Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

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 a lot more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing hazard. The musicians themselves are at an even greater risk of hearing damage since they are subjected to loud music just about every day.

Whether your livelihood depends on music or not, you’ll still want to be able to hear your favorite songs when you’re in your later years of life. For musicians, preserving their hearing is the key to a long and successful career. Hearing protection is also key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment for everyone.

Sometimes it can be surprising how loud music can be

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

Is music actually that loud? 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 can also be loud music! 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. A leaf blower is about this loud. In Europe, for instance, they have regulations 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 day in and day out, continuous exposure to that kind of volume, particularly without ear protection, can seriously harm your hearing over time.

How can you protect your hearing?

Okay, musicians who want to keep their hearing for years to come need to safeguard their ears. So how can musicians keep enjoying their music while also preserving their hearing?

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

  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it follows 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. You will want to make a few changes if the meter regularly reads louder than 85 dB.
  • Take breaks: Like any part of your body, your ears can become exhausted and might need to get a little rest. So give yourself “hearing breaks” frequently. This will help stop your ears from getting overwhelmed with noise (and damage). With regard to hearing, how long you’re exposed is almost as important as how high the volume is. The difference between the perfect amount of stimulation and too much can depend upon taking regular breaks.

hearing protection is important

Of course, the single most beneficial thing you can do to protect your hearing is simple: wearing ear protection of some kind. A lot of musicians are concerned that ear protection will muffle the sound and impact its overall sound quality. But depending on what type of hearing protection you use, that might not always be true.

  • Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Most individuals are probably familiar with disposable ear plugs. They’re pretty good at blocking a lot of sound although they sometimes don’t fit comfortably. They aren’t difficult to find, 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 buy high-quality earplugs designed chiefly for musicians. A special material and modern engineering are used to help these earplugs fit comfortably in the ear and minimize external noise by around 20% while preserving the audio fidelity. For musicians who need a moderate amount of protection on a budget, this option is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs function in basically the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block most of the sound. What you hear will instead be piped in by the earplug itself. This option is perfect for those who work in particularly noisy settings, and who want more options in terms of controlling volume.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a significant part of modern music. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and conveys 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 are able to hear sound in an accurate and clear way. For musicians who electronically amplify their instruments these in-ear-monitors are the perfect solution.

Safeguard your career by protecting your hearing

It’s never too late to take measures to protect your hearing, but it’s definitely a good idea to start sooner rather than later. Everybody can protect their hearing and future with hearing protection options at all price points. Remember that you’re investing in your career by utilizing hearing protection for musicians. It’s one way to make sure you’ll be making amazing music for years (maybe even decades) to come!

Don’t really know where to start? Give us a call 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 personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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