Musicians are awesome! They bring so much pleasure to our lives with their songs. The drawback is that music is almost always loud, in fact, many people prefer it that way. Since musicians expose themselves to loud music frequently, their hearing is at an increased risk of being harmed.
Whether your living depends on music or not, you’ll still want to be able to hear your favorite songs when you’re pushing 60, 70, or 80. The key to having a long successful career, for musicians, is protecting their ears. Ear protection is also key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment for everybody.
Oftentimes it can be surprising how loud music can be
If you ask most individuals whether a jet engine is loud, they’ll likely say yes.
Is music really that loud? If you ask somebody whether an acoustic guitar or a lone violin is loud, they may not reply right away. Imagine their surprise when they discover the reality: that music is indeed loud! Your ears can even be damaged by classical music which can get to relatively loud volumes.
A violin, for example, can produce sounds in excess of 90 dB. A leaf blower is around this loud. In Europe, for example, they have regulations that require ear protection for anyone who works in a setting where there is noise louder than 85 dB.
And if you’re working with music day in and day out, continuous exposure to that sort of volume, particularly without ear protection, can severely damage your hearing over time.
Can you safeguard 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 ears and still enjoy the music they enjoy so much?
Here are a couple of tips:
- Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it follows that you should always know what volume of sound you’re subjecting your ears to. Monitoring the volume on amps and PA systems is part of it. But you can also track day-to-day volume levels of environmental noises using a volume meter app that you can download on your cellphone. If the meter reads above 85dB regularly, you’ll want to address this.
- Take breaks: Like any part of your body, your ears can become tired and might need a little break. So give yourself “hearing breaks” frequently. This will help prevent your ears from becoming overpowered with noise (and damage). Duration is nearly as relevant as volume when it comes to hearing health. The difference between the ideal amount of stimulation and too much can depend upon taking frequent breaks.
Ear protection is important
Needless to say, the single most beneficial thing you can do to protect your ears is easy: wearing ear protection of some kind. Many musicians are unwilling to wear ear protection because they’re worried it will effect the clarity of sound they hear, as well as muting the volume. But depending on what type of hearing protection you use, that may not always be accurate.
- Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s most likely very familiar to most individuals. They don’t always fit comfortably, but they do reliably block a lot of sound. They’re inexpensive, easy to find, and easy to dispose of. 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 state-of-the-art engineering are used to help these earplugs fit snuggly in the ear and reduce external noise by around 20% while maintaining the audio clarity. This solution is perfect for musicians who require a light to moderate amount of protection (and who don’t have a ton of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to misplace them).
- Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs work in basically the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The majority 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 are looking for more options when it comes to controlling volume.
- In-ear monitors: Most music is electronic nowadays, or at least amplified by electronics. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is put in your ear and transmits signals in electronically. It’s like a specialized little speaker for your ear, and most monitors can block out sound from the outside world (thanks to a rather tight fit and special design). This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. In-ear monitors are useful for people who work chiefly with electronically amplified instruments.
Safeguard your career by protecting your hearing
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. Everyone can safeguard their hearing and future with hearing protection solutions 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 incredible music for years (maybe even decades) to come!
Don’t really know where to start? Contact us today, we can help!