Your hearing is your most valuable instrument if you are a professional musician. So you’d think musicians would be quite protective of their ears. But overall, that’s not the case. Instead, there’s a pervasive culture of fatalism when it comes to hearing in the industry. They think loss of hearing is just “part of the job”.
That attitude, however, is starting to be challenged by some new legal legislations and concerted public safety efforts. Injury to the ears, injury that inescapably results in loss of hearing, should never be “part of the job”. That’s especially true when there are proven methods and means to safeguard your ears without hampering your performance.
When You Are in a Noisy Surrounding, Protect Your Ears
Of course, musicians aren’t the only individuals who are subjected to a loud workplace setting. Nor are they the only group of workers who have formulated a fatalistic approach to the damage as a consequence of loud noise. But basic levels of hearing protection have been more rapidly embraced by other professions such as manufacturing and construction.
most likely this is because of a couple of things:
- In countless artistic industries, there’s a feeling that you should feel lucky just to have an opportunity, that no matter how roughly you’re treated, there’s someone else who would be willing to be in your position. So many musicians just quietly cope with poor hearing protection.
- Even if a musician is performing the same music night after night, they need to be able to hear very well. If it seems like it might impede the ability to hear, there can be some resistance to wearing hearing protection. This resistance is commonly based on false information, it should be mentioned.
- The saying goes “hard hat required”. That’s because the manufacturing and construction environments have many hazards. So donning protective equipment is something site foremen, construction workers, and managers are more likely to be accustomed to doing.
Unfortunately, this mindset that “it’s just part of the job” has an impact on more than just musicians. Others who work in the music industry, from roadies to bartenders, are implicitly expected to buy into what is ultimately a very harmful mentality.
Thankfully, that’s transforming for two big reasons. The first is a landmark legal ruling against the Royal Opera House in London. During a certain concert, a viola player was seated right in front of the brass section and exposed to over 130dB of sound. That’s about the sound equivalent of a full-blown jet engine!
Hearing protection needs to always be available when someone is going to be subjected to that much noise. But the viola player suffered with long periods of tinnitus and general loss of hearing because she wasn’t given hearing protection.
When the courts found The Royal Opera House at fault and ruled in favor of the viola player, it was a clear message that the music industry would have to take hearing protection regulations seriously, and that the music industry should commit to hearing protection for every employee and contractor and should stop considering itself a special case.
Loss of Hearing Shouldn’t be a Musician’s Fate
The number of individuals in the music business who are afflicted by tinnitus is staggeringly high. And that’s the reason why there’s a campaign to boost awareness worldwide.
Everyone from rock star and their roadies to wedding Dj’s to classical musicians are in danger of experiencing “acoustic shock,” a response to very loud noises which includes the onset of hearing loss, tinnitus, and hyperacusis. The more acoustic shock that someone experiences, the higher the probability that damage will become irreparable.
You can be protected without compromising musical capabilities by using earplugs that are specially created for musicians or other cutting-edge hearing protection devices. Your hearing will be protected without reducing the quality of sound.
Changing The Music Attitude
You can take advantage of the ideal hearing protection right now. Changing the mindset in the music business, at this point, is the key to protecting the hearing of musicians. This endeavor, though it’s a difficult one, is one that’s already demonstrating success (the judgment against the Royal Opera House has certainly created some urgency for the industry to get in line).
In the industry, tinnitus is extremely common. But it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t matter what your job is, loss of hearing shouldn’t ever be “just part of the job”.
Do you play music professionally? If you don’t want your performance to be impacted, ask us how to protect your ears.