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. Their shows bring us so much enjoyment. The drawback is that music is nearly always loud, in fact, many people prefer it that way. The musicians themselves are at an even greater danger of hearing damage since they are subjected to loud music nearly every day.

Whether your living depends on music or not, you’ll still want to be able to hear your favorite songs when you’re pushing 60, 70, or 80. For musicians, preserving their hearing is the key to an extended and successful career. Hearing protection is also key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment for everybody.

Oftentimes it can be surprising how loud music can get

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

Is music actually that loud? If you ask someone whether an acoustic guitar or a lone violin is loud, they may not reply right away. Usually, when they hear the answer, they’re pretty surprised: that music is certainly loud! Even classical music can reach relatively loud volumes that can easily damage your hearing.

Sounds louder than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for instance. That’s about as loud as a leaf blower. To put that into context, the European Union laws stipulate that any workplace louder than 85 dB calls for the use of ear protection.

And if you’re working with music day in and day out, continuous exposure to that kind of volume, especially without hearing protection, can seriously harm your hearing over time.

How can you safeguard your hearing?

Okay, now you recognize that musicians need to protect their hearing (particularly if they want to continue rocking out for years to come). So what can musicians do to safeguard their ears and still take pleasure in the music they enjoy so much?

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So being aware of volume levels of sounds around you will help you safeguard your hearing. Tracking the volume on amps and PA systems is one factor. But you can also monitor day-to-day volume levels of environmental noises using a decibel meter app that you can download on your cellphone. If the meter detects volumes above 85dB regularly, you’ll need to do something about this.
  • Take breaks: Your ears are like any other part of your body: they can be overworked and will often benefit from rest. So take frequent breaks from the noise. By doing this, noises won’t overwhelm and damage your ears. Duration is nearly as important as volume when it comes to hearing health. Taking breaks can be the difference between just the right amount of stimulation and too much!

Ear protection is important

Using ear protection is the number one most effective way to protect your hearing. Lots 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 ear protection you use.

  • Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Most individuals are probably familiar with disposable ear plugs. They don’t always fit well, but they do reliably stop a lot of sound. They aren’t difficult to get, don’t cost much, and can be thrown away easily. For musicians, they aren’t the best solution. But earplugs made just for musicians are also available for a little more money. A specialized material and modern engineering are used to help these earplugs fit snuggly in the ear and decrease external noise by around 20% while preserving the audio clarity. For musicians who require a moderate amount of protection on a budget, this solution is perfect.
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs function in pretty much the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. Most of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. But the earplug itself will pipe in the sound you hear. This solution is perfect for people who work in particularly noisy settings, and who want more options in terms of controlling volume.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a major part of modern music. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and sends them directly to a device placed in your ear (called an in-ear monitor). It’s like a special little speaker for your ear, and the majority of monitors can block out sound from the outside world (thanks to a fairly tight fit and specialized design). So you regulate the volume level and are able to hear sound in an accurate and clear way. In-ear monitors are practical for those who work primarily with electronically amplified instruments.

Safeguard your hearing, and protect your career

It’s better to begin safeguarding your hearing early, before any significant harm 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. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy making music for as long as you want to.

Don’t quite know where to start? Call us today, we can help!

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.


    Find out how we can help!

    Call or Text Us