Should Musicians Wear Ear Protection?

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

Musicians rock. They bring so much happiness to our lives with their performances. The drawback is that music is almost always loud, in fact, many individuals prefer it that way. Since musicians expose themselves to loud music frequently, their hearing is at an increased risk of being damaged.

As you grow older, you’ll still want to be capable of enjoying your favorite songs whether you’re a musician or not. The key to having a lengthy successful career, for musicians, is protecting their hearing. Hearing protection is also key to a lifetime of musical enjoyment for everybody.

Sometimes it can be surprising how loud music can get

If you ask the majority of people whether a jet engine is loud, they’ll likely say yes.

But what about music? If you ask someone whether an acoustic guitar or a lone violin is loud, they may not reply so quickly. Usually, when they hear the answer, they’re pretty surprised: That can also be very loud music! Your ears can even be harmed by classical music which can reach relatively loud volumes.

Sounds louder than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for instance. A leaf blower is around this noisy. To put that into context, the European Union laws stipulate that any work environment louder than 85 dB calls for the use of ear protection.

And if you’re working with music on a daily basis, consistent exposure to that kind of volume, especially without hearing protection, can seriously harm your hearing over time.

Can you protect your ears from noise damage?

Okay, now you’re aware that musicians need to protect their hearing (especially if they want to go on rocking out for many years). So what can musicians do to protect their ears and still take pleasure in the music they enjoy so much?

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Take breaks: Like any part of your body, your ears can become tired and might need a little break. So take regular breaks from the noise. This will help stop your ears from becoming overpowered with sound (and damage). Regarding hearing, how long you’re exposed is nearly as important as how loud it is. The difference between the perfect amount of stimulation and too much can come down to taking regular breaks.
  • Track your volume: Everybody remembers the old saying “knowledge is power”. So it follows that you should always be aware of what volume of sound you’re subjecting your ears to. Sometimes, this is as easy as tracking your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also track day-to-day volume levels of external noises using a volume meter app that you can download on your cellphone. You will need to make some changes if the meter regularly reads above 85 dB.

Wear ear protection

Using ear protection is the single most effective way to protect your hearing. Lots of musicians are worried that ear protection will muffle the sound and effects its overall sound quality. That’s not always true, depending on which type of hearing protection you use.

  • Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s likely very familiar to most individuals. They’re pretty good at stopping a lot of sound though they sometimes don’t fit comfortably. They’re inexpensive, easy to get, and easy to throw away. For musicians, they aren’t a great solution. However, by spending just a little more money, you can buy high-quality earplugs made chiefly for musicians. A specialized material and modern engineering are utilized to help these earplugs fit comfortably in the ear and decrease external noise by around 20% while maintaining the audio clarity. For musicians who require a moderate level of protection on a budget, this option is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: The same general functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can also be found in electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block most of the sound. What you hear will instead be routed in by the earplug itself. This solution is perfect for individuals who work in particularly noisy settings, and who are looking for more options when it comes to controlling volume.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a significant part of modern music. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is placed inside of your ear and sends signals in electronically. Most monitors are small speakers that fit snugly and block out most 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 solution.

Protect your career by protecting your ears

It’s best to start protecting your hearing early, before any significant harm occurs. Everybody can safeguard their hearing and future with ear protection solutions at all price points. Remember, ear protection for a musician is an investment in your career. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy making music for as long as you want to.

Don’t quite know where to start? Call us today, we can help!

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.