Rock shows are crazy loud, and prolonged exposure to this noise, however enjoyable, can pose a big threat to the ears – particularly when it involves continued unprotected exposure. This can cause some considerable harm, which several current musicians know all too well.

Chris Martin, the lead vocalist for the band Coldplay, has dealt with with Tinnitus for a decade. According to Martin:

“Looking after your ears is unfortunately something you don’t think about until there’s a problem. I’ve had tinnitus for about 10 years, and since I started protecting my ears it hasn’t got any worse (touch wood). But I wish I’d thought about it earlier. Now we always use moulded filter plugs, or in-ear monitors, to try and protect our ears. You CAN use industrial headphones, but that looks strange at a party.”

Other significant musicians that suffer from hearing loss or tinnitus include Neil Young, Ozzy Osbourne, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, Bono, Sting, Ryan Adams, and more, many of which indicate regret that they hadn’t done more to take care of their ears all through their careers. Lars Ulrich from Metallica furthers:

“If you get a scratch on your nose, in a week that’ll be gone. When you scratch your hearing or damage your hearing, it doesn’t come back. I try to point out to younger kids … once your hearing is gone, it’s gone, and there’s no real remedy.”

What Comes with Fame and Fortune?

Hearing loss, many times. Fame, wealth, and screaming fans — these are a couple of the terms and phrases you’d pick in order to summarize the everyday life of a professional musician. however, what you probably wouldn’t take into consideration is “hearing loss” or “tinnitus,” the not-so-pleasant side-effects of all that glory, wealth, and screaming.

The culprit of all that hearing loss is recurring subjection to deafening noise. In the long run, loud noise will irreparably destroy the hair cells of the inner ear, which are the sensory receptors responsible for sending sound to the brain. Like an ample patch of grass worn out from frequent trampling, the hair cells can in a similar fashion be wiped out from repeated overexposure to loud noise – the dissimilarity, of course, being that you can’t grow brand new hair cells.

How musicians, and fans, can protect their ears

Hearing loss starts with recurrent exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels (decibels being a unit used to measure loudness). Look at the decibel levels Associated with common activities:

  • Whisper at 6 feet: 30 decibels (dB)
  • Regular dialogue at 3 feet: 60 – 65 (dB)
  • Motorcycle: 100 dB
  • Front row at a rock show: 120 to 150 dB

The Stats Don’t Lie

The trouble is, when these symptoms are present, the damage has already been done. So, the leading thing a musician can do to deter long-term, permanent hearing loss is to schedule an appointment with an audiologist before symptoms are present.

If you’re a musician, an audiologist can recommend custom made musicians’ plugs or in-ear-monitors that will give protection to your hearing without limiting your musical performance. As a musician, you have unique needs for hearing and hearing protection, and audiologists or hearing specialists are the professionals specifically trained to provide this custom protection.

Considering the unique requirements of musicians — as well as the significance of protecting the details of sound — the best road to take is to schedule an appointment with an audiologist.

  • A ringing or buzzing sound in the ears
  • Any pain or discomfort in the ears
  • Difficulty comprehending speech
  • Trouble following discussions in the presence of background noise

The Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology found that musicians are close to four times more likely to acquire noise-induced hearing loss in contrast with the average person. In addition, professional musicians are about 57% more likely to suffer from tinnitus. This is actually a disorder connected with a repeated ringing in the ears.

If you are feeling any of the above symptoms, your hearing loss has already occurred. You can, however, prevent further damage by taking a proactive stance.