Musicians rock. Their songs bring us so much happiness. The downside is that music is pretty much always loud, in fact, many people prefer it that way. The musicians themselves are at an even greater danger 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 music whether you’re a musician or not. The key to having an extended successful career, for musicians, is protecting their ears. Ear protection is also key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment for everyone.
Sometimes 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 actually that loud? 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! Your ears can even be damaged by classical music which can get to relatively loud volumes.
Sounds louder than 90 dB can be produced by a violin, for example. A leaf blower is about this loud. In Europe, for instance, they have regulations that require hearing protection for anyone who works in a work environment where there is noise above 85 dB.
And your hearing can be seriously damaged over time if you’re working with music every day, particularly if you don’t use ear protection.
Can you protect your ears from noise damage?
Okay, musicians who want to keep their hearing for years to come need to safeguard their hearing. So how can musicians continue to enjoy their music while also protecting their hearing?
Here are a couple of tips:
- Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it makes sense that you should always know what levels of sound you’re exposing your ears to. Usually, this is as easy as keeping track of your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also keep track of day-to-day volume levels of environmental noises using a decibel meter app that you can download on your cellphone. You will want to make a few changes if the meter regularly detects volumes louder than 85 dB.
- Take breaks: Much like any part of your body, your ears can become exhausted and may need a little break. So take regular breaks from the noise. In this way, noises won’t overwhelm and harm your ears. Duration is almost as relevant as volume with regard to hearing health. The difference between the perfect amount of stimulation and too much can come down to taking regular breaks.
Ear protection is important
Of course, the single most effective thing you can do to safeguard your hearing is simple: using hearing protection of some kind. Many musicians are hesitant to wear hearing protection because they’re concerned it will impact the clarity of sound they hear, in addition to dampening the volume. But depending on what type of hearing protection you use, that may not always be true.
- Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s most likely very well known to most individuals. They don’t always fit comfortably, but they do reliably stop a lot of sound. They’re not difficult to get, aren’t expensive, and can be disposed of easily. 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 modern engineering are used to help these earplugs fit comfortably in the ear and minimize external noise by about 20% while preserving the audio clarity. This solution is perfect for musicians who need a light to moderate amount 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 out the majority of the sound. What you hear will instead be routed in by the earplug itself. For people who work in really noisy environments and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are ideal.
- In-ear monitors: Electronics are a significant part of modern music. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is placed in your ear and passes signals in electronically. The majority of monitors are small speakers that fit snugly and block out most sound while playing sounds you want to hear at safe volumes. This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. In-ear monitors are practical for people who work mainly with electronically amplified instruments.
Safeguard your ears, and protect your career
It’s better to start safeguarding your hearing early, before any substantial damage occurs. With options available at nearly every price point, there are simple ways for everyone to protect their hearing and their future. Remember that you’re investing in your career by utilizing hearing protection for musicians. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy creating music for as long as you want to.
Don’t quite know where to start? Give us a call today, we can help!