Musicians are awesome! They bring so much joy to our lives with their performances. The drawback is that music is nearly always loud, in fact, many individuals like it better that way. Since musicians subject themselves to loud music frequently, their hearing is at an increased risk of being harmed.
As you grow older, you’ll still want to be able to enjoy your favorite music whether you’re a musician or not. The key to having an extended successful career, for musicians, is protecting their hearing. For the rest of us, ear protection is the key to a lifetime of musical enjoyment and enrichment.
Music is surprisingly loud
If you ask the majority of individuals whether a jet engine is loud, they’ll likely say yes.
But what about music? If you ask somebody whether an acoustic guitar or a lone violin is noisy, they might not answer right away. Imagine their surprise when they discover the reality: That can also be very loud music! Even classical music can get to relatively high volumes that can easily damage your hearing.
Sounds louder than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for instance. A leaf blower is about this noisy. To put that into context, the European Union laws stipulate that any workplace noisier than 85 dB calls for the use of ear protection.
And if you’re working with music on a daily basis, constant exposure to that sort of volume, particularly without hearing protection, can severely damage your hearing over time.
Can you safeguard your ears from noise damage?
Okay, now you recognize that musicians need to protect their hearing (particularly if they want to go on rocking out for years to come). So what can musicians do to safeguard their hearing and still enjoy the music they love so much?
Well, here are a couple of simple things musicians can do:
- Take breaks: Your ears are like any other part of your body: they can be overworked and will often benefit from rest. So give yourself “hearing breaks” frequently. By doing this, noises won’t overpower and damage your ears. Duration is nearly as relevant as volume with regard to hearing health. The difference between the ideal amount of stimulation and too much can come down to taking frequent breaks.
- Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So being aware of volume levels of sounds around you will help you protect your hearing. Keeping track of the volume on amps and PA systems is one factor. But you can also monitor day-to-day volume levels of external 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 above 85 dB.
Use ear protection
Using ear protection is the number one most effective way to safeguard your hearing. A lot of musicians are concerned that ear protection will mute the sound and effects its overall sound quality. But depending on what kind of hearing protection you use, that may not always be true.
- Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s likely very well known to most people. They don’t always fit perfectly, but they do reliably stop a lot of sound. They’re not difficult to get, don’t cost much, and can be disposed of easily. For musicians, they aren’t the best solution. But earplugs made just for musicians are also available at a slightly higher cost. These earplugs use cutting-edge manufacturing processes (mostly they’re made out of very distinct materials and are designed to fit comfortably in the ear) to preserve audio clarity while reducing the noise you hear by around 20dB. For musicians who require a moderate amount of protection on a budget, this solution is perfect.
- Electronic earplugs: The same general functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can be found in electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block out the majority of the sound. But the earplug itself will pipe in the sound you hear. For people who work in very noisy environments and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are perfect.
- In-ear monitors: The majority of music is electronic now, or at least amplified by electronics. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and transmits them directly to a device placed in your ear (called an in-ear monitor). It’s like a specialized little speaker for your ear, and most monitors can block out sound from the outside environment (thanks to a rather 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 those 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 ears, but it’s definitely a good plan to start sooner rather than later. Everyone can safeguard their hearing and future with ear protection options for every budget. Remember, hearing protection for a musician is an investment in your career. It’s one way to be certain you’ll be making amazing music for many years (maybe even decades) to come!
Contact us so we can help you get started.