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 rock. Their shows bring us so much happiness. But music is so much more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing hazard. The musicians themselves are at an even greater risk of hearing damage since they are exposed to loud music just about every day.

Whether your income 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. Ear protection is also key to a lifetime of musical fulfillment for everyone.

Sometimes it can be surprising how loud music can get

If you ask the majority of individuals whether a jet engine is loud, they’ll likely say yes.

Is music really that loud? If you ask somebody whether an acoustic guitar or a lone violin is loud, they might not reply right away. Usually, when they hear the answer, they’re pretty surprised: that music is indeed loud! Even classical music can get to fairly loud volumes that can easily harm your hearing.

Sounds louder than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for example. That’s about as loud as a leaf blower. In Europe, for example, they have regulations that require hearing protection for anyone who works in a work environment where there is noise above 85 dB.

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

Can you protect your ears from noise damage?

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

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Take breaks: Much like any part of your body, your ears can become fatigued and might need a little break. So take regular breaks from the noise. This will help stop your ears from becoming overwhelmed with sound (and damage). With regard to hearing, how long you’re exposed is nearly as important as how loud it is. Taking breaks can be the difference between just enough stimulation and too much!
  • Track your volume: Knowledge is power, right? So being aware of volume levels of noises around you will help you protect your hearing. Monitoring the volume on amps and PA systems is part of it. But you can also buy a volume meter app for your smartphone to make it convenient to track the real-world volume levels your ears are experiencing from day-to-day. You will want to make some changes if the meter consistently detects volumes above 85 dB.

Use ear protection

Of course, the single most beneficial thing you can do to safeguard your hearing is easy: wearing ear protection of some kind. Many musicians are hesitant to use ear protection because they’re worried it will effect the quality of sound they hear, as well as dampening the volume. But depending on what kind of hearing protection you use, that may not always be accurate.

  • Ear plugs made specifically for musicians: Disposable earplugs are something that’s probably very well known to most individuals. They’re fairly good at stopping a lot of sound although they sometimes don’t fit comfortably. They’re cheap, easy to come by, and easy to throw away. And they aren’t ideal for musicians. But earplugs made just for musicians are also available for a little more money. A special material and state-of-the-art engineering are used to help these earplugs fit snuggly in the ear and decrease external noise by around 20% while maintaining the audio fidelity. This option is perfect for musicians who require a light to moderate level of protection (and who don’t have a lot of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to lose them).
  • Electronic earplugs: The same basic functionality found in non-electronic earplugs can also be found in electronic earplugs. The majority of the sound will be blocked by the earplug itself. But the earplug itself will send in the sound you hear. This option is perfect for individuals who work in particularly loud settings, and who want more options in terms of controlling volume.
  • In-ear monitors: The majority of music is electronic now, or at least amplified by electronics. A device, known as an in-ear-monitor, is put in your ear and transmits signals in electronically. The majority of monitors are small speakers that fit snugly and block out the majority of sound while playing sounds you want to hear at less harmful volumes. So you regulate the volume level and are able to hear sound in an accurate and clear way. In-ear monitors are practical for individuals who work primarily with electronically amplified instruments.

Protect your career by protecting your ears

It’s never too late to take steps to protect your hearing, but it’s definitely a good plan to begin sooner rather than later. With options available at nearly every price point, there are easy ways for everyone to protect their hearing and their future. Don’t forget that you’re investing in your career by utilizing 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 begin? Give us a call today, we can help!

The content of this blog is the intellectual property of and is reprinted here with permission. The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive a hearing aid consultation, call today to schedule an appointment.