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

Musicians are cool! 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. Since musicians subject themselves to loud music frequently, their hearing is at greater risk of being harmed.

Whether your income relies on music or not, you’ll still want to be able to hear your favorite songs when you’re in your later years of life. For musicians, preserving their hearing is the key to a lengthy and successful career. For the rest of us, ear protection is the key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment and enrichment.

Music is surprisingly loud

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

Is music really that loud? If you ask somebody whether an acoustic guitar or a lone violin is loud, they may not answer right away. Imagine their surprise when they discover the reality: That can also be loud music! Even classical music can reach relatively high volumes that can easily harm your hearing.

A violin, for instance, can create sounds well over 90 dB. A leaf blower is around this loud. In Europe, for example, they have laws that require ear protection for anyone who works in a setting where there is noise above 85 dB.

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

How can you protect your hearing?

Okay, musicians who want to keep 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 love so much?

Here are a couple of strategies:

  • Take breaks: Much like any part of your body, your ears can become fatigued and might need a little break. So give yourself “hearing breaks” frequently. This will help stop your ears from becoming overpowered with noise (and damage). Duration is almost as important as volume with regard to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!
  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So knowing volume levels of sounds around you will help you protect your hearing. Usually, this is as simple as monitoring your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also monitor day-to-day volume levels of external noises using a volume meter app that you can download on your cellphone. If the meter detects volumes above 85dB consistently, you’ll want to address this.

Wear hearing protection

Needless to say, the single most beneficial thing you can do to safeguard your ears is simple: using hearing protection of some kind. Many musicians are unwilling to use hearing protection because they’re worried it will impact the clarity of sound they hear, in addition to dampening the volume. That isn’t always the case, depending on which type of hearing protection you choose.

  • Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s probably very well known to most people. They don’t always fit well, but they do reliably stop a lot of sound. They’re inexpensive, easy to get, and easy to dispose of. For musicians, they aren’t the best solution. But earplugs made just for musicians are also available at a slightly higher cost. These earplugs use modern 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 reducing the noise you experience by about 20dB. This solution is perfect for musicians who require a light to moderate level of protection (and who don’t have a ton of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to lose them).
  • Electronic earplugs: The same general functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can be found in electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block out the majority of the sound. What you hear will instead be piped in by the earplug itself. For people who work in very loud environments and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are ideal.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a significant part of modern music. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is put inside of your ear and transmits signals in electronically. The majority of monitors are little 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 are able to hear sound in an accurate and clear way. For musicians who electronically amplify their instruments these in-ear-monitors are the ideal answer.

Protect your ears, and protect your career

It’s best to begin protecting your hearing early, before any significant damage occurs. With solutions available at just about every price point, there are simple ways for everyone to protect their hearing and their future. Remember that you’re investing in your career by utilizing hearing protection for musicians. It’s one way to make sure you’ll be making amazing music for years (maybe even decades) to come!

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

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