Musicians are cool! They bring so much happiness 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 on a daily basis, their hearing is at an increased risk of being harmed.
Whether your living relies on music or not, you’ll still want to be able to hear your favorite songs when you’re pushing 60, 70, or 80. The key to having a long successful career, for musicians, is protecting their ears. For the rest of us, hearing protection is the secret to a lifetime of musical enjoyment and enrichment.
Sometimes it can be surprising how loud music can get
Most people would say that a jet engine is really loud.
Is music actually that loud? People may not be so fast to answer that question if you ask them if a violin or acoustic guitar is loud. Imagine their surprise when they discover the reality: That can also be very loud music! Your ears can even be damaged by classical music which can reach relatively loud volumes.
A violin, for instance, can create sounds in excess of 90 dB. A leaf blower is around this loud. To put that into context, the European Union regulations stipulate that any workplace louder than 85 dB calls for the use of ear protection.
And if you’re working with music on a daily basis, consistent exposure to that sort of volume, especially without hearing protection, can severely harm your hearing over time.
Can you safeguard your ears from noise damage?
Okay, musicians who want to preserve their hearing for years to come need to protect their hearing. So how can musicians continue to enjoy their music while also preserving their hearing?
Well, here are a couple of simple things musicians can do:
- Track your volume: Everyone knows the old saying “knowledge is power”. So knowing volume levels of sounds around you will help you safeguard your hearing. Sometimes, this is as easy as keeping track of your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also keep track of day-to-day volume levels of environmental noises using a decibel meter app that you can download on your cellphone. You will need to make some changes if the meter consistently reads louder than 85 dB.
- Take breaks: Much like any part of your body, your ears can become exhausted and may need to get a little rest. So take frequent breaks from the noise. This will help stop your ears from becoming overpowered with noise (and damage). Duration is almost as relevant as volume when it comes to hearing health. The difference between the perfect amount of stimulation and too much can depend upon taking regular breaks.
Ear protection is important
Of course, the single most beneficial thing you can do to safeguard your hearing is simple: using ear protection of some kind. A lot of musicians are worried 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 primarily for musicians: Most people are likely acquainted with disposable ear plugs. They don’t always fit well, but they do reliably block a lot of sound. They aren’t difficult to get, aren’t expensive, and can be thrown away easily. For musicians, they aren’t a great solution. However, by spending just a little more money, you can purchase high-quality earplugs designed chiefly for musicians. These earplugs use cutting-edge manufacturing tricks (mostly they’re made out of very specific materials and are designed to fit comfortably in the ear) to maintain audio clarity while decreasing the noise you hear by something like 20dB. This option is perfect for musicians who need a light to moderate amount of protection (and who don’t have a ton of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to misplace them).
- Electronic earplugs: The same basic functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can be found in electronic earplugs. Most 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 those who work in particularly noisy settings, and who want more options when it comes to controlling volume.
- In-ear monitors: Electronics are a significant part of modern music. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is put in your ear and passes signals in electronically. It’s like a specialized little speaker for your ear, and the majority of monitors can block out sound from the outside environment (thanks to a fairly tight fit and specialized 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 perfect answer.
Protect your career by protecting your ears
It’s never too late to take steps to safeguard your hearing, but it’s definitely a good idea to begin sooner rather than later. With solutions available at nearly every price point, there are easy ways for everybody 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 be certain you’ll be making incredible music for years (maybe even decades) to come!
Contact us so we can help you get started.