Evanston Audiology - Evanston, IL

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

Musicians rock. Their performances bring us so much enjoyment. But music is so much more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing hazard. The musicians themselves are at an even greater danger of hearing damage since they are subjected to loud music just about every day.

Whether your living 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. 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 fulfillment and enrichment.

Oftentimes it can be surprising how loud music can be

If you ask most individuals if a jet engine is loud, they’ll likely say yes.

But what about music? People might not be so quick 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 indeed loud! Even classical music can reach relatively high volumes that can easily damage your hearing.

A violin, for example, can create sounds well over 90 dB. That’s about as noisy as a leaf blower. In Europe, for example, they have laws that require hearing protection for anybody who works in a setting where there is noise above 85 dB.

And if you’re working with music day in and day out, continuous exposure to that kind of volume, particularly without hearing protection, can severely harm your hearing over time.

Can you safeguard your ears from noise damage?

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

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Take breaks: Your ears are like any other part of your body: they can become exhausted and will often benefit from a break. So take frequent breaks from the noise. By doing this, noises won’t overpower and damage your ears. Duration is nearly as relevant as volume when it comes to hearing health. The difference between the ideal amount of stimulation and too much can depend upon taking regular breaks.
  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So knowing 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 environmental noises using a volume meter app that you can download on your cellphone. You will want to make some changes if the meter regularly detects volumes louder than 85 dB.

Wear hearing protection

Using hearing protection is the number one most effective way to safeguard your hearing. Many musicians are hesitant to wear hearing protection because they’re concerned it will impact the clarity of sound they hear, in addition to muting the volume. But depending on what kind of hearing protection you use, that may not always be accurate.

  • Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Most individuals are likely acquainted with disposable ear plugs. They don’t always fit well, but they do reliably stop a lot of sound. They’re cheap, easy to come by, and easy to throw away. And they aren’t ideal for musicians. But earplugs made just for musicians are also available at a slightly higher cost. A specialized material and modern engineering are used to help these earplugs fit snuggly in the ear and decrease external noise by around 20% while preserving the audio fidelity. This solution is perfect for musicians who require a light to moderate level of protection (and who don’t have a ton 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 the majority of the sound. But the earplug itself will pipe in the sound you hear. For people who work in really noisy settings and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are perfect.
  • 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 in your ear (called an in-ear monitor). It’s like a special little speaker for your ear, and most monitors can block out sound from the outside world (thanks to a rather tight fit and specialized design). So you control the volume level and can hear sound accurately and clearly. In-ear monitors are practical for people who work mainly with electronically amplified instruments.

Protect your career by protecting your hearing

It’s best to start protecting your hearing early, before any substantial damage occurs. With solutions available at just about every price point, there are simple ways for everyone to protect their hearing and their future. Remember 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 many years (maybe even decades) to come!

Give us a call so we can help you get started.

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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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