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

Musicians are cool! Their shows bring us so much happiness. But music is so much more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing risk. Since musicians subject themselves to loud music frequently, their hearing is at greater risk of being damaged.

Whether your income 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. The key to having a long successful career, for musicians, is protecting their hearing. For the rest of us, hearing protection is the key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment and enrichment.

Oftentimes it can be surprising how loud music can be

Most people would say that a jet engine is really loud.

Is music actually that loud? People might not be so quick 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.

Sounds higher than 90 dB can be produced by a violin, for example. That’s around as noisy as a leaf blower. In Europe, for example, they have regulations that require ear protection for anybody who works in a work environment 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, particularly without ear protection, can severely damage 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 hearing and still enjoy the music they enjoy so much?

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

  • Take breaks: Like any part of your body, your ears can become exhausted and might need a little break. So take regular breaks from the noise. By doing this, noises won’t overwhelm and damage your ears. Duration is almost as important as volume when it comes to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!
  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it follows that you should always know what volume of sound you’re exposing your ears to. Sometimes, this is as simple as keeping track of your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also purchase a volume meter app for your smartphone to make it easy to monitor the real-world volume levels your ears are experiencing from day-to-day. If the meter reads above 85dB consistently, you’ll need to address this.

Ear protection is important

Using ear protection is the single most effective way to safeguard your hearing. Many musicians are reluctant to use hearing protection because they’re worried it will impact the quality of sound they hear, in addition to muting the volume. But depending on what type of hearing protection you use, that may not always be true.

  • Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Most individuals are likely familiar with disposable ear plugs. They’re pretty good at blocking a lot of sound although they sometimes don’t fit very well. They’re cheap, easy to get, and easy to dispose of. And they aren’t ideal for musicians. But earplugs just for musicians are also available for a little more money. A special material and state-of-the-art engineering are utilized to help these earplugs fit comfortably in the ear and minimize external noise by around 20% while maintaining the audio clarity. This solution is perfect for musicians who need 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 function in pretty much the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block the majority of the sound. What you hear will instead be routed in by the earplug itself. This option is perfect for individuals who work in particularly loud settings, and who are looking for more options in terms of volume control.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a major part of modern music. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is put in your ear and sends signals in electronically. It’s like a special little speaker for your ear, and most monitors can block out sound from the outside environment (thanks to a fairly tight fit and special design). This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. In-ear monitors are practical for individuals who work mainly with electronically amplified instruments.

Protect your hearing, and protect your career

It’s best to start safeguarding your hearing early, before any substantial harm occurs. With options available at nearly every price point, there are simple ways for everybody to protect their hearing and their future. Remember, hearing protection for a musician is an investment in your career. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy creating music for as long as you want to.

Contact us 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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