Should Musicians Wear Hearing Protection?

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 songs bring us so much happiness. 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 able to enjoy your favorite music whether you’re a musician or not. The key to having a lengthy successful career, for musicians, is protecting their ears. For the rest of us, hearing protection is the key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment and enrichment.

Music is surprisingly loud

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

Is music actually that loud? 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 music is certainly loud! Your ears can even be damaged by classical music which can get to fairly loud volumes.

Sounds louder than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for example. A leaf blower is about this loud. In Europe, for instance, they have regulations that require ear protection for anybody who works in a work environment where there is noise louder than 85 dB.

And your hearing can be seriously damaged over time if you’re working with music every day, particularly if you don’t use ear protection.

How can you protect your hearing?

Okay, musicians who want to preserve their hearing for years to come need to safeguard their hearing. So what can musicians do to safeguard their ears and still enjoy the music they enjoy so much?

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

  • Track your volume: Everyone knows the old saying “knowledge is power”. So it makes sense that you should always know what volume of sound you’re exposing your ears to. Keeping track of the volume on amps and PA systems is part of it. But you can also keep track of day-to-day volume levels of external noises using a decibel meter app that you can download on your cellphone. If the meter reads above 85dB consistently, you’ll want to do something about this.
  • Take breaks: Like any part of your body, your ears can become exhausted and might need to get a little rest. So take regular breaks from the noise. By doing this, noises won’t overwhelm and harm your ears. Duration is almost as relevant as volume with regard to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!

Use hearing protection

Needless to say, the single most beneficial thing you can do to protect your hearing is simple: wearing hearing protection of some kind. A lot of musicians are worried that hearing protection will muffle the sound and impact its overall sound quality. 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 most likely familiar with disposable ear plugs. They’re pretty good at stopping a lot of sound although they sometimes don’t fit comfortably. They aren’t hard to get, don’t cost much, and can be thrown away easily. And they aren’t ideal for musicians. However, by spending just a little more money, you can purchase high-quality earplugs made specifically for musicians. A special material and state-of-the-art engineering are utilized to help these earplugs fit comfortably in the ear and reduce external noise by around 20% while maintaining the audio clarity. This solution is perfect for musicians who require a light to moderate level of protection (and who don’t have a ton of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to lose them).
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs work in basically 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. For people who work in very noisy settings and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are perfect.
  • In-ear monitors: Most music is electronic these days, or at least amplified by electronics. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and sends them directly to a device placed in your ear (called an in-ear monitor). 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). So you regulate the volume level and can hear sound accurately and clearly. In-ear monitors are beneficial for people who work mainly with electronically amplified instruments.

Safeguard your ears, and protect your career

It’s never too late to take measures to protect your ears, but it’s definitely a good idea to begin sooner rather than later. With solutions available at nearly every price point, there are easy ways for everyone to safeguard their hearing and their future. Keep in mind, hearing protection for a musician is an investment in your career. It’s one way to be certain you’ll be making incredible music for years (maybe even decades) to come!

Give us a call so we can help you get started.

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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