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

Musicians are cool! Their performances bring us so much enjoyment. But music is a lot more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing risk. Since musicians expose themselves to loud music on a daily basis, their hearing is at greater risk of being damaged.

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 an extended successful career, for musicians, is protecting their hearing. Hearing protection is also key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment for everybody.

Music is surprisingly loud

Most people would say that a jet engine is really loud.

Is music actually that loud? People may not be so fast to answer that question if you ask them if a violin or acoustic guitar is loud. Imagine their surprise when they discover the reality: That can also be loud music! Even classical music can reach relatively high volumes that can easily harm your hearing.

A violin, for example, can produce sounds well over 90 dB. That’s around as loud as a leaf blower. In Europe, for instance, they have laws that require hearing protection for anybody who works in a work environment where there is noise louder than 85 dB.

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

Can you protect your ears from noise damage?

Okay, now you’re aware that musicians need to protect their hearing (particularly if they want to keep on rocking out for many years). So how can musicians continue to enjoy their music while also safeguarding their hearing?

Well, here are a couple of easy things musicians can do:

  • Take breaks: Your ears are like any other part of your body: they can become exhausted and will often benefit from rest. So take regular breaks from the noise. In this way, noises won’t overpower and damage your ears. With regard to 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!
  • Track your volume: Everybody knows the old saying “knowledge is power”. So being aware of volume levels of noises around you will help you protect your hearing. Usually, this is as easy as monitoring your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also purchase a decibel meter app for your smartphone to make it easy to track the real-world volume levels your ears are experiencing day in and day out. If the meter detects volumes above 85dB consistently, you’ll want to address this.

Ear protection is important

Needless to say, the single most effective thing you can do to protect your ears is easy: using ear protection of some kind. Many musicians are hesitant to use hearing protection because they’re concerned it will impact 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 primarily for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s likely very well known to most people. They don’t always fit perfectly, but they do reliably block a lot of sound. They’re inexpensive, easy to get, and easy to throw away. And they aren’t best suited for musicians. However, by spending just a little more money, you can purchase high-quality earplugs designed specifically for musicians. A specialized material and modern engineering are used to help these earplugs fit snuggly in the ear and decrease external noise by about 20% while maintaining the audio clarity. For musicians who require a moderate amount of protection on a budget, this solution is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs work in essentially the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. Most of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. What you hear will instead be routed in by the earplug itself. This solution is perfect for people who work in particularly noisy settings, and who want more options in terms of controlling volume.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a major part of modern music. A device, called an in-ear-monitor, is placed inside of your ear and sends signals in electronically. It’s like a special little speaker for your ear, and the majority of monitors can block out sound from the outside environment (thanks to a fairly tight fit and specialized design). This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. In-ear monitors are practical for individuals who work mainly with electronically amplified instruments.

Safeguard your career by protecting your ears

It’s never too late to take steps to protect your ears, but it’s definitely a good idea to start sooner rather than later. Everyone can protect their hearing and future with hearing protection options at all price points. Remember that you’re investing in your career by using hearing protection for musicians. It’s one way to ensure you’ll be making amazing music for years (maybe even decades) to come!

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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.
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