Musicians & Hearing Loss

Musicians & Hearing Loss

Do you play music? Many do it because it’s their art, their passion, and their inspiration. Studies show that playing music not only releases the happy brain chemical dopamine, but it helps us connect with emotions while simultaneously stimulating the mathematical factor of music. This makes it very well-rounded for our brain, supporting cognitive health, and filling our life with purpose and passion. 

Of course, for those who are dedicated to their musical passion, you know how many hours you spend working on your craft. It’s not just the performance, but the hours practicing by yourself and then with other band mates. Therefore, many musicians suffer from music-induced hearing loss 

Music Induced Hearing Loss (MIHL) 

MIHL is all too common for those who play and listen to music regularly.
This doesn’t only include musicians but music lovers as well. Whether you DJ, love to dance, love to listen, or work in a music venue, your hearing may be at risk. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) cautioned that 1.1 billion young people (approximately 50%) were at risk of hearing loss due to personal listening devices and loud music venues. The volume of sound is measured in decibels (dBA) and any sound over 85dBA starts to damage hearing. However, it’s not just the level of exposure but the length. At 85 dBA it takes 8 hours of constant exposure for damage to occur but as the decibels rise the level shrinks. At 95 dBA it only takes an hour to begin. However, some nightclubs and music venues play music at levels at high as 120 dBA -loud enough to damage hearing in under 15 minutes! 

Precautions for Music Lovers

while decibel levels might be as loud in work sites like construction zones and around industrial equipment, there are strict government laws in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA), while music lovers rarely take precautions. Research shows that 30 to 50 percent of musicians have hearing issues. This is incredibly debilitating as many rely on the ability to hear the correct note at the right time to perform their job to the highest quality. To better protect their hearing, many musicians wear earplugs that are specially designed for people who play music. The beauty of musicians’ earplugs is that they let a person hear all of the music, but lower the sound level to a less dangerous decibel level. Another tip for protecting ears is to stand away from the source of the sound, especially if it’s coming from a speaker. Sound waves travel in a straight line so angling the speaker away from you can lower the decibel level as well as stand further away from the speaker. In addition, it is also helpful to take breaks to give your ears a rest. This can break up the cumulative damage that constant exposure to sound can impact on your inner ears.

Hearing Protection For Musicians

If you are serious about music, then it’s time to get serious about hearing protection. There are many different styles available today to make it possible to perform and listen to music with all of your heart, while still staying safe. Common hearing protection for musicians includes:

  • Musician earplugs: These earplugs are made for musicians playing a variety of different types of instruments but are also beneficial for concertgoers. Enjoy listening and playing the music you love without the threat of danger to your ears.
  • Electronic earplugs: These electronic earplugs can be programmed to adjust to different pitches and sounds depending on the loudness and environment the musician is in. This adaptive technology allows musicians to hear the sounds they want to prioritize while filtering out damaging levels of noise.
  • In-ear monitors: Anyone who has performed amplified music knows how important it is to hear themselves. Hearing yourself may prevent you from feeling like you need to play louder and putting your hearing at further risk. High-tech in-ear monitors are used by musicians or audio-engineer professionals and deliver sound to the ear while canceling out background and damaging noise levels. 

Treating Hearing Loss

If you are a musician or a music lover, then you depend on your hearing, which means you need to keep your ears safe. If you do have hearing loss, then it’s a good idea to invest in hearing aids. Today’s modern hearing aids offer settings specifically to amplify the nuanced tones of music. Call today to set up a hearing exam and get the most out of the music you love!