Musicians rock. Their shows bring us so much enjoyment. The downside is that music is nearly always loud, in fact, many people prefer it that way. The musicians themselves are at an even greater risk of hearing damage since they are exposed to loud music nearly every day.
As you grow older, you’ll still want to be capable of enjoying your favorite songs whether you’re a musician or not. The key to having an extended successful career, for musicians, is protecting their ears. For the rest of us, ear protection is the secret to a lifetime of musical fulfillment and enrichment.
Sometimes it can be surprising how loud music can get
If you ask the majority of individuals if a jet engine is loud, they’ll likely say yes.
But what about music? People might 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 indeed loud! Even classical music can get to relatively loud volumes that can easily damage your hearing.
Sounds louder than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for instance. That’s about as loud as a leaf blower. In Europe, for instance, they have regulations that require ear protection for anybody who works in a work environment where there is noise louder than 85 dB.
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 protect your hearing?
Okay, musicians who want to preserve their hearing for years to come need to safeguard their ears. So what can musicians do to protect their ears and still enjoy the music they enjoy so much?
Here are a couple of strategies:
- Track your volume: Everybody remembers the old saying “knowledge is power”. So knowing volume levels of sounds around you will help you safeguard your hearing. Sometimes, this is as easy as keeping track of your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also buy a decibel meter app for your cellphone to make it convenient to track the real-world volume levels your ears are encountering from day-to-day. You will need to make a few changes if the meter consistently detects volumes louder than 85 dB.
- Take breaks: Your ears are like any other part of your body: they can become exhausted and will often benefit from rest. So give yourself “hearing breaks” regularly. This will help prevent your ears from getting overpowered with sound (and damage). Regarding hearing, how long you’re exposed is nearly as important as how high the volume is. Taking breaks can be the difference between just the right amount of stimulation and too much!
Use hearing protection
Of course, the single most beneficial thing you can do to protect your ears is simple: using hearing protection of some kind. Many musicians are reluctant to wear ear protection because they’re worried it will effect the quality of sound they hear, in addition to dampening the volume. But depending on what kind of hearing protection you use, that might not always be true.
- Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s likely very familiar to most individuals. They’re pretty good at stopping a lot of sound though they sometimes don’t fit comfortably. They’re inexpensive, easy to come by, and easy to throw away. For musicians, they aren’t a great solution. But earplugs 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 minimize external noise by about 20% while maintaining the audio fidelity. For musicians who need a moderate amount of protection on a budget, this option is perfect.
- Electronic earplugs: The same basic functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can also be found in electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block the majority 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 noisy settings, and who are looking for more options in terms of volume control.
- In-ear monitors: Electronics are a major part of modern music. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and sends them directly to a device placed in your ear (called an in-ear monitor). It’s like a special little speaker for your ear, and most monitors can block out sound from the outside world (thanks to a rather tight fit and specialized design). So you regulate the volume level and are able to hear sound accurately and clearly. In-ear monitors are beneficial for those who work mainly with electronically amplified instruments.
Safeguard your ears, and protect your career
It’s never too late to take steps to protect your hearing, but it’s definitely a good plan to start sooner rather than later. Everyone can protect their hearing and future with ear protection options at all price points. Remember, hearing protection for a musician is an investment in your career. 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? Call us today, we can help!