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 so much more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing hazard. The musicians themselves are at an even greater danger of hearing damage since they are subjected to loud music nearly every day.

Whether your income depends on music or not, you’ll still want to be able to hear your favorite songs when you’re pushing 60, 70, or 80. The key to having an extended successful career, for musicians, is protecting their ears. Hearing protection is also key to a lifetime of musical enjoyment for everyone.

Sometimes it can be surprising how loud music can be

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

But what about music? If you ask somebody whether an acoustic guitar or a lone violin is loud, they may not answer right away. Usually, when they hear the answer, they’re pretty surprised: that music is indeed loud! Even classical music can get to relatively loud volumes that can easily harm your hearing.

A violin, for example, can produce sounds well over 90 dB. That’s about as noisy as a leaf blower. In Europe, for instance, they have laws that require ear protection for anybody who works in a work environment where there is noise louder than 85 dB.

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

Can you protect your ears from noise damage?

Okay, now you know that musicians need to protect their hearing (particularly if they want to continue rocking out for many years). So how can musicians continue to enjoy their music while also safeguarding their hearing?

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

  • Take breaks: Your ears are like any other part of your body: they can be overworked and will frequently benefit from a break. So take frequent breaks from the noise. This will help stop your ears from becoming overpowered with sound (and damage). With regard to hearing, how long you’re exposed is almost as significant as how loud it is. The difference between the perfect amount of stimulation and too much can come down to taking regular breaks.
  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it follows that you should always be aware of what levels of sound you’re exposing your ears to. Tracking the volume on amps and PA systems is one factor. But you can also monitor day-to-day volume levels of external noises using a decibel meter app that you can download on your cellphone. You will want to make a few changes if the meter regularly detects volumes above 85 dB.

Ear protection is important

Using hearing protection is the number one most effective way to protect your hearing. Many musicians are unwilling to use ear protection because they’re concerned it will impact the clarity of sound they hear, in addition to muting the volume. That isn’t always the case, depending on which type of ear protection you choose.

  • Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Most people are probably acquainted with disposable ear plugs. They’re fairly good at blocking a lot of sound though they sometimes don’t fit very well. They’re inexpensive, easy to come by, and easy to dispose of. For musicians, they aren’t a great solution. However, by spending just a little more money, you can purchase high-quality earplugs made specifically for musicians. These earplugs use fancy manufacturing methods (mostly they’re made out of very specific materials and are designed to conform nicely to the ear) to preserve audio fidelity while decreasing the noise you experience by about 20dB. For musicians who require a moderate level of protection on a budget, this solution is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs function in pretty much the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block out most of the sound. What you hear will instead be piped in by the earplug itself. This solution is perfect for people who work in particularly loud settings, and who want more options in terms of controlling volume.
  • In-ear monitors: The majority of music is electronic these days, or at least amplified by electronics. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and sends 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 environment (thanks to a rather tight fit and special design). So you regulate the volume level and are able to hear sound in an accurate and clear way. In-ear monitors are beneficial for people who work mainly with electronically amplified instruments.

Safeguard your ears, and protect your career

It’s never too late to take steps to safeguard your hearing, but it’s definitely a good idea to begin sooner rather than later. With solutions available at just about every price point, there are simple ways for everybody to safeguard their hearing and their future. Don’t forget that you’re investing in your career by using hearing protection for musicians. 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 begin? Call us today, we can help!

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