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. Their performances bring us so much enjoyment. But music is so much more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing risk. The musicians themselves are at an even greater danger of hearing damage since they are subjected to loud music nearly every day.

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

Music is surprisingly loud

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

But what about music? People may not be so fast 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 loud music! Even classical music can get to fairly high volumes that can easily harm your hearing.

Sounds higher than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for example. A leaf blower is around this loud. In Europe, for example, they have laws that require hearing protection for anybody who works in a setting 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 hearing protection.

Can you protect your ears from noise damage?

Okay, now you’re aware that musicians need to protect their hearing (particularly if they want to go on rocking out for many years). So how can musicians keep enjoying their music while also preserving their hearing?

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

  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it follows that you should always be aware of what volume of sound you’re exposing your ears to. Tracking the volume on amps and PA systems is one factor. But you can also buy a volume meter app for your smartphone to make it convenient to track the real-world volume levels your ears are experiencing day in and day out. You will want to make some changes if the meter consistently detects volumes louder than 85 dB.
  • Take breaks: Much like any part of your body, your ears can become tired and may need to get a little rest. So give yourself “hearing breaks” frequently. By doing this, noises won’t overpower and damage your ears. With regard to hearing, how long you’re exposed is nearly as important as how loud it is. Taking breaks can be the difference between just the right amount of stimulation and too much!

Use hearing protection

Using hearing protection is the number one most effective way to safeguard your hearing. A lot of musicians are concerned that hearing protection will muffle the sound and impact its overall sound quality. But depending on what type of hearing protection you use, that may not always be true.

  • Ear plugs made primarily for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s likely very well known to most individuals. They’re fairly good at stopping a lot of sound though they sometimes don’t fit comfortably. They aren’t hard to get, don’t cost much, and can be disposed of easily. For musicians, they aren’t an ideal solution. However, by spending just a little more money, you can buy high-quality earplugs designed chiefly for musicians. These earplugs use cutting-edge manufacturing methods (mostly they’re made out of very specific materials and are designed to fit comfortably in the ear) to preserve audio clarity while decreasing the noise you hear by about 20dB. For musicians who require a moderate level of protection on a budget, this solution is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs function in basically the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The majority of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. What you hear will instead be routed in by the earplug itself. This solution is perfect for people who work in particularly loud settings, and who are looking for more options in terms of volume control.
  • In-ear monitors: Most music is electronic nowadays, or at least amplified by electronics. A device, called an in-ear-monitor, is put in your ear and sends signals in electronically. It’s like a specialized 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 specialized design). This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. In-ear monitors are practical for those who work mainly with electronically amplified instruments.

Protect your career by protecting your hearing

It’s never too late to take steps to protect your hearing, but it’s definitely a good plan to begin sooner rather than later. Everybody can protect their hearing and future with hearing protection solutions at all price points. Remember that you’re investing in your career by using hearing protection for musicians. It’s one way to make sure you’ll be making incredible music for years (maybe even decades) to come!

Give us a call 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.