Why Do Musicians Need Special Hearing Protection?

saxophone playing music at a beautiful outdoors venue

Musicians are often subjected to loud noises as a result of their profession or hobby. Whether you’re playing in a garage with friends or performing live on stage, there’s a good chance that you’ll be subject to loud noises from your instruments and speakers.

In fact, most entertainment venues can reach a sound level of around 110 decibels (dB). Any sound above 70dBs could potentially cause hearing loss if you are exposed to it for a long time. At 110dBs, it takes just five minutes before you might start experiencing hearing loss. This means that, as a musician, it’s extremely important to find ways to reduce the sound levels around you in order to protect your ears.

However, just turning down the volume isn’t a very good solution. This is why musicians need special hearing protection.

Why Do Musicians Use Hearing Protection?

Musicians typically use hearing protection that is personalized for their ear shape. Hearing protection works by physically blocking sound waves, thus reducing the sound level that hits your ears.

For example, regular earplugs could potentially reduce sound levels by 20dBs. If the sound levels around you have reached 110dBs, then it could reduce the sound that you hear all the way to 90dBs. While immediate exposure to 90dBs won’t cause hearing loss, you can listen to this sound level for around an hour before it damages your hearing. With breaks in between songs and performances, this means you can protect your ears from damage.

In most cases, this hearing protection can be bought from a store and used on most ear shapes. A common form of hearing protection is an expanding foam earplug. These are squeezed so that they can fit inside the musician’s ear canal, then the foam expands to create a tighter seal, thus reducing the sound levels that they are exposed to.

What is Special Hearing Protection for Musicians?

Special hearing protection goes beyond simple earplugs and earmuffs, and it can mean several different things depending on what is used.

For starters, personalized hearing protection can be custom made to fit a musician’s ear canal perfectly. This means they don’t need to use a foam-based earplug which can be uncomfortable because it puts a bit more pressure on their ears. Since these need to be made from a custom mold, it can take a longer to create one and it’s typically more expensive.

Other forms of hearing protection can include in-ear monitors. These not only block out sound, but they can also be used to clearly listen to your instrument, vocals and music tracks while performing. These are a great option for musicians that are performing on stage since they can monitor the sound level coming from their instrument.

So, if you’re a musician, it’s important to consider using special hearing protection for the sake of protecting your ears. Since you’ll be subject to loud noises on a regular basis, it’s important to use hearing protection to stop preventable hearing loss.