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

Musicians rock. They bring so much happiness to our lives with their songs. The downside is that music is nearly always loud, in fact, many individuals like it better that way. The musicians themselves are at an increased risk of hearing damage since they are subjected to loud music just about every day.

As you get older, you’ll still want to be capable of enjoying your favorite music whether you’re a musician or not. For musicians, protecting their hearing is the key to a long and successful career. Hearing protection is also key to a lifetime of musical enjoyment for everyone.

Sometimes it can be surprising how loud music can be

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

But what about music? 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 certainly loud! Your ears can even be harmed by classical music which can reach relatively loud volumes.

A violin, for instance, can produce sounds in excess of 90 dB. That’s about as loud as a leaf blower. To put that into context, the European Union regulations dictate that any workplace noisier than 85 dB calls for the use of hearing protection.

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

How can you safeguard your hearing?

Okay, now you recognize that musicians need to safeguard their hearing (particularly if they want to continue rocking out for many years). So what can musicians do to safeguard their ears and still take pleasure in the music they enjoy so much?

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So being aware of volume levels of noises 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. If the meter detects volumes above 85dB consistently, you’ll want to do something about this.
  • Take breaks: Like any part of your body, your ears can become fatigued and may need to get a little rest. So give yourself “hearing breaks” frequently. In this way, noises won’t overpower and damage your ears. Duration is nearly as relevant as volume when it comes to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just the right amount of stimulation and too much!

Ear protection is important

Of course, the single most effective thing you can do to safeguard your ears is simple: wearing ear protection of some kind. A lot of musicians are concerned that hearing protection will muffle the sound and impact its overall sound quality. But depending on what type of hearing protection you use, that might not always be accurate.

  • Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Most people are most likely acquainted with disposable ear plugs. They don’t always fit comfortably, but they do reliably stop a lot of sound. They’re not hard to get, aren’t expensive, and can be thrown away easily. For musicians, they aren’t the best solution. However, by spending just a little more money, you can purchase high-quality earplugs designed 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. This option is perfect for musicians who require a light to moderate level of protection (and who don’t have a lot of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to lose them).
  • Electronic earplugs: The same basic functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can be found in electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block out the majority of the sound. But the earplug itself will pipe in the sound you hear. This option is perfect for people who work in particularly loud environments, and who are looking for more options when it comes to volume control.
  • In-ear monitors: Most music is electronic these days, or at least amplified by electronics. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is placed inside of your ear and passes signals in electronically. 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. 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 perfect solution.

Protect your hearing, and protect your career

It’s better to begin protecting your hearing early, before any substantial harm occurs. With solutions available at nearly every price point, there are simple ways for everyone to protect their hearing and their future. Keep in mind, hearing protection for a musician is an investment in your career. It’s one way to ensure you’ll be making incredible music for years (maybe even decades) to come!

Contact us so we can help you get started.

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