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

Musicians rock. Their songs bring us so much enjoyment. But music is so much more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing risk. The musicians themselves are at an even greater danger of hearing damage since they are subjected to loud music just about every day.

As you grow 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 an extended and successful career. Ear protection is also key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment for everybody.

Music is surprisingly loud

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

But what about music? People might not be so quick 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 can also be loud music! Your ears can even be damaged by classical music which can reach fairly high volumes.

Sounds louder than 90 dB can be produced by a violin, for instance. That’s around as loud as a leaf blower. In Europe, for instance, they have laws 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 sort of volume, especially without hearing protection, can seriously harm your hearing over time.

How can you safeguard your hearing?

Okay, musicians who want to preserve their hearing for years to come need to protect their ears. So what can musicians do to protect their ears and still enjoy the music they enjoy so much?

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

  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So knowing volume levels of sounds around you will help you protect your hearing. Monitoring the volume on amps and PA systems is one factor. But you can also invest in a decibel meter app for your smartphone to make it easy to track the real-world volume levels your ears are encountering from day-to-day. You will want to make a few changes if the meter consistently detects volumes louder than 85 dB.
  • Take breaks: Your ears are the same as any other part of your body: they can be overworked and will frequently benefit from rest. So give yourself “hearing breaks” regularly. In this way, noises won’t overpower and harm your ears. Duration is almost as relevant 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.

Ear protection is important

Using ear protection is the single most effective way to safeguard your hearing. A lot of musicians are concerned that ear protection will mute the sound and impact its overall sound quality. That isn’t always true, depending on which type of ear protection you choose.

  • Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s likely very familiar to most individuals. They’re pretty good at stopping a lot of sound though they sometimes don’t fit comfortably. They’re cheap, easy to find, and easy to dispose of. And they aren’t ideal for musicians. But earplugs just for musicians are also available for a little more money. A special material and modern engineering are used to help these earplugs fit snuggly in the ear and decrease external noise by around 20% while maintaining the audio fidelity. For musicians who need a moderate amount 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 earplug itself will block 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 noisy settings, and who want more options in terms of volume control.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a major part of modern music. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and transmits them directly to a device placed inside of your ear (called an in-ear monitor). It’s like a special little speaker for your ear, and the majority of monitors can block out sound from the outside environment (thanks to a fairly tight fit and specialized design). This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. In-ear monitors are useful for individuals who work chiefly with electronically amplified instruments.

Protect your ears, and protect your career

It’s best to start protecting your hearing early, before any substantial harm occurs. With options available at just about every price point, there are simple ways for everybody to safeguard their hearing and their future. Keep in mind, hearing protection for a musician is an investment in your career. It’s one way to make sure you’ll be making amazing music for many years (maybe even decades) to come!

Don’t really know where to start? Give us a call today, we can help!

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