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 pleasure to our lives with their performances. The drawback is that music is pretty much always loud, in fact, many people prefer it that way. Since musicians expose themselves to loud music frequently, their hearing is at an increased risk of being harmed.

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

Oftentimes it can be surprising how loud music can get

Most people would say that a jet engine is really loud.

Is music really that loud? People may not be so fast to answer that question if you ask them if a violin or acoustic guitar is loud. Imagine their surprise when they discover the reality: That can also be loud music! Even classical music can reach relatively high volumes that can easily harm your hearing.

A violin, for example, can produce sounds in excess of 90 dB. A leaf blower is about this loud. In Europe, for example, they have regulations 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 compromised over time if you’re working with music every day, especially if you don’t wear hearing protection.

Can you safeguard your ears from noise damage?

Okay, now you know that musicians need to protect their hearing (especially if they want to continue rocking out for years to come). So how can musicians continue to enjoy their music while also protecting their hearing?

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

  • Take breaks: Much like any part of your body, your ears can become exhausted and may need to get a little rest. So give yourself “hearing breaks” regularly. In this way, noises won’t overwhelm and harm your ears. Duration is almost as important as volume with regard to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!
  • Track your volume: Everyone remembers the old saying “knowledge is power”. So it makes sense that you should always know what levels of sound you’re subjecting your ears to. Usually, this is as easy as tracking your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also buy a decibel meter app for your cellphone to make it convenient to track the real-world volume levels your ears are experiencing from day-to-day. If the meter detects volumes above 85dB consistently, you’ll have to do something about this.

Ear protection is important

Using hearing protection is the number one most effective way to protect your hearing. Lots of musicians are concerned that hearing protection will muffle the sound and effects its overall sound quality. But depending on what kind of hearing protection you use, that might not always be true.

  • Ear plugs made primarily for musicians: Most individuals are probably familiar with disposable ear plugs. They don’t always fit well, but they do reliably block a lot of sound. They’re inexpensive, easy to find, and easy to dispose of. And they aren’t ideal for musicians. However, by paying a little more, you can purchase high-quality earplugs designed chiefly for musicians. A specialized material and state-of-the-art engineering are utilized to help these earplugs fit snuggly in the ear and minimize external noise by around 20% while preserving the audio clarity. For musicians who need a moderate amount of protection on a budget, this solution is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: The same basic functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can be found in electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block the majority of the sound. What you hear will instead be routed in by the earplug itself. For people who work in very noisy settings and need better control of the volume, these earplugs are ideal.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a major part of modern music. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and conveys them directly to a device placed inside of your ear (called an in-ear monitor). The majority of monitors are small speakers that fit tightly 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 can hear sound accurately and clearly. In-ear monitors are practical for people who work primarily with electronically amplified instruments.

Safeguard your career by protecting your ears

It’s never too late to take steps to safeguard your ears, but it’s definitely a good plan to begin sooner rather than later. With options available at just about every price point, there are simple ways for everyone to protect their hearing and their future. Remember, hearing protection for a musician is an investment in your career. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy creating 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.