality), you may have a hard time connecting this to your personal concerns. You don’t have millions of cheering fans screaming for you (usually). And you don’t have massive amplifiers behind you every day.

But your favorite playlist and a pair of earbuds are things you do have. And that can be a serious concern. Thanks to the modern capabilities of earbuds, nearly everyone can experience life like a musician, inundated by sound and music that are way too loud.

The ease with which you can subject yourself to detrimental and constant sounds make this once cliche grievance into a substantial cause for alarm.

So How Can You Safeguard Your Ears While Listening to Music?

As with most situations admitting that there’s an issue is the first step. Raising awareness can help some people (particularly younger, more impressionable people) become aware that they’re putting their hearing in danger. But there are other (additional) steps you can take too:

  • Use ear protection: When you attend a rock concert (or any kind of musical event or show), wear earplugs. Your experience won’t be lessened by using ear plugs. But they will protect your ears from the most harmful of the damage. (And don’t assume that using hearing protection will make you uncool because it’s what most of your favorite musicians are doing.).
  • Keep your volume in check: Many modern smartphones will let you know when you’re going beyond healthy limits on volume. You should adhere to these safety measures if you care about your long-term hearing.
  • Download a volume-monitoring app: You may not realize just how loud a rock concert or music venue is. It can be useful to download one of several free apps that will give you a volume measurement of your environment. As a result, when hazardous levels are reached you will know it.

Limit Exposure

It’s pretty simple math: you will have more serious hearing loss later in life the more often you put your hearing at risk. Eric Clapton, as an example, has completely lost his hearing. If he realized this would happen, he probably would have begun protecting his hearing sooner.

Reducing exposure, then, is the best way to reduce damage. That can be difficult for individuals who work at a concert venue. Ear protection might offer part of a solution there.

But keeping the volume at sensible levels is also a good idea.

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