Should Musicians Use Hearing Protection?

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 pleasure to our lives with their songs. But music is so much more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing hazard. The musicians themselves are at an increased risk of hearing damage since they are subjected to loud music just about every day.

As you grow older, you’ll still want to be capable of enjoying your favorite songs whether you’re a musician or not. For musicians, safeguarding their hearing is the key to an extended and successful career. Hearing protection is also key to a lifetime of musical enjoyment for everybody.

Music is surprisingly loud

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

Is music really that loud? People may 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 music is certainly loud! Even classical music can reach fairly high volumes that can easily harm your hearing.

A violin, for instance, can produce sounds well over 90 dB. That’s around as loud as a leaf blower. In Europe, for example, they have regulations that require hearing protection for anyone who works in a work environment where there is noise above 85 dB.

And if you’re working with music day in and day out, consistent exposure to that sort of volume, especially without hearing protection, can seriously harm your hearing over time.

Can you safeguard your ears from noise damage?

Okay, now you know that musicians need to safeguard their hearing (particularly if they want to go on rocking out for many years). So how can musicians continue to enjoy their music while also safeguarding their hearing?

Here are a couple of strategies:

  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it follows that you should always be aware of what volume of sound you’re subjecting your ears to. Usually, this is as simple as tracking your volume settings on amps and receivers. 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 regularly reads louder than 85 dB.
  • Take breaks: Much like any part of your body, your ears can become exhausted and might need a little break. So take frequent breaks from the noise. By doing this, noises won’t overwhelm and harm your ears. Regarding hearing, how long you’re exposed is almost as important as how loud it is. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!

Use hearing protection

Using ear protection is the number one most effective way to safeguard your hearing. A lot of musicians are worried that ear protection will mute the sound and effects its overall sound quality. But depending on what type of hearing protection you use, that may not always be accurate.

  • Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s likely very well known to most individuals. They don’t always fit perfectly, but they do reliably block a lot of sound. They’re cheap, easy to find, and easy to dispose of. For musicians, they aren’t a great solution. But earplugs made just for musicians are also available at a slightly higher cost. A special material and state-of-the-art engineering are utilized to help these earplugs fit snuggly in the ear and decrease external noise by around 20% while maintaining the audio clarity. For musicians who require a moderate level of protection on a budget, this option is perfect.
  • 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 pipe in the sound you hear. This solution is perfect for those who work in particularly loud environments, and who want more options in terms of volume control.
  • In-ear monitors: Most music is electronic nowadays, or at least amplified by electronics. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is put inside of your ear and passes signals in electronically. Most monitors are little speakers that fit snugly and block out most sound while playing sounds you want to hear at less harmful volumes. So you regulate the volume level and can hear sound in an accurate and clear way. In-ear monitors are useful for individuals who work primarily with electronically amplified instruments.

Protect your career by protecting your hearing

It’s better to start safeguarding your hearing early, before any substantial harm occurs. Everyone can protect their hearing and future with ear protection solutions for every budget. 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.

Don’t quite know where to begin? Contact us today, we can help!

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive a personalized free hearing test and hearing loss consultation, call today to set up an appointment.

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