Should Musicians Use Hearing Protection?

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

Musicians rock. They bring so much happiness to our lives with their performances. The downside is that music is pretty much always loud, in fact, many people like it better that way. The musicians themselves are at an even greater danger of hearing damage since they are exposed to loud music just about every day.

As you get older, you’ll still want to be capable of enjoying your favorite songs whether you’re a musician or not. The key to having a lengthy successful career, for musicians, is protecting their hearing. Hearing protection is also key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment for everyone.

Music is surprisingly loud

If you ask most people 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 might not reply so quickly. Imagine their surprise when they discover the reality: That can also be very loud music! Your ears can even be damaged by classical music which can reach relatively loud volumes.

Sounds louder than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for instance. That’s around as loud as a leaf blower. To put that into context, the European Union regulations dictate that any work environment louder than 85 dB requires the use of ear protection.

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

Can you safeguard your ears from noise damage?

Okay, musicians who want to maintain their hearing for years to come need to protect their hearing. So how can musicians keep enjoying their music while also preserving their hearing?

Here are a couple of strategies:

  • Take breaks: Your ears are like any other part of your body: they can be overworked and will often benefit from rest. So give yourself “hearing breaks” regularly. By doing this, noises won’t overpower and harm your ears. Duration is almost as important as volume with regard to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!
  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So being aware of volume levels of noises around you will help you safeguard your hearing. Keeping track of the volume on amps and PA systems is part of it. But you can also invest in a decibel meter app for your cellphone to make it easy to track the real-world volume levels your ears are experiencing from day-to-day. If the meter reads above 85dB consistently, you’ll need to address this.

Wear ear protection

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

  • Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Most people are probably familiar with disposable ear plugs. They’re fairly good at stopping a lot of sound although they sometimes don’t fit very well. They’re inexpensive, easy to find, and easy to throw away. For musicians, they aren’t a great solution. However, by paying a little more, you can buy high-quality earplugs made specifically for musicians. These earplugs use fancy manufacturing methods (mostly they’re made out of very distinct materials and are designed to conform nicely to the ear) to maintain audio clarity while diminishing the noise you experience by around 20dB. This option 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: The same general functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can be found in electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block out most of the sound. What you hear will instead be routed in by the earplug itself. This solution is perfect for individuals who work in particularly loud environments, and who want more options in terms of volume control.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a major part of modern music. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is placed in your ear and sends signals in electronically. It’s like a special little speaker for your ear, and most monitors can block out sound from the outside world (thanks to a fairly 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 those who work primarily with electronically amplified instruments.

Safeguard your career by protecting your hearing

It’s never too late to take measures to protect your ears, but it’s definitely a good plan to begin sooner rather than later. Everybody can protect their hearing and future with ear protection options at all price points. Don’t forget that you’re investing in your career by using hearing protection for musicians. It’s one way to be certain you’ll be making incredible music for many years (maybe even decades) to come!

Contact us so we can help you get started.

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.

Stop struggling to hear conversations. Come see us today. Call or Text