Musicians are cool! Their shows bring us so much enjoyment. But music is so much more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing risk. The musicians themselves are at an even greater risk 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 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, ear protection is the secret to a lifetime of musical enjoyment and enrichment.
Sometimes it can be surprising how loud music can be
If you ask most individuals whether a jet engine is loud, they’ll likely say yes.
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. Usually, when they hear the answer, they’re pretty surprised: that music is certainly loud! Even classical music can get to fairly high volumes that can easily damage your hearing.
A violin, for instance, can create sounds in excess of 90 dB. That’s around as loud as a leaf blower. In Europe, for example, they have regulations that require ear protection for anybody who works in a setting 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, especially if you don’t wear ear protection.
How can you safeguard your hearing?
Okay, now you’re aware that musicians need to safeguard their hearing (particularly if they want to continue rocking out for years to come). So how can musicians keep enjoying their music while also preserving their hearing?
Well, here are a couple of simple things musicians can do:
- Take breaks: Much like any part of your body, your ears can become tired and might need a little break. So take frequent breaks from the noise. This will help prevent your ears from becoming overpowered with noise (and damage). With regard to hearing, how long you’re exposed is nearly as significant as how loud it is. The difference between the ideal amount of stimulation and too much can come down to taking regular breaks.
- Track your volume: Everyone knows the old saying “knowledge is power”. So being aware of volume levels of noises 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 purchase a decibel meter app for your cellphone to make it easy to monitor the real-world volume levels your ears are encountering from day-to-day. You will need to make some changes if the meter regularly detects volumes above 85 dB.
Wear hearing protection
Of course, the single most effective thing you can do to protect your hearing is simple: wearing hearing protection of some kind. Lots 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 may not always be accurate.
- Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Most people are probably familiar with disposable ear plugs. They don’t always fit perfectly, but they do reliably block a lot of sound. They’re inexpensive, easy to come by, and easy to throw away. For musicians, they aren’t the best solution. But earplugs just for musicians are also available for a little more money. A specialized material and modern engineering are utilized to help these earplugs fit comfortably in the ear and minimize external noise by about 20% while preserving the audio fidelity. For musicians who need a moderate amount of protection on a budget, this option 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 send in the sound you hear. This solution is perfect for individuals who work in particularly noisy environments, and who want more options when it comes to volume control.
- 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 inside of your ear (called an in-ear monitor). It’s like a special little speaker for your ear, and the majority of monitors can block out sound from the outside world (thanks to a rather tight fit and specialized design). This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. For musicians who electronically amplify their instruments these in-ear-monitors are the ideal answer.
Safeguard your hearing, and protect your career
It’s best to start protecting your hearing early, before any significant harm occurs. Everybody can protect their hearing and future with hearing 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 making music for as long as you want to.
Don’t really know where to begin? Give us a call today, we can help!