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 songs bring us so much enjoyment. But music is a lot more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing hazard. Since musicians subject themselves to loud music frequently, their hearing is at greater risk of being damaged.

As you grow older, you’ll still want to be able to enjoy your favorite songs whether you’re a musician or not. For musicians, protecting their hearing is the key to a long and successful career. For the rest of us, hearing protection is the key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment and enrichment.

Music is surprisingly loud

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

Is music actually that loud? People may 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 can also be very loud music! Even classical music can reach relatively high volumes that can easily harm your hearing.

Sounds higher than 90 dB can be produced by a violin, for example. That’s around as noisy as a leaf blower. In Europe, for example, they have laws that require ear protection for anyone 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 kind of volume, especially without hearing protection, can seriously damage 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 continue rocking out for years to come). So what can musicians do to protect their hearing and still enjoy the music they love so much?

Well, here are a couple of simple things musicians can do:

  • Track your volume: Everyone remembers the old saying “knowledge is power”. So being aware of volume levels of noises around you will help you safeguard your hearing. Sometimes, this is as simple as tracking your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also purchase a volume meter app for your cellphone to make it convenient to track the real-world volume levels your ears are experiencing from day-to-day. You will need to make some changes if the meter regularly detects volumes above 85 dB.
  • Take breaks: Your ears are like any other part of your body: they can become exhausted and will frequently benefit from rest. So take frequent breaks from the noise. In this way, noises won’t overwhelm and damage your ears. With regard to hearing, how long you’re exposed is almost as important as how loud it is. The difference between the perfect amount of stimulation and too much can depend upon taking regular breaks.

Use ear protection

Of course, the single most effective thing you can do to protect your ears is simple: using hearing protection of some kind. A lot of musicians are concerned that hearing protection will muffle the sound and impact 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: Disposable earplugs are something that’s probably very familiar to most individuals. They’re pretty good at stopping a lot of sound though they sometimes don’t fit comfortably. They’re cheap, easy to find, and easy to throw away. And they aren’t ideal for musicians. But earplugs made just for musicians are also available at a slightly higher cost. These earplugs use modern manufacturing tricks (mostly they’re made out of very specific materials and are designed to conform nicely to the ear) to maintain audio clarity while diminishing the noise you experience by something like 20dB. For musicians who require a moderate amount of protection on a budget, this solution is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs work in essentially the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block out most of the sound. But the earplug itself will send in the sound you hear. This option is perfect for people who work in particularly noisy environments, and who are looking for more options in terms of volume control.
  • In-ear monitors: The majority of music is electronic nowadays, or at least amplified by electronics. A device, called an in-ear-monitor, is put inside of your ear and transmits 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 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 perfect answer.

Safeguard your career by protecting your ears

It’s better to start protecting your hearing early, before any substantial damage occurs. Everybody can safeguard their hearing and future with hearing protection solutions at all price points. Remember, ear protection for a musician is an investment in your career. It’s one way to ensure you’ll be making incredible music for many 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.


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