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 are cool! Their shows bring us so much happiness. The drawback is that music is nearly always loud, in fact, many individuals prefer it that way. Since musicians expose themselves to loud music on a daily basis, their hearing is at an increased risk of being damaged.

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

Sometimes it can be surprising how loud music can be

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

But what about music? People might 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 indeed loud! Your ears can even be harmed by classical music which can get to relatively high volumes.

Sounds higher than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for example. That’s around as loud as a leaf blower. In Europe, for example, they have laws that require hearing protection for anyone who works in a work environment where there is noise louder than 85 dB.

And your hearing can be significantly damaged over time if you’re working with music every day, especially if you don’t use hearing protection.

Can you protect your ears from noise damage?

Okay, musicians who want to maintain their hearing for years to come need to safeguard their hearing. So how can musicians continue to enjoy their music while also protecting their hearing?

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

  • Take breaks: Your ears are the same as any other part of your body: they can be overworked and will often benefit from a break. So take regular breaks from the noise. By doing this, noises won’t overpower and damage your ears. Duration is nearly as important as volume when it comes to hearing health. The difference between the ideal amount of stimulation and too much can depend upon taking frequent breaks.
  • Track your volume: Everybody knows 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 keeping track of 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 encountering from day-to-day. You will want to make a few changes if the meter regularly reads above 85 dB.

hearing protection is important

Needless to say, the single most effective thing you can do to safeguard your hearing is simple: wearing hearing protection of some kind. A lot of musicians are worried that ear protection will mute the sound and impact its overall sound quality. That’s not always the case, depending on which kind of hearing protection you use.

  • Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s likely very well known to most individuals. They don’t always fit comfortably, but they do reliably block a lot of sound. They’re not hard to get, don’t cost much, and can be thrown away easily. For musicians, they aren’t the best solution. But earplugs just for musicians are also available for a little more money. These earplugs use fancy 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 reducing the noise you hear by something like 20dB. For musicians who require a moderate level of protection on a budget, this solution is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs function in essentially the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. Most 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 environments, and who are looking for more options when it comes to controlling volume.
  • In-ear monitors: Most music is electronic these days, or at least amplified by electronics. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and conveys them directly to a device placed in your ear (called an in-ear monitor). The majority of monitors are small speakers that fit tightly and block out most sound while playing sounds you want to hear at less harmful volumes. So you control the volume level and can hear sound accurately and clearly. In-ear monitors are beneficial for individuals who work mainly with electronically amplified instruments.

Protect your career by protecting your ears

It’s better to start protecting your hearing early, before any significant damage occurs. Everyone can protect their hearing and future with ear 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 many 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.