Is Ear 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. Their shows bring us so much enjoyment. 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 risk of hearing damage since they are subjected to loud music nearly every day.

As you grow older, you’ll still want to be capable of enjoying your favorite music whether you’re a musician or not. For musicians, protecting their hearing is the key to a long and successful career. Ear protection is also key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment for everyone.

Music is surprisingly loud

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

Is music actually that loud? People may not be so quick 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 music is certainly loud! Your ears can even be harmed by classical music which can reach relatively loud volumes.

Sounds louder than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for instance. A leaf blower is around this noisy. To put that into context, the European Union regulations dictate that any work environment louder than 85 dB will require the use of ear protection.

And if you’re working with music on a daily basis, continuous exposure to that sort of volume, especially without ear protection, can severely harm your hearing over time.

Can you safeguard your ears from noise damage?

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

Well, here are a couple of simple things musicians can do:

  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it makes sense that you should always be aware of what levels of sound you’re exposing your ears to. Keeping track of the volume on amps and PA systems is part of it. But you can also buy a decibel meter app for your smartphone to make it easy to monitor the real-world volume levels your ears are encountering day in and day out. You will need to make some changes if the meter consistently detects volumes louder than 85 dB.
  • Take breaks: Much like any part of your body, your ears can become fatigued and may need to get a little rest. So give yourself “hearing breaks” regularly. By doing this, noises won’t overpower and damage your ears. Regarding hearing, how long you’re exposed is almost as significant as how high the volume is. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!

Wear hearing protection

Using hearing protection is the number one most effective way to safeguard your hearing. Many musicians are reluctant to use ear protection because they’re concerned it will impact the quality of sound they hear, as well as dampening the volume. But depending on what type of hearing protection you use, that might not always be accurate.

  • Ear plugs made primarily for musicians: Most individuals are most likely familiar with disposable ear plugs. They’re fairly good at stopping a lot of sound though they sometimes don’t fit comfortably. They’re inexpensive, easy to find, and easy to throw away. For musicians, they aren’t an ideal solution. But earplugs made just for musicians are also available for a little more money. A special material and state-of-the-art engineering are utilized to help these earplugs fit snuggly in the ear and decrease external noise by about 20% while preserving the audio clarity. For musicians who require a moderate level of protection on a budget, this solution is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs work in basically 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 send in the sound you hear. For people who work in very noisy environments and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are ideal.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a major part of modern music. A device, called an in-ear-monitor, is put inside of your ear and passes signals in electronically. It’s like a special little speaker for your ear, and most monitors can block out sound from the outside environment (thanks to a rather tight fit and special design). 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 career by protecting your ears

It’s best to begin protecting your hearing early, before any significant harm occurs. Everybody can safeguard their hearing and future with ear protection solutions for every budget. Remember 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.

Don’t really know where to begin? Give us a call today, we can help!

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.