Do you turn up the volume when your favorite song comes on the radio? Many people do that. When you pump up your music, you can feel it in your gut. And it’s enjoyable. But there’s one thing you should know: it can also result in some appreciable harm.
In the past we weren’t informed about the relationship between music and hearing loss. Volume is the biggest problem(both when it comes to sound intensity and the number of listening sessions in a day). And many musicians are rethinking how they approach managing the volume of their music.
Hearing Loss And Musicians
It’s a pretty well-known irony that, later in life, classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven was hard of hearing. He couldn’t hear any of the music he composed (except in his head). On one occasion he even needed to be turned around to see the thunderous applause of his audience because he wasn’t able to hear it.
Beethoven might be the first and most well-known example of the deaf musician, but he definitely isn’t the last. In more recent times quite a few musicians who are well known for playing at extremely loud volumes are coming forth with their stories of hearing loss.
From Eric Clapton to Neil Diamond to will.i.am, the stories all sound remarkably similar. Musicians spend a large amount of time coping with crowd noise and loud speakers. The trauma that the ears experience every day eventually brings about significant harm: tinnitus and hearing loss.
Even if You’re Not a Musician This Could Still be an Issue
You might think that because you aren’t personally a rock star or a musician, this may not apply to you. You’re not performing for large crowds. And you don’t have massive amplifiers behind you daily.
But you do have a couple of earbuds and your chosen playlist. And that’s the concern. It’s become easy for each one of us to experience music like rock stars do, way too loud.
This one little thing can now become a substantial problem.
So When You’re Listening to Music, How Can You Safeguard Your Ears?
As with most situations admitting that there’s a problem is the first step. Raising awareness can help some people (particularly younger, more impressionable people) become aware that they’re putting their hearing in danger. But you also need to take some further steps too:
- Manage your volume: Many modern smartphones will let you know when you’re exceeding healthy limits on volume. You should listen to these safety measures if you care about your long-term hearing.
- Wear earplugs: Use earplugs when you attend a concert or any other live music event. They won’t really lessen your experience. But your ears will be safeguarded from further harm. (And don’t think that using hearing protection will make you uncool because it’s what most of your favorite musicians are doing.).
- Get a volume-monitoring app: You may not realize just how loud a rock concert or music venue is. It can be useful to download one of a few free apps that will provide you with a volume measurement of the space you’re in. In this way, when dangerous levels are reached you will be aware of it.
It’s rather simple math: you will have more significant hearing loss later on the more often you put your hearing at risk. Eric Clapton, for example, has entirely lost his hearing. He probably wishes he begun wearing earplugs a lot sooner.
The best way to lessen your damage, then, is to minimize your exposure. For musicians (and for people who happen to work at music venues), that can be difficult. Ear protection may supply part of an answer there.
But everyone would be a lot better off if we just turned down the volume to reasonable levels.