Do you crank the volume up when your favorite song comes on the radio? You aren’t on your own. When you pump up the music, you can feel it in your gut. And it’s something you can truly take pleasure in. But there’s one thing you should recognize: it can also result in some significant damage.
The connection between hearing loss and music is closer than we previously thought. Volume is the biggest problem(this is in regards to how many times daily you listen and how excessive the volume is). And many musicians are rethinking how they approach dealing with the volume of their music.
Hearing Loss And Musicians
It’s a rather well-known irony that, when he got older, classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven was hard of hearing. He was only able to hear his compositions internally. On one occasion he even needed to be turned around so he could see the thunderous applause from his audience because he couldn’t hear it.
Beethoven is definitely not the only instance of hearing issues in musicians. In more recent times lots of musicians who are well known for playing at extremely loud volumes are coming forth with their stories of hearing loss.
From Neil Diamond to Eric Clapton to will.i.am, the stories all sound remarkably similar. Musicians spend a huge amount of time dealing with crowd noise and loud speakers. The trauma that the ears experience on a daily basis eventually leads to significant damage: tinnitus and hearing loss.
Not a Musician? Still a Problem
You might think that because you aren’t personally a rock star or a musician, this may not apply to you. You don’t have millions of cheering fans screaming at you (usually). And you’re not standing near a wall of amplifiers.
But your favorite playlist and a set of earbuds are things you do have. And there’s the problem. It’s become effortless for every single one of us to experience music like rock stars do, way too loud.
This one little thing can now become a serious problem.
So How Can You Safeguard Your Hearing While Listening to Music?
So, first we need to admit there’s a problem (that’s kind of always the first step, but it’s particularly true in this case). Raising awareness will help some people (especially younger, more impressionable people) figure out that they’re putting their hearing in jeopardy. But there are other (further) steps you can take too:
- Download a volume-monitoring app: You might not recognize just how loud a rock concert or music venue is. It can be useful to get one of a few free apps that will provide you with a volume measurement of the space you’re in. In this way, when harmful levels are reached you will be aware of it.
- Control your volume: If you exceed a safe volume your smartphone might alert you. If you care about your long-term hearing, you should adhere to these warnings.
- Use ear protection: Use earplugs when you attend a concert or any other live music show. They won’t really diminish your experience. But your ears will be safeguarded from additional damage. (And don’t think that using hearing protection will make you uncool because it’s what the majority of your favorite musicians are doing.).
It’s pretty straight forward math: the more often you put your ears at risk, the more significant your hearing loss later in life could be. Eric Clapton, for example, has entirely lost his hearing. He probably wishes he begun wearing earplugs a little bit sooner.
The best way to minimize your damage, then, is to reduce your exposure. That can be tricky for individuals who work at a concert venue. Part of the strategy is wearing hearing protection.
But we all would be a little better off if we simply turned down the volume to practical levels.