Musicians are cool! They bring so much pleasure to our lives with their songs. But music is a lot more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing risk. The musicians themselves are at an even greater danger of hearing damage since they are subjected to loud music just about every day.
As you get older, you’ll still want to be able to enjoy your favorite songs whether you’re a musician or not. For musicians, protecting their hearing is the key to an extended and successful career. For the rest of us, hearing protection is the secret to a lifetime of musical fulfillment and enrichment.
Music is surprisingly loud
Most people would say that a jet engine is really loud.
But what about music? People might not be so fast 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 fairly high volumes that can easily damage your hearing.
Sounds louder than 90 dB can be produced by a violin, for example. A leaf blower is around this loud. In Europe, for example, they have laws that require ear protection for anybody who works in a setting where there is noise above 85 dB.
And if you’re working with music on a daily basis, continuous exposure to that kind of volume, particularly without ear protection, can severely harm your hearing over time.
Can you protect your ears from noise damage?
Okay, now you recognize that musicians need to safeguard their hearing (especially if they want to continue rocking out for many years). So how can musicians continue to enjoy their music while also protecting their hearing?
Here are a couple of tips:
- Track your volume: Everyone remembers the old saying “knowledge is power”. So it follows that you should always know what volume of sound you’re exposing your ears to. Sometimes, this is as simple as monitoring 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 track the real-world volume levels your ears are experiencing day in and day out. If the meter reads above 85dB consistently, you’ll need to address this.
- Take breaks: Your ears are the same as any other part of your body: they can become exhausted and will often benefit from rest. So take frequent breaks from the noise. In this way, noises won’t overpower and damage your ears. Duration is nearly as relevant as volume with regard to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just the right amount of stimulation and too much!
Wear hearing protection
Needless to say, the single most beneficial thing you can do to protect your ears is simple: wearing hearing protection of some kind. A lot of musicians are concerned that hearing protection will muffle the sound and effects its overall sound quality. That’s not always true, depending on which kind of ear protection you use.
- Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Most individuals are probably acquainted with disposable ear plugs. They don’t always fit comfortably, but they do reliably stop a lot of sound. They’re not difficult to find, aren’t expensive, and can be thrown away easily. And they aren’t ideal for musicians. However, by spending just a little more money, you can buy high-quality earplugs designed chiefly for musicians. These earplugs use cutting-edge manufacturing processes (mostly they’re made out of very specific materials and are designed to fit comfortably in the ear) to maintain audio clarity while reducing the noise you hear by about 20dB. This solution is perfect for musicians who need a light to moderate level of protection (and who don’t have a lot of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to misplace them).
- Electronic earplugs: The same general functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can be found in electronic earplugs. The majority of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. What you hear will instead be routed in by the earplug itself. For people who work in very noisy environments and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are ideal.
- In-ear monitors: Most music is electronic now, or at least amplified by electronics. A device, called an in-ear-monitor, is placed in your ear and transmits signals in electronically. It’s like a special little speaker for your ear, and the majority of monitors can block out sound from the outside environment (thanks to a rather tight fit and specialized design). This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. In-ear monitors are beneficial for those who work mainly with electronically amplified instruments.
Protect your hearing, and protect your career
It’s never too late to take measures to safeguard your hearing, but it’s definitely a good idea to begin sooner rather than later. With options available at just about every price point, there are easy ways for everybody to protect their hearing and their future. 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!
Don’t quite know where to start? Give us a call today, we can help!