Should Musicians Use Ear Protection?

Close up of drummer's hands playing a drum kit. Drums are very loud, the player should be wearing hearing protection.

Musicians rock. They bring so much pleasure to our lives with their songs. The downside 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 greater risk of being harmed.

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

Sometimes it can be surprising how loud music can be

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

Is music really that loud? If you ask someone whether an acoustic guitar or a lone violin is loud, they may not answer so quickly. Imagine their surprise when they discover the reality: that music is certainly loud! Even classical music can get to relatively high volumes that can easily harm your hearing.

Sounds louder than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for instance. A leaf blower is around this noisy. To put that into context, the European Union regulations dictate that any work environment noisier than 85 dB requires the use of ear protection.

And your hearing can be seriously damaged over time if you’re working with music every day, particularly if you don’t wear hearing protection.

How can you safeguard your hearing?

Okay, musicians who want to keep their hearing for years to come need to safeguard their hearing. So what can musicians do to protect their ears and still take pleasure in the music they love so much?

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

  • Take breaks: Your ears are like any other part of your body: they can become exhausted and will frequently benefit from a break. So give yourself “hearing breaks” regularly. This will help stop your ears from getting overwhelmed with noise (and damage). Duration is nearly as relevant as volume when it comes to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!
  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So it follows that you should always be aware of what levels of sound you’re subjecting your ears to. Sometimes, this is as simple as monitoring your volume settings on amps and receivers. But you can also monitor day-to-day volume levels of external noises using a volume meter app that you can download on your cellphone. If the meter reads above 85dB regularly, you’ll have to address this.

Wear hearing protection

Needless to say, the single most effective thing you can do to safeguard your hearing is easy: wearing ear protection of some kind. Lots of musicians are concerned that hearing protection will muffle the sound and impact its overall sound quality. But depending on what kind of hearing protection you use, that might not always be accurate.

  • Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s most likely very familiar to most individuals. They don’t always fit perfectly, but they do reliably block a lot of sound. They’re cheap, easy to get, and easy to dispose of. For musicians, they aren’t the best solution. However, by spending just a little more money, you can purchase high-quality earplugs made specifically for musicians. These earplugs use fancy manufacturing tricks (mostly they’re made out of very specific materials and are designed to fit comfortably in the ear) to maintain audio fidelity while decreasing the noise you experience by something like 20dB. For musicians who require a moderate amount 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. The earplug itself will block out the majority of the sound. What you hear will instead be routed in by the earplug itself. This solution is perfect for people who work in particularly loud settings, and who want more options in terms of volume control.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a significant part of modern music. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and sends them directly to a device placed inside of your ear (called an in-ear monitor). It’s like a specialized little speaker for your ear, and most monitors can block out sound from the outside environment (thanks to a rather tight fit and specialized design). This means you can hear exactly how you sound, at a volume you control. For musicians who electronically amplify their instruments these in-ear-monitors are the ideal solution.

Safeguard your career by protecting your ears

It’s never too late to take steps to protect your ears, but it’s definitely a good idea to begin sooner rather than later. Everyone can protect their hearing and future with hearing protection solutions at all price points. Remember, hearing protection for a musician is an investment in your career. It’s one way to be certain you’ll be making incredible music for years (maybe even decades) to come!

Contact us 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.