Musicians are cool! Their songs bring us so much happiness. But music is a lot more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing hazard. The musicians themselves are at an even greater risk of hearing damage since they are exposed to loud music just about every day.
As you get older, you’ll still want to be able to enjoy your favorite music whether you’re a musician or not. The key to having a long successful career, for musicians, is protecting their hearing. For the rest of us, hearing protection is the key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment and enrichment.
Music is surprisingly loud
If you ask the majority of individuals if a jet engine is loud, they’ll likely say yes.
Is music really that loud? People might 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 can also be very loud music! Even classical music can reach fairly high 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 example, they have regulations that require ear protection for anybody who works in a work environment where there is noise louder than 85 dB.
And if you’re working with music on a daily basis, constant exposure to that sort of volume, particularly without hearing protection, can severely 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 safeguard their hearing. So what can musicians do to protect their ears and still take pleasure in the music they love so much?
Well, here are a couple of easy things musicians can do:
- Take breaks: Your ears are the same as any other part of your body: they can be overworked and will frequently benefit from a break. So give yourself “hearing breaks” frequently. This will help stop your ears from getting overpowered with noise (and damage). Duration is nearly as relevant as volume with regard to hearing health. The difference between the ideal amount of stimulation and too much can depend upon taking frequent breaks.
- Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So being aware of volume levels of noises around you will help you protect your hearing. Tracking the volume on amps and PA systems is part of it. But you can also buy a decibel meter app for your smartphone to make it easy to track the real-world volume levels your ears are experiencing day in and day out. You will need to make some changes if the meter consistently reads above 85 dB.
Use hearing protection
Needless to say, the single most beneficial thing you can do to protect your ears is simple: wearing ear protection of some kind. Many musicians are hesitant to use ear protection because they’re worried it will impact the quality of sound they hear, in addition to muting the volume. That’s not always the case, depending on which type of hearing protection you use.
- Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Most people are likely acquainted with disposable ear plugs. They’re pretty good at blocking a lot of sound though they sometimes don’t fit comfortably. They aren’t hard to find, aren’t expensive, and can be thrown away easily. And they aren’t ideal for musicians. But earplugs made just for musicians are also available at a slightly higher cost. A specialized material and modern engineering are utilized to help these earplugs fit comfortably in the ear and reduce external noise by about 20% while preserving the audio fidelity. For musicians who require a moderate amount of protection on a budget, this option is perfect.
- Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs work in essentially the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The majority of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. What you hear will instead be routed in by the earplug itself. This option is perfect for individuals who work in particularly noisy settings, and who are looking for more options in terms of volume control.
- In-ear monitors: Most music is electronic now, or at least amplified by electronics. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and conveys them directly to a device placed in your ear (called an in-ear monitor). It’s like a specialized little speaker for your ear, and the majority of monitors can block out sound from the outside world (thanks to a rather tight fit and specialized design). This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. In-ear monitors are practical for those who work chiefly with electronically amplified instruments.
Protect your career by protecting your hearing
It’s best to start protecting your hearing early, before any significant damage occurs. Everyone can protect their hearing and future with ear protection options for every budget. Don’t forget 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 many years (maybe even decades) to come!
Don’t really know where to begin? Contact us today, we can help!