Musicians are awesome! They bring so much joy to our lives with their performances. 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 exposed to loud music nearly 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, safeguarding their hearing is the key to an extended and successful career. Hearing protection is also key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment for everyone.
Oftentimes it can be surprising how loud music can get
If you ask most people whether a jet engine is loud, they’ll likely say yes.
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. Imagine their surprise when they discover the reality: That can also be very loud music! Your ears can even be harmed by classical music which can get to fairly high volumes.
Sounds louder than 90 dB can be produced by a violin, for instance. That’s about as loud as a leaf blower. To put that into context, the European Union regulations dictate that any work environment noisier than 85 dB will require the use of hearing protection.
And your hearing can be seriously damaged over time if you’re working with music every day, particularly if you don’t use hearing protection.
How can you safeguard your hearing?
Okay, musicians who want to maintain their hearing for years to come need to safeguard their hearing. So what can musicians do to protect their hearing and still take pleasure in the music they enjoy so much?
Well, here are a couple of simple things musicians can do:
- Take breaks: Your ears are the same as any other part of your body: they can be overworked and will frequently benefit from a break. So take regular breaks from the noise. In this way, noises won’t overpower and damage your ears. With regard to hearing, how long you’re exposed is nearly as important as how high the volume is. The difference between the ideal amount of stimulation and too much can depend upon taking frequent breaks.
- Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it follows that you should always know what levels of sound you’re exposing your ears to. Sometimes, 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 want to make some changes if the meter consistently detects volumes louder than 85 dB.
Use hearing protection
Needless to say, the single most beneficial thing you can do to safeguard your ears is simple: wearing ear protection of some kind. Many musicians are reluctant to wear ear protection because they’re concerned it will effect the clarity of sound they hear, in addition to dampening the volume. That isn’t always the case, depending on which kind of ear protection you choose.
- Ear plugs made primarily for musicians: Most individuals are likely acquainted with disposable ear plugs. They’re fairly good at blocking a lot of sound although they sometimes don’t fit very well. They’re cheap, easy to get, and easy to throw away. 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 fidelity while reducing the noise you hear by about 20dB. For musicians who need a moderate level of protection on a budget, this option is perfect.
- Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs function in essentially the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The majority of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. But the earplug itself will pipe in the sound you hear. For people who work in really loud environments and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are perfect.
- 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 inside of your ear (called an in-ear monitor). It’s like a specialized 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 special design). So you regulate the volume level and are able to hear sound accurately and clearly. In-ear monitors are practical for people who work primarily with electronically amplified instruments.
Safeguard your ears, 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. Everybody can protect their hearing and future with hearing protection options at all price points. Don’t forget that you’re investing in your career by using hearing protection for musicians. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy making music for as long as you want to.
Don’t quite know where to begin? Contact us today, we can help!