Is Hearing Protection Recommended for Musicians?

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 happiness to our lives with their performances. The drawback is that music is pretty much always loud, in fact, many people like it better that way. The musicians themselves are at an even greater danger of hearing damage since they are exposed to loud music nearly every day.

Whether your income 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, protecting their hearing is the key to a lengthy and successful career. Hearing protection is also key to a lifetime of musical enjoyment for everybody.

Music is surprisingly loud

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

Is music really that loud? If you ask somebody whether an acoustic guitar or a lone violin is noisy, they might not reply so quickly. Usually, when they hear the answer, they’re pretty surprised: that music is indeed loud! Even classical music can get to relatively high volumes that can easily damage your hearing.

A violin, for instance, can produce sounds well over 90 dB. A leaf blower is around this loud. To put that into context, the European Union regulations dictate that any work environment louder than 85 dB will require the use of hearing protection.

And if you’re working with music day in and day out, consistent exposure to that sort of volume, particularly without ear protection, can seriously harm your hearing over time.

Can you protect your ears from noise damage?

Okay, now you recognize that musicians need to protect their hearing (especially if they want to go on rocking out for many years). So what can musicians do to protect their hearing and still enjoy the music they enjoy so much?

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Track your volume: Everyone knows the old saying “knowledge is power”. So knowing volume levels of noises around you will help you protect your hearing. Sometimes, this is as simple as tracking your volume settings on amps and receivers. 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 detects volumes above 85dB regularly, you’ll want to do something about this.
  • Take breaks: Your ears are the same as any other part of your body: they can be overworked and will often benefit from a break. So give yourself “hearing breaks” regularly. By doing this, noises won’t overwhelm and damage your ears. Duration is almost as important as volume when it comes to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just the right amount of stimulation and too much!

Use ear protection

Needless to say, the single most beneficial thing you can do to protect your ears is easy: wearing ear protection of some kind. Lots of musicians are worried that hearing protection will mute the sound and effects its overall sound quality. But depending on what type of hearing protection you use, that may not always be accurate.

  • Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s likely very well known to most individuals. They’re fairly good at stopping a lot of sound although they sometimes don’t fit comfortably. They aren’t hard to find, don’t cost much, and can be thrown away easily. For musicians, they aren’t an ideal solution. But earplugs just for musicians are also available at a slightly higher cost. A special material and modern engineering are used to help these earplugs fit snuggly in the ear and reduce external noise by around 20% while maintaining the audio clarity. 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 also be found in electronic earplugs. Most of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. What you hear will instead be routed in by the earplug itself. This solution is perfect for those who work in particularly noisy settings, and who want more options when it comes to volume control.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a major part of modern music. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and transmits them directly to a device placed in your ear (called an in-ear monitor). The majority of 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 ideal solution.

Protect 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. With options available at nearly every price point, there are easy ways for everybody to safeguard their hearing and their future. Don’t forget that you’re investing in your career by utilizing hearing protection for musicians. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy making music for as long as you want to.

Contact us 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.