Musicians rock. They bring so much happiness to our lives with their performances. But music is a lot more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing hazard. The musicians themselves are at an even greater danger of hearing damage since they are subjected to loud music just about every day.
As you get older, you’ll still want to be capable of enjoying your favorite music whether you’re a musician or not. The key to having a long successful career, for musicians, is protecting their hearing. 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 the majority of people if a jet engine is loud, they’ll likely say yes.
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 certainly loud! Your ears can even be damaged by classical music which can get to fairly high volumes.
Sounds louder than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for example. A leaf blower is about this loud. To put that into context, the European Union laws stipulate that any workplace louder than 85 dB will require the use of hearing protection.
And if you’re working with music on a daily basis, consistent exposure to that sort of volume, especially without hearing protection, can severely harm your hearing over time.
How can you safeguard your hearing?
Okay, now you’re aware that musicians need to protect their hearing (especially if they want to continue rocking out for many years). So what can musicians do to safeguard their hearing and still take pleasure in the music they love so much?
Well, here are a couple of simple things musicians can do:
- Take breaks: Your ears are the same as any other part of your body: they can become exhausted and will frequently benefit from rest. So take frequent breaks from the noise. This will help prevent your ears from becoming overpowered with sound (and damage). Duration is nearly as important as volume with regard to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just the right amount of stimulation and too much!
- Track your volume: Everyone remembers the old saying “knowledge is power”. So being aware of volume levels of noises around you will help you protect your hearing. Sometimes, this is as simple as keeping track of your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also purchase a decibel meter app for your cellphone to make it easy to track the real-world volume levels your ears are experiencing day in and day out. If the meter reads above 85dB consistently, you’ll have to do something about this.
Wear ear protection
Using hearing protection is the number one 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. That’s not always true, depending on which kind of ear protection you choose.
- Ear plugs made primarily for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s likely very well known to most people. They’re pretty good at stopping a lot of sound although they sometimes don’t fit comfortably. They aren’t difficult to get, aren’t expensive, and can be thrown away easily. And they aren’t best suited for musicians. But earplugs made just for musicians are also available at a slightly higher cost. A specialized material and modern engineering are used to help these earplugs fit snuggly in the ear and minimize external noise by about 20% while maintaining the audio fidelity. This option is perfect for musicians who need a light to moderate level of protection (and who don’t have a ton of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to misplace them).
- Electronic earplugs: The same basic functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can be found in electronic earplugs. The majority of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. 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 perfect.
- In-ear monitors: Most music is electronic now, or at least amplified by electronics. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is placed inside of your ear and transmits 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 specialized design). This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. In-ear monitors are practical for people who work chiefly with electronically amplified instruments.
Safeguard your hearing, and protect your career
It’s best to begin protecting your hearing early, before any substantial harm occurs. With options 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. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy creating music for as long as you want to.
Don’t really know where to begin? Give us a call today, we can help!