Musicians rock. Their songs bring us so much enjoyment. But music is a lot more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing risk. The musicians themselves are at an increased danger of hearing damage since they are subjected to loud music just about every day.
Whether your livelihood depends on music or not, you’ll still want to be able to hear your favorite songs when you’re pushing 60, 70, or 80. For musicians, protecting their hearing is the key to an extended and successful career. Ear protection is also key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment for everyone.
Music is surprisingly loud
If you ask most people whether a jet engine is loud, they’ll likely say yes.
Is music actually that loud? People might 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! Even classical music can get to fairly high volumes that can easily harm your hearing.
Sounds louder than 90 dB can be produced by a violin, for instance. That’s about as noisy as a leaf blower. In Europe, for instance, they have laws that require ear protection for anybody who works in a setting where there is noise above 85 dB.
And if you’re working with music on a daily basis, consistent exposure to that kind of volume, especially without ear protection, can severely harm your hearing over time.
How can you protect your hearing?
Okay, musicians who want to keep their hearing for years to come need to safeguard their ears. So what can musicians do to safeguard their ears and still enjoy the music they enjoy so much?
Well, here are a couple of easy things musicians can do:
- Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So being aware of volume levels of sounds around you will help you protect your hearing. Monitoring the volume on amps and PA systems is part of it. But you can also purchase 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. If the meter reads above 85dB regularly, you’ll need to address this.
- Take breaks: Like any part of your body, your ears can become fatigued and may need a little break. So take regular breaks from the noise. This will help prevent your ears from becoming overwhelmed with sound (and damage). Duration is nearly as relevant as volume with regard to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!
Wear hearing protection
Using ear protection is the single most effective way to protect your hearing. A lot of musicians are concerned that hearing protection will mute the sound and impact its overall sound quality. That isn’t always the case, depending on which kind of ear protection you choose.
- Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Most individuals are most likely acquainted with disposable ear plugs. They don’t always fit perfectly, but they do reliably stop a lot of sound. They aren’t hard to get, don’t cost much, and can be thrown away easily. And they aren’t ideal for musicians. But earplugs made just for musicians are also available for a little more money. These earplugs use cutting-edge manufacturing processes (mostly they’re made out of very specific materials and are designed to fit comfortably in the ear) to preserve audio fidelity while reducing the noise you hear by about 20dB. This option is perfect for musicians who require a light to moderate amount of protection (and who don’t have a lot of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to lose them).
- Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs function in pretty much the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block out most of the sound. What you hear will instead be routed in by the earplug itself. For individuals who work in very noisy settings and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are perfect.
- In-ear monitors: Most music is electronic now, or at least amplified by electronics. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is put inside of your ear and transmits signals in electronically. It’s like a specialized little speaker for your ear, and most monitors can block out sound from the outside world (thanks to a fairly 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 people who work primarily with electronically amplified instruments.
Safeguard your hearing, and protect your career
It’s never too late to take measures to protect your hearing, but it’s definitely a good plan to start sooner rather than later. With options available at nearly every price point, there are easy ways for everybody to safeguard their hearing and their future. Remember that you’re investing in your career by utilizing hearing protection for musicians. It’s one way to be certain you’ll be making incredible music for years (maybe even decades) to come!
Don’t really know where to begin? Contact us today, we can help!