Is Ear 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 are cool! They bring so much joy to our lives with their performances. But music is so much 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 harmed.

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, safeguarding their hearing is the key to a long and successful career. For the rest of us, hearing protection is the secret to a lifetime of musical enjoyment and enrichment.

Oftentimes it can be surprising how loud music can be

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

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 music is certainly loud! Even classical music can reach relatively high volumes that can easily damage your hearing.

A violin, for instance, can create sounds in excess of 90 dB. A leaf blower is about this noisy. In Europe, for example, they have laws that require hearing protection for anybody who works in a setting where there is noise louder than 85 dB.

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

How can you protect your hearing?

Okay, now you’re aware that musicians need to protect their hearing (particularly if they want to keep 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:

  • Take breaks: Much like any part of your body, your ears can become fatigued and might need to get a little rest. So take frequent breaks from the noise. This will help prevent your ears from becoming overwhelmed with sound (and damage). With regard to hearing, how long you’re exposed is almost as important as how high the volume is. Taking breaks can be the difference between just the right amount of stimulation and too much!
  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it follows that you should always know what levels of sound you’re exposing your ears to. Keeping track of the volume on amps and PA systems is one factor. But you can also keep track of day-to-day volume levels of environmental noises using a decibel meter app that you can download on your cellphone. You will want to make some changes if the meter consistently detects volumes above 85 dB.

Use hearing protection

Needless to say, the single most effective thing you can do to safeguard your ears is easy: wearing hearing 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 mainly for musicians: Most people are most likely acquainted with disposable ear plugs. They’re fairly good at stopping a lot of sound though they sometimes don’t fit very well. They’re cheap, easy to get, and easy to dispose of. And they aren’t best suited for musicians. However, by spending just a little more money, you can buy high-quality earplugs made chiefly for musicians. A special material and modern engineering are utilized to help these earplugs fit snuggly in the ear and minimize external noise by about 20% while maintaining the audio clarity. For musicians who require a moderate amount of protection on a budget, this option is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: The same general functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can be found in electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block the majority of the sound. But the earplug itself will pipe in the sound you hear. This solution is perfect for people who work in particularly noisy settings, and who are looking for more options in terms of controlling volume.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a significant part of modern music. A device, called an in-ear-monitor, is put inside of your ear and sends signals in electronically. Most monitors are little speakers that fit snugly and block out the majority of sound while playing sounds you want to hear at less harmful volumes. So you control the volume level and are able to hear sound in an accurate and clear way. For musicians who electronically amplify their instruments these in-ear-monitors are the perfect answer.

Protect your hearing, and protect your career

It’s best to start protecting your hearing early, before any substantial harm occurs. With options available at just about every price point, there are easy ways for everybody to protect their hearing and their future. Keep in mind, hearing 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.

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.