Should Musicians Wear Hearing Protection?

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

Musicians rock. Their performances bring us so much happiness. But music is so much more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing hazard. Since musicians expose themselves to loud music frequently, their hearing is at an increased risk of being damaged.

As you get older, you’ll still want to be able to enjoy your favorite music whether you’re a musician or not. For musicians, safeguarding their hearing is the key to a lengthy and successful career. For the rest of us, hearing protection is the key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment and enrichment.

Oftentimes it can be surprising how loud music can get

If you ask the majority of individuals if a jet engine is loud, they’ll likely say yes.

Is music really that loud? People may not be so fast to answer that question if you ask them if a violin or acoustic guitar is loud. Usually, when they hear the answer, they’re pretty surprised: that music is indeed loud! Your ears can even be harmed by classical music which can reach relatively loud volumes.

A violin, for example, can produce sounds well over 90 dB. That’s about as loud as a leaf blower. To put that into context, the European Union regulations dictate that any work environment louder than 85 dB requires the use of ear protection.

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

Can you protect your ears from noise damage?

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

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Take breaks: Like any part of your body, your ears can become tired and may need to get a little rest. So take regular breaks from the noise. This will help stop your ears from getting overwhelmed with sound (and damage). With regard to hearing, how long you’re exposed is nearly as significant as how loud it is. The difference between the perfect amount of stimulation and too much can depend upon taking regular breaks.
  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it follows that you should always know what volume of sound you’re subjecting your ears to. Sometimes, this is as simple as monitoring your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also track day-to-day volume levels of external noises using a volume meter app that you can download on your cellphone. You will want to make a few changes if the meter regularly reads above 85 dB.

hearing protection is important

Needless to say, the single most beneficial thing you can do to protect your ears is easy: wearing hearing protection of some kind. A lot of musicians are worried that ear protection will mute the sound and impact its overall sound quality. But depending on what type of hearing protection you use, that might not always be true.

  • Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s most likely very well known to most individuals. They don’t always fit perfectly, but they do reliably stop a lot of sound. They’re not hard to get, aren’t expensive, and can be thrown away easily. And they aren’t best suited for musicians. However, by paying a little more, you can buy high-quality earplugs made specifically for musicians. A special material and state-of-the-art engineering are used to help these earplugs fit comfortably in the ear and decrease external noise by about 20% while preserving the audio clarity. For musicians who need a moderate level of protection on a budget, this option is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs work in pretty much the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. Most of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. What you hear will instead be piped in by the earplug itself. For people who work in very noisy environments and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are ideal.
  • In-ear monitors: The majority of music is electronic now, or at least amplified by electronics. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and transmits them directly to a device placed in your ear (called an in-ear monitor). Most monitors are small speakers that fit snugly and block out the majority of sound while playing sounds you want to hear at less harmful volumes. So you control the volume level and are able to hear sound accurately and clearly. For musicians who electronically amplify their instruments these in-ear-monitors are the perfect solution.

Safeguard your career by protecting your hearing

It’s never too late to take steps to protect your ears, but it’s definitely a good idea to begin sooner rather than later. With options available at just about every price point, there are easy ways for everyone to protect their hearing and their future. Don’t forget that you’re investing in your career by using hearing protection for musicians. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy creating music for as long as you want to.

Give us a call so we can help you get started.

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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