Louisville Family Audiology - Louisville, KY

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

Musicians are awesome! Their performances bring us so much happiness. But music is a lot more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing hazard. The musicians themselves are at an increased danger of hearing damage since they are exposed to loud music nearly every day.

As you grow older, you’ll still want to be able to enjoy your favorite music whether you’re a musician or not. For musicians, preserving their hearing is the key to an extended and successful career. For the rest of us, ear protection is the key to a lifetime of musical enjoyment and enrichment.

Sometimes it can be surprising how loud music can get

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

But what about music? People may not be so quick 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 indeed loud! Your ears can even be harmed by classical music which can get to relatively high volumes.

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

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

Can you safeguard your ears from noise damage?

Okay, musicians who want to keep their hearing for years to come need to safeguard their hearing. So what can musicians do to safeguard their ears and still take pleasure in the music they enjoy so much?

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Take breaks: Like any part of your body, your ears can become tired and may need to get a little rest. So give yourself “hearing breaks” frequently. In this way, noises won’t overpower and harm your ears. Duration is nearly as important as volume when it comes to hearing health. The difference between the perfect amount of stimulation and too much can come down to taking regular breaks.
  • Track your volume: Everybody knows the old saying “knowledge is power”. So it makes sense that you should always know what volume of sound you’re subjecting your ears to. Keeping track of 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 want to make some changes if the meter regularly detects volumes above 85 dB.

hearing protection is important

Using hearing protection is the single most effective way to safeguard your hearing. A lot of musicians are concerned that ear protection will muffle the sound and impact its overall sound quality. 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 probably very familiar to most individuals. They’re fairly good at blocking a lot of sound although they sometimes don’t fit comfortably. They’re not difficult to get, aren’t expensive, and can be disposed of easily. 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 fancy manufacturing processes (mostly they’re made out of very distinct materials and are designed to fit comfortably in the ear) to maintain audio fidelity while diminishing the noise you experience by about 20dB. This option is perfect for musicians who need a light to moderate amount of protection (and who don’t have a lot of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to misplace them).
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs work in pretty much the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. Most of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. But the earplug itself will pipe in the sound you hear. This option is perfect for people 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 now, or at least amplified by electronics. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and sends them directly to a device placed inside of your ear (called an in-ear monitor). It’s like a special little speaker for your ear, and most monitors can block out sound from the outside environment (thanks to a fairly tight fit and special design). So you regulate the volume level and are able to hear sound accurately and clearly. In-ear monitors are beneficial for those 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 ears, but it’s definitely a good idea to start sooner rather than later. With solutions available at just about 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. 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 start? Call us 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.
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