When your favorite song comes on the radio, do you find yourself turning up the volume? Lots of people do that. There’s something intuitive about pumping up the jam. And it’s something you can really enjoy. But, here’s the situation: it can also cause some significant harm.
In the past we weren’t familiar with the relationship between music and hearing loss. Volume is the biggest problem(this is in regards to how many times per day you listen and how extreme the volume is). And many musicians are rethinking how they approach dealing with the volume of their music.
Hearing Loss And Musicians
It’s a fairly famous irony that, later in life, classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven was hard of hearing. He couldn’t hear any of the music he created (except in his head). There’s even one story about how the composer was conducting one of his symphonies and needed to be turned around at the end of the performance because he was unable to hear the thundering applause of the crowd.
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 many musicians who are widely recognized 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 seem remarkably similar. Being a musician means spending just about every day sandwiched between blaring speakers and deafening crowds. Noticeable damage including tinnitus and hearing loss will ultimately be the result.
Even if You Aren’t a Musician This Could Still be a Problem
As a non-rock star (at least when it comes to the profession, everybody knows you’re a rock star in terms of personality), you may have a difficult time relating this to your own concerns. You don’t have millions of adoring fans screaming for you (usually). And you don’t have massive amplifiers behind you every day.
But your favorite playlist and a pair of earbuds are things you do have. And that’s the concern. Thanks to the contemporary capabilities of earbuds, pretty much everyone can enjoy life like a musician, inundated by sound and music that are way too loud.
This one little thing can now become a substantial problem.
So How Can You Protect Your Ears While Listening to Music?
So, the first step is that we admit there’s an issue (that’s usually the first step, but it’s particularly true in this case). People are putting their hearing in peril and have to be made aware of it (especially more impressionable, younger people). But you also should take some other steps too:
- Manage your volume: Many modern smartphones will let you know when you’re exceeding safe limits on volume. You should adhere to these safety measures if you care about your long-term hearing.
- Get a volume-checking app: You are probably not aware of the actual volume of a live concert. It can be helpful to download one of a few free apps that will provide you with a volume measurement of the space you’re in. This can help you keep track of what’s dangerous and isn’t.
- Wear earplugs: Wear earplugs when you attend a concert or any other live music event. Your experience won’t be lessened by using ear protection. But they will safeguard your ears from the most severe of the damage. (Incidentally, wearing earplugs is what most of your favorite musicians are currently doing to safeguard their hearing, so even the cool kids are doing it).
It’s rather straight forward math: you will have more severe hearing loss later in life the more often you put your hearing at risk. Eric Clapton, for instance, has completely lost his hearing. He probably wishes he begun wearing earplugs a lot sooner.
Limiting exposure, then, is the best way to reduce damage. For musicians (and for people who happen to work at music venues), that can be difficult. Part of the solution is wearing ear protection.
But keeping the volume at reasonable levels is also a smart idea.