Musicians rock. They bring so much happiness to our lives with their performances. But music is a lot more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing risk. Since musicians expose themselves to loud music on a daily basis, their hearing is at an increased risk of being damaged.
As you get older, you’ll still want to be capable of enjoying your favorite music whether you’re a musician or not. For musicians, safeguarding their hearing is the key to a lengthy and successful career. Hearing protection is also key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment for everyone.
Oftentimes it can be surprising how loud music can be
Most people would say that a jet engine is really loud.
Is music really 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 loud music! Even classical music can reach relatively loud volumes that can easily damage your hearing.
Sounds higher than 90 dB can be produced by a violin, for instance. A leaf blower is around this loud. 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, constant exposure to that kind of volume, particularly without hearing protection, can seriously damage your hearing over time.
Can you protect your ears from noise damage?
Okay, now you’re aware that musicians need to safeguard their hearing (especially if they want to keep on rocking out for years to come). So how can musicians keep enjoying their music while also safeguarding their hearing?
Well, here are a couple of easy things musicians can do:
- Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it makes sense that you should always be aware of what levels of sound you’re exposing your ears to. Sometimes, this is as simple as tracking your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also invest in a volume meter app for your cellphone to make it easy to monitor the real-world volume levels your ears are encountering from day-to-day. If the meter detects volumes above 85dB consistently, you’ll have to address this.
- Take breaks: Your ears are the same as any other part of your body: they can be overworked and will often benefit from a break. So give yourself “hearing breaks” frequently. By doing this, noises won’t overpower and harm your ears. Duration is almost as important as volume with regard to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!
Wear ear protection
Using ear protection is the single most effective way to safeguard your hearing. A lot of musicians are concerned that hearing protection will mute the sound and impact its overall sound quality. But depending on what kind of hearing protection you use, that might not always be accurate.
- Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Most people are most likely acquainted with disposable ear plugs. They’re pretty good at stopping a lot of sound though they sometimes don’t fit very well. They aren’t hard to get, aren’t expensive, and can be thrown away easily. And they aren’t best suited for musicians. But earplugs just for musicians are also available for a little more money. These earplugs use fancy manufacturing methods (mostly they’re made out of very specific materials and are designed to fit comfortably in the ear) to maintain audio fidelity while reducing the noise you experience by around 20dB. For musicians who need a moderate amount of protection on a budget, this solution is perfect.
- Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs function in essentially the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block most of the sound. What you hear will instead be routed in by the earplug itself. This solution is perfect for individuals who work in particularly loud environments, and who want more options when it comes to volume control.
- In-ear monitors: Electronics are a significant part of modern music. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is put in 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 special design). This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. In-ear monitors are practical for people who work mainly with electronically amplified instruments.
Safeguard your hearing, and protect your career
It’s best to begin protecting your hearing early, before any significant harm occurs. Everyone can protect their hearing and future with ear protection options for every budget. Keep in mind, ear protection for a musician is an investment in your career. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy making music for as long as you want to.
Don’t really know where to start? Give us a call today, we can help!