Is Ear Protection Recommended for Musicians?

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 joy to our lives with their songs. The downside is that music is almost always loud, in fact, many individuals prefer it that way. Since musicians subject themselves to loud music on a daily basis, their hearing is at greater risk of being damaged.

Whether your livelihood relies on music or not, you’ll still want to be able to hear your favorite songs when you’re in your later years of life. For musicians, protecting their hearing is the key to a long and successful career. For the rest of us, ear protection is the secret to a lifetime of musical enjoyment and enrichment.

Oftentimes 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 may not reply right away. Usually, when they hear the answer, they’re pretty surprised: that music is indeed loud! Your ears can even be damaged by classical music which can get to relatively high volumes.

A violin, for instance, can create sounds well over 90 dB. A leaf blower is around this loud. In Europe, for instance, they have laws that require hearing protection for anybody who works in a setting where there is noise louder than 85 dB.

And if you’re working with music on a daily basis, continuous exposure to that sort of volume, especially without hearing protection, can seriously harm your hearing over time.

Can you protect your ears from noise damage?

Okay, now you recognize that musicians need to safeguard their hearing (especially if they want to continue rocking out for many years). So how can musicians keep enjoying their music while also protecting their hearing?

Well, here are a couple of easy things musicians can do:

  • Track your volume: Everyone knows the old saying “knowledge is power”. So it makes sense that you should always know what volume of sound you’re exposing your ears to. Sometimes, this is as easy as tracking your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also monitor day-to-day volume levels of environmental noises using a volume meter app that you can download on your cellphone. You will need to make a few changes if the meter consistently detects volumes louder than 85 dB.
  • Take breaks: Like any part of your body, your ears can become exhausted and may need a little break. So take regular breaks from the noise. In this way, noises won’t overwhelm and damage your ears. With regard to hearing, how long you’re exposed is nearly as significant as how high the volume is. The difference between the ideal amount of stimulation and too much can depend upon taking regular breaks.

Ear protection is important

Using ear protection is the single most effective way to safeguard your hearing. Many musicians are hesitant to wear hearing protection because they’re concerned it will effect the quality of sound they hear, as well as muting the volume. But depending on what type of hearing protection you use, that may not always be true.

  • Ear plugs made primarily for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s likely very familiar to most individuals. They’re pretty good at blocking a lot of sound although they sometimes don’t fit very well. They’re not difficult to get, don’t cost much, and can be disposed of easily. For musicians, they aren’t an ideal solution. However, by paying a little more, you can buy high-quality earplugs designed specifically for musicians. These earplugs use fancy manufacturing tricks (mostly they’re made out of very distinct materials and are designed to conform nicely to the ear) to maintain audio fidelity while decreasing the noise you hear by something like 20dB. This option is perfect for musicians who need a light to moderate level of protection (and who don’t have a lot of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to misplace them).
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs work in pretty much the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block most of the sound. But the earplug itself will send in the sound you hear. For people who work in very loud environments and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are perfect.
  • In-ear monitors: Most music is electronic nowadays, or at least amplified by electronics. 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). The majority of monitors are little speakers that fit snugly and block out most sound while playing sounds you want to hear at safe volumes. So you control the volume level and are able to hear sound accurately and clearly. In-ear monitors are beneficial for those who work chiefly with electronically amplified instruments.

Protect your career by protecting your hearing

It’s better to begin protecting your hearing early, before any substantial damage occurs. Everyone can protect their hearing and future with hearing protection solutions for every budget. Don’t forget that you’re investing in your career by using 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 quite know where to begin? Call us today, we can help!

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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