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 are awesome! Their shows bring us so much happiness. But music is so much more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing risk. 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 an extended successful career, for musicians, is protecting their hearing. Ear protection is also key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment for everyone.

Oftentimes it can be surprising how loud music can be

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

Is music actually that loud? If you ask someone whether an acoustic guitar or a lone violin is loud, they may not answer right away. Imagine their surprise when they discover the reality: That can also be very loud music! Your ears can even be harmed by classical music which can get to relatively loud volumes.

A violin, for example, can produce sounds well over 90 dB. A leaf blower is about this noisy. In Europe, for example, they have regulations that require ear protection for anybody who works in a work environment where there is noise above 85 dB.

And if you’re working with music day in and day out, constant exposure to that sort of volume, especially without ear protection, can severely harm your hearing over time.

Can you protect your ears from noise damage?

Okay, musicians who want to preserve their hearing for years to come need to safeguard their hearing. So how can musicians keep enjoying their music while also safeguarding their hearing?

Here are a couple of strategies:

  • Take breaks: Much like any part of your body, your ears can become exhausted and might need a little break. So take regular breaks from the noise. In this way, noises won’t overwhelm and damage your ears. Duration is almost as relevant as volume when it comes to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!
  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? 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 invest in a decibel meter app for your smartphone to make it easy to track the real-world volume levels your ears are encountering from day-to-day. You will want to make a few changes if the meter regularly detects volumes above 85 dB.

Wear hearing protection

Needless to say, the single most beneficial thing you can do to protect your ears is simple: using ear protection of some kind. A lot of musicians are worried that hearing protection will muffle the sound and effects its overall sound quality. But depending on what kind of hearing protection you use, that may not always be true.

  • Ear plugs made primarily for musicians: Most people are likely familiar with disposable ear plugs. They’re pretty good at blocking a lot of sound although they sometimes don’t fit very well. They’re inexpensive, easy to find, and easy to throw away. And they aren’t ideal for musicians. But earplugs just for musicians are also available at a slightly higher cost. A special material and modern engineering are utilized to help these earplugs fit comfortably in the ear and minimize external noise by about 20% while maintaining the audio clarity. This option 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 misplace them).
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs function in basically the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block the majority of the sound. But the earplug itself will pipe in the sound you hear. For individuals who work in very noisy settings and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are ideal.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a major part of modern music. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is placed inside of your ear and passes 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 world (thanks to a rather tight fit and special design). This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. In-ear monitors are beneficial for those who work primarily with electronically amplified instruments.

Protect your hearing, and protect your career

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 safeguard their hearing and future with hearing protection solutions for every budget. Don’t forget that you’re investing in your career by using hearing protection for musicians. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy creating music for as long as you want to.

Don’t really know where to start? Contact 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.