If you’re a professional musician, your hearing is your living. So you’d think musicians would be fairly protective of their hearing. Oddly, that isn’t the situation. Most musicians just accept loss of hearing. They believe loss of hearing is just “part of the job”.
That attitude, however, is beginning to be challenged by various new legal legislations and focused public safety efforts. It shouldn’t ever be regarded as just “part of the job” to cause hearing loss. When there are proven methods to safeguard the ears, that’s particularly true.
Safeguarding Your Hearing in a Noisy Setting
Obviously, musicians aren’t the only individuals who are subjected to a loud workplace setting. And many other professionals certainly have also developed a fatalistic approach to hearing issues caused by loud noise. But other occupations, such as manufacturing and construction, have been quicker to embrace practical levels of ear protection.
more than likely this is because of a couple of things:
- Musicians need to capable of hearing rather well while performing, even when they’re playing the same music regularly. If it seems like it will hamper the ability to hear, there can be some opposition to using hearing protection. This resistance is usually based on misinformation, it should be mentioned.
- No matter how severely you’re treated as an artist, there’s always a feeling that you’re lucky and that somebody would be grateful to be in your position. So many musicians simply deal with poor hearing protection.
- The saying goes “hard hat required”. That’s because the manufacturing and construction environments have many hazards. So construction laborers, site foremen, and managers are likely more accustomed to donning protective equipment.
This “part of the job” mindset influences more than just the musicians, unfortunately. There’s an implicit expectation that other people who are working in the music business such as roadies and bartenders go along with this harmful mentality.
Norms Are Changing
Fortunately, that’s changing for two major reasons. A milestone legal ruling against The Royal Opera House in London is the first. A viola player, during a concert, was subjected to 130dB of noise when she was seated directly in front of the brass section. That’s about the sound equivalent of a full-blown jet engine!
Hearing protection should always be provided when someone is going to be subjected to that much noise. But that wasn’t the case, and the viola player experienced extreme hearing impairment due to that lack of protection, damage that involved long battles with tinnitus.
When the courts ruled against the Royal Opera House and ruled in favor of the viola player, they delivered a message that the music industry would no longer be immune from workplace hearing protection requirements, and that the industry should stop thinking of itself as an exceptional case and instead commit to proper hearing protection for all employees and contractors involved.
A Musicians Fate Shouldn’t be Loss of hearing
In the music industry the number of those who have tinnitus is mindblowingly high. And that’s the reason that around the world there’s a campaign to raise awareness.
Everyone from wedding DJs to classical music performers to rock stars and their roadies are in danger of experiencing “acoustic shock,” a response to very loud noises which includes the onset of tinnitus, hyperacusis, and loss of hearing. The more acoustic shock that’s experienced, the higher the chance that damage will become permanent.
You can be protected without diminishing musical capabilities by using earplugs that are specially created for musicians or other modern hearing protection devices. You’ll still be capable of hearing what you need to hear, but your ears will be protected.
Changing The Music Attitude
You can get the right hearing protection right now. Changing the mindset in the music business, at this point, is the key to protecting the hearing of musicians. This endeavor, though it’s a big one, is one that’s already demonstrating success (The industry is getting an eye opener with the judgment against The Royal Opera House).
In the industry, tinnitus is very common. But this doesn’t have to be the way it is. It doesn’t matter what your job is, hearing loss should never be “just part of the job”.
Are you a musician? If you don’t want your performance to be impacted, ask us how to safeguard your ears.