Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists, LLP - Bedford, Grapevine, Southlake, and Flower Mound, TX

Close up of drummer's hands playing a drum kit. Drums are very loud, the player should be wearing hearing protection.

Musicians are awesome! They bring so much happiness to our lives with their songs. But music is so much more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing risk. Since musicians subject themselves to loud music on a daily basis, their hearing is at greater risk of being damaged.

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, preserving their hearing is the key to a long and successful career. For the rest of us, ear protection is the key to a lifetime of musical enjoyment and enrichment.

Oftentimes it can be surprising how loud music can be

If you ask the majority of people whether a jet engine is loud, they’ll likely say yes.

Is music really 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 music is certainly loud! Even classical music can reach relatively loud volumes that can easily damage your hearing.

A violin, for example, can produce sounds in excess of 90 dB. That’s about as loud as a leaf blower. In Europe, for instance, they have laws that require ear protection for anyone who works in a setting where there is noise louder than 85 dB.

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

Can you protect your ears from noise damage?

Okay, now you recognize that musicians need to protect their hearing (particularly if they want to keep on rocking out for years to come). So how can musicians continue to enjoy their music while also preserving their hearing?

Here are a couple of strategies:

  • Take breaks: Like any part of your body, your ears can become fatigued and may need a little break. So give yourself “hearing breaks” frequently. By doing this, noises won’t overwhelm and harm your ears. Duration is almost as relevant as volume with regard to hearing health. 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 it follows that you should always be aware of what volume of sound you’re subjecting your ears to. Tracking the volume on amps and PA systems is part of it. 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 need to make a few changes if the meter consistently reads louder than 85 dB.

Ear protection is important

Needless to say, the single most effective thing you can do to safeguard your ears is simple: using hearing protection of some kind. A lot of musicians are concerned that ear protection will mute 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 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 come by, and easy to throw away. And they aren’t best suited for musicians. However, by paying a little more, you can buy high-quality earplugs designed specifically for musicians. These earplugs use cutting-edge manufacturing tricks (mostly they’re made out of very distinct materials and are designed to conform nicely to the ear) to maintain audio clarity while reducing the noise you experience by something like 20dB. For musicians who require a moderate level of protection on a budget, this solution is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: The same general functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can also be found in electronic earplugs. The majority of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. 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: The majority of music is electronic now, or at least amplified by electronics. A device, called an in-ear-monitor, is placed in your ear and sends signals in electronically. Most monitors are small speakers that fit snugly and block out most sound while playing sounds you want to hear at safe volumes. 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 perfect answer.

Safeguard your hearing, and protect your career

It’s better to start safeguarding your hearing early, before any substantial harm occurs. With solutions available at just about every price point, there are simple ways for everyone to protect their hearing and their future. Don’t forget that you’re investing in your career by utilizing hearing protection for musicians. It’s one way to be certain you’ll be making amazing music for many years (maybe even decades) to come!

Don’t really know where to begin? 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.