Is Hearing 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 enjoyment. The drawback is that music is pretty much always loud, in fact, many individuals like it better that way. The musicians themselves are at an increased danger of hearing damage since they are exposed to loud music nearly every day.

Whether your livelihood depends on music or not, you’ll still want to be able to hear your favorite songs when you’re pushing 60, 70, or 80. For musicians, preserving their hearing is the key to a long and successful career. For the rest of us, ear protection is the secret to a lifetime of musical enjoyment and enrichment.

Oftentimes it can be surprising how loud music can get

If you ask most individuals if a jet engine is loud, they’ll likely say yes.

Is music really that loud? If you ask somebody whether an acoustic guitar or a lone violin is loud, they may not answer so quickly. Imagine their surprise when they discover the reality: That can also be loud music! Your ears can even be harmed by classical music which can reach fairly high volumes.

A violin, for example, can create sounds well over 90 dB. That’s around as loud as a leaf blower. In Europe, for instance, they have laws that require ear protection for anyone 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, continuous exposure to that kind of volume, particularly without hearing protection, can severely harm your hearing over time.

How can you protect your hearing?

Okay, now you recognize that musicians need to safeguard their hearing (particularly if they want to continue rocking out for many years). So what can musicians do to protect their hearing and still take pleasure in the music they love so much?

Here are a couple of strategies:

  • Take breaks: Like any part of your body, your ears can become exhausted and might need to get a little rest. So take frequent breaks from the noise. This will help stop your ears from becoming overpowered with sound (and damage). With regard to hearing, how long you’re exposed is almost as important as how high the volume is. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!
  • Track your volume: Everybody knows the old saying “knowledge is power”. So being aware of volume levels of sounds around you will help you protect your hearing. Usually, this is as easy as tracking your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also invest in a decibel meter app for your smartphone to make it convenient to monitor the real-world volume levels your ears are encountering day in and day out. If the meter detects volumes above 85dB consistently, you’ll want to do something about this.

Use ear protection

Using ear protection is the single most effective way to protect your hearing. Many musicians are unwilling to use ear protection because they’re concerned it will effect the clarity of sound they hear, in addition to muting the volume. That’s not always true, depending on which kind of hearing protection you use.

  • Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s likely very familiar to most individuals. They don’t always fit perfectly, but they do reliably stop a lot of sound. They’re cheap, easy to come by, and easy to dispose of. And they aren’t ideal for musicians. However, by spending just a little more money, you can buy high-quality earplugs designed chiefly for musicians. A special material and state-of-the-art engineering are used to help these earplugs fit snuggly in the ear and minimize external noise by about 20% while maintaining the audio clarity. This solution is perfect for musicians who require a light to moderate level of protection (and who don’t have a lot of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to lose them).
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs work in basically the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block most of the sound. What you hear will instead be piped in by the earplug itself. For individuals who work in very noisy environments and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are ideal.
  • In-ear monitors: The majority of music is electronic these days, or at least amplified by electronics. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is placed inside of your ear and transmits signals in electronically. Most monitors are small speakers that fit tightly and block out the majority of sound while playing sounds you want to hear at less harmful volumes. This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. For musicians who electronically amplify their instruments these in-ear-monitors are the ideal answer.

Safeguard your career by protecting your ears

It’s never too late to take measures to protect your ears, but it’s definitely a good idea to begin sooner rather than later. Everyone can protect their hearing and future with ear protection solutions at all price points. Remember, hearing protection for a musician is an investment in your career. It’s one way to make sure you’ll be making incredible music for years (maybe even decades) to come!

Contact us so we can help you get started.

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.