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 performances bring us so much happiness. The downside is that music is pretty much always loud, in fact, many individuals prefer it that way. Since musicians expose themselves to loud music frequently, their hearing is at greater risk of being damaged.

Whether your living relies on music or not, you’ll still want to be able to hear your favorite songs when you’re in your later years of life. For musicians, safeguarding their hearing is the key to a lengthy and successful career. Hearing protection is also key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment for everybody.

Music is surprisingly loud

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 can also be loud music! Even classical music can reach relatively high volumes that can easily damage your hearing.

Sounds higher than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for example. A leaf blower is around this noisy. To put that into context, the European Union regulations stipulate that any work environment noisier than 85 dB calls for the use of ear protection.

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

How can you safeguard your hearing?

Okay, now you’re aware that musicians need to protect their hearing (particularly 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 easy things musicians can do:

  • Take breaks: Much like any part of your body, your ears can become exhausted and might need a little break. So take regular breaks from the noise. This will help prevent your ears from getting overpowered with sound (and damage). Duration is nearly as relevant as volume when it comes to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just the right amount of stimulation and too much!
  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So being aware of volume levels of sounds around you will help you protect your hearing. Usually, 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 smartphone to make it convenient to track the real-world volume levels your ears are encountering day in and day out. You will need to make a few changes if the meter consistently detects volumes louder than 85 dB.

Use ear protection

Using hearing protection is the single most effective way to safeguard your hearing. Lots 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 true.

  • Ear plugs made primarily for musicians: Most individuals are probably acquainted with disposable ear plugs. They’re fairly good at stopping a lot of sound although they sometimes don’t fit comfortably. They’re cheap, easy to come by, and easy to throw away. And they aren’t best suited for musicians. But earplugs just for musicians are also available for a little more money. These earplugs use modern manufacturing processes (mostly they’re made out of very specific materials and are designed to conform nicely to the ear) to maintain audio fidelity while decreasing the noise you hear by something like 20dB. For musicians who require a moderate amount of protection on a budget, this option is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: The same general functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can also be found in electronic earplugs. The majority of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. But the earplug itself will send in the sound you hear. For individuals who work in very noisy settings and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are perfect.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a major part of modern music. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and transmits them directly to a device placed inside of your ear (called an in-ear monitor). Most monitors are little speakers that fit snugly and block out the majority of sound while playing sounds you want to hear at less harmful volumes. So you regulate the volume level and are able to hear sound accurately and clearly. For musicians who electronically amplify their instruments these in-ear-monitors are the ideal answer.

Safeguard your career by protecting your ears

It’s best to start protecting your hearing early, before any significant harm occurs. With solutions 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. It’s one way to make sure you’ll be making incredible music for many years (maybe even decades) to come!

Don’t quite know where to start? Call us 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.