Audiology Associates of North Florida - Tallahassee, FL

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

Musicians are awesome! Their songs bring us so much happiness. The drawback is that music is pretty much always loud, in fact, many individuals prefer it that way. The musicians themselves are at an increased danger of hearing damage since they are exposed 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. 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

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 noisy, they might not answer so quickly. Imagine their surprise when they discover the reality: that music is indeed loud! Your ears can even be damaged by classical music which can get to fairly loud volumes.

Sounds higher than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for example. A leaf blower is around this loud. In Europe, for instance, they have laws that require ear protection for anyone who works in a work environment where there is noise above 85 dB.

And if you’re working with music on a daily basis, continuous exposure to that kind of volume, particularly without hearing protection, can seriously damage your hearing over time.

Can you protect your ears from noise damage?

Okay, now you recognize that musicians need to safeguard their hearing (particularly if they want to continue 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 simple things musicians can do:

  • Take breaks: Your ears are like any other part of your body: they can become exhausted and will frequently benefit from rest. So take frequent breaks from the noise. In this way, noises won’t overpower and damage your ears. Duration is nearly as important as volume when it comes to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!
  • Track your volume: Everybody remembers the old saying “knowledge is power”. So it follows that you should always know what volume of sound you’re subjecting your ears to. Usually, this is as simple as tracking your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also track day-to-day volume levels of environmental noises using a volume meter app that you can download on your cellphone. You will need to make some changes if the meter regularly detects volumes above 85 dB.

Use ear protection

Using hearing protection is the number one most effective way to protect your hearing. Lots of musicians are worried that hearing protection will mute the sound and impact its overall sound quality. That’s not always true, depending on which kind of hearing protection you use.

  • Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Most people are probably acquainted with disposable ear plugs. They don’t always fit comfortably, but they do reliably block a lot of sound. They aren’t difficult to get, aren’t expensive, and can be disposed of easily. For musicians, they aren’t an ideal solution. However, by paying a little more, you can buy high-quality earplugs designed chiefly for musicians. These earplugs use cutting-edge manufacturing methods (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 hear by around 20dB. For musicians who need a moderate level of protection on a budget, this option is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: The same general functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can be found in electronic earplugs. The majority of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. What you hear will instead be piped in by the earplug itself. This option is perfect for those who work in particularly loud environments, and who are looking for more options when it comes to controlling volume.
  • 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). The majority of monitors are small speakers that fit snugly and block out the majority of sound while playing sounds you want to hear at safe volumes. So you regulate the volume level and can hear sound accurately and clearly. In-ear monitors are practical for those who work mainly with electronically amplified instruments.

Safeguard your ears, and protect your career

It’s best to start safeguarding your hearing early, before any significant damage occurs. Everyone can protect their hearing and future with ear protection options at all price points. Keep in mind, hearing protection for a musician is an investment in your career. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy creating music for as long as you want to.

Don’t really know where to begin? Contact 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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