Musicians are awesome! Their performances bring us so much happiness. The downside is that music is nearly always loud, in fact, many individuals prefer it that way. The musicians themselves are at an even greater risk of hearing damage since they are exposed to loud music nearly every day.
Whether your living relies 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 a lengthy and successful career. Hearing protection is also key to a lifetime of musical enjoyment for everyone.
Music is surprisingly loud
If you ask most individuals if 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. Imagine their surprise when they discover the reality: That can also be very loud music! Even classical music can reach relatively loud volumes that can easily damage your hearing.
A violin, for instance, can create sounds in excess of 90 dB. That’s about as loud as a leaf blower. In Europe, for instance, they have regulations that require hearing protection for anybody who works in a work environment where there is noise above 85 dB.
And your hearing can be significantly compromised over time if you’re working with music every day, particularly if you don’t wear ear 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 many years). So how can musicians keep enjoying their music while also preserving their hearing?
Here are a couple of tips:
- Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So being aware of volume levels of sounds around you will help you protect your hearing. Tracking the volume on amps and PA systems is part of it. But you can also purchase a decibel meter app for your smartphone to make it easy to monitor the real-world volume levels your ears are encountering from day-to-day. You will want to make a few changes if the meter consistently detects volumes louder than 85 dB.
- 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 frequent breaks from the noise. This will help prevent your ears from getting overpowered with noise (and damage). Duration is almost as important as volume when it comes to hearing health. The difference between the ideal amount of stimulation and too much can depend upon taking regular breaks.
Ear protection is important
Using hearing protection is the number one most effective way to protect your hearing. Many musicians are reluctant to use hearing protection because they’re concerned it will effect the quality of sound they hear, as well as muting the volume. That isn’t always true, depending on which kind of hearing protection you use.
- Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Most people are probably familiar with disposable ear plugs. They’re fairly good at blocking a lot of sound though they sometimes don’t fit very well. They aren’t hard to get, don’t cost much, and can be thrown away easily. For musicians, they aren’t the best solution. However, by spending just a little more money, you can purchase high-quality earplugs made specifically for musicians. These earplugs use fancy manufacturing processes (mostly they’re made out of very specific materials and are designed to fit comfortably in the ear) to maintain audio clarity while reducing the noise you hear by something like 20dB. For musicians who need a moderate amount of protection on a budget, this solution 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. What you hear will instead be piped in by the earplug itself. For individuals who work in really noisy settings and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are ideal.
- In-ear monitors: Most music is electronic nowadays, or at least amplified by electronics. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is put inside of your ear and sends signals in electronically. The majority of monitors are little speakers that fit tightly and block out most sound while playing sounds you want to hear at less harmful volumes. This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. In-ear monitors are useful for people who work mainly with electronically amplified instruments.
Protect your career by protecting your hearing
It’s never too late to take steps to safeguard your hearing, but it’s definitely a good idea to begin sooner rather than later. With solutions available at just about every price point, there are simple ways for everyone to protect their hearing and their future. Remember that you’re investing in your career by using 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!
Give us a call so we can help you get started.