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

Musicians are cool! Their shows bring us so much happiness. But music is so much more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing risk. Since musicians subject themselves to loud music frequently, their hearing is at an increased risk of being harmed.

As you grow older, you’ll still want to be able to enjoy your favorite songs whether you’re a musician or not. The key to having an extended successful career, for musicians, is protecting their hearing. Ear protection is also key to a lifetime of musical enjoyment for everybody.

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 someone whether an acoustic guitar or a lone violin is loud, they might not reply so quickly. Usually, when they hear the answer, they’re pretty surprised: That can also be loud music! Your ears can even be damaged by classical music which can reach fairly loud volumes.

Sounds louder than 90 dB can be produced by a violin, for example. A leaf blower is about this loud. To put that into context, the European Union laws dictate that any work environment louder than 85 dB calls for the use of hearing protection.

And your hearing can be significantly compromised over time if you’re working with music every day, particularly if you don’t use hearing protection.

Can you safeguard your ears from noise damage?

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 hearing and still take pleasure in the music they love so much?

Here are a couple of strategies:

  • Track your volume: Everybody knows the old saying “knowledge is power”. So being aware of volume levels of sounds around you will help you safeguard your hearing. Tracking the volume on amps and PA systems is one factor. 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 reads above 85dB consistently, you’ll want to do something about this.
  • Take breaks: Much like any part of your body, your ears can become tired and might need a little break. So take regular breaks from the noise. In this way, noises won’t overpower and damage your ears. Duration is nearly as important 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

Of course, the single most beneficial thing you can do to safeguard your ears is easy: wearing hearing protection of some kind. Many musicians are unwilling to use ear protection because they’re worried it will effect the clarity of sound they hear, as well as dampening the volume. But depending on what kind of hearing protection you use, that may not always be true.

  • Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Most people are probably familiar with disposable ear plugs. They’re pretty good at stopping a lot of sound though they sometimes don’t fit very well. They’re not hard to get, aren’t expensive, and can be thrown away easily. And they aren’t ideal for musicians. However, by paying a little more, you can purchase high-quality earplugs made chiefly for musicians. These earplugs use fancy manufacturing tricks (mostly they’re made out of very specific materials and are designed to conform nicely to the ear) to maintain audio clarity while diminishing the noise you hear by around 20dB. For musicians who require a moderate amount of protection on a budget, this solution is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs function in pretty much the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The majority of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. But the earplug itself will send in the sound you hear. This solution is perfect for individuals who work in particularly noisy environments, and who are looking for more options when it comes to volume control.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a significant part of modern music. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and conveys 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 rather tight fit and special design). This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. For musicians who electronically amplify their instruments these in-ear-monitors are the ideal solution.

Safeguard your hearing, and protect your career

It’s better to begin safeguarding your hearing early, before any substantial damage occurs. Everybody can safeguard their hearing and future with hearing protection solutions for every budget. Keep in mind, ear protection for a musician is an investment in your career. It’s one way to be certain you’ll be making amazing music for many years (maybe even decades) to come!

Don’t quite know where to begin? Contact us today, we can help!

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