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How To Prevent Hearing Loss For Musicians

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How To Prevent Hearing Loss With The : 60 Rule

Why Your Favorite Musicians Are Going Deaf! | What is Tinnitus? | How to Avoid Hearing Loss!

Whether youre in the car or listening to music on your phone through headphones, you should never listen to it above 60% of the maximum volume for over 60 minutes a day. Since youre probably not going to time how long you listen to music at whatever volume, make it a habit to simple dial the volume down below 60%. In addition, listening to music too loudly can distort the sound and detract from the intonation and melodies the artist originally intended you to hear.

How To Treat Noise

Some degree of noise-induced hearing loss in some professions may be inevitable. As a result, its natural to ask, can hearing loss be reversed? Unfortunately, in most cases, the answer is no. There are options like sound therapy that can help to some degree.

As weve mentioned, however, its usually sensorineural hearing loss. That involves the death of nerve and hair cells, neither of which can be replaced naturally. In most cases, the best option is relying on hearing protection.

Additionally, permanent hearing loss does have some treatment options. Hearing aids are common and becoming more advanced. Options like MDHearingAids Volt+ use digital noise-canceling technology, for example.

Reluctance is natural. However, treatment can make a real difference. We discussed some of the consequences of hearing loss, including decreased mood and disability.

However, using an aid, cochlear implant, or similar device can help reverse those effects a great deal. Using them helps reconnect you with others and retain hearing health .

Adding Sound Barriers Or Relocating Equipment

Heavy equipment or machinery is one of the main culprits for noise overexposure. In order to combat this, this equipment should be located as far as possible from the main worksite/workers. Doubling the distance between workers and machinery can reduce their noise exposure . If in an enclosed space, sound barriers should be used when possible and equipment should not be located around surfaces that will reflect or amplify the noise. Something as simple as plywood barriers can reduce the noise . Equipment designed to work quieter should also be purchased when available.

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Musicians’ Hearing Loss And Prevention

Musicians of all instruments and genres can experience hearing loss. Part of being a musician is being exposed to high decibel ranges and loud music. This can take a toll on one’s ability to hear. Sometimes musician hearing loss is called occupational hearing loss and can affect an individual’s ability to write, record, listen to, and play music.

Musician hearing problems can range from a ringing in the ears to pitch-perception problems. To prevent hearing loss, musicians should reduce the amount of loud music they listen to. They should also seek custom-fitted musicians’ earplugs, which are non-electrical earplugs fitted with custom fillers to make specific sounds in the music spectrum softer and more gentle on the ears. While ordinary earplugs can cut off high-frequency sounds and make music sound muffled and dull, these custom-fitted musicians’ earplugs protect the ears and reduce volume without distorting sound.

In-ear monitors can also assist musicians with preventing hearing loss. An in-ear monitor can vary in quality, fit, and length, but they usually provide between 25 and 35 dB of noise reduction. Both in-ear monitor’s and custom musicians’ ear plugs can be fitted at a professional hearing center. You can also visit a hearing care facility to receive an evaluation of your hearing.

How To Protect Your Ears

How to Prevent Hearing Loss

Here are some tips to protect your ears and prevent hearing loss:

1. Get informedLearn about the levels of noise and repercussions of long exposure to these levels especially the sound coming from the instrument you play.

2. Use a decibel meter

Using a decibel meter is a great way to see if your surrounding noise levels are safe. The Soundbrenner Core comes with a built-in dB meter that accurately measures the decibel levels of your environment, so you can check whether you need to protect your ears.

This feature checks your surroundings 24/7 to ensure that you arent exposing yourself to harmful sounds. The Core will alert you when you may be at risk for hearing damage. This tool is indispensable for musicians, who are constantly bombarded with sounds throughout the day.

3. Wear earplugsThere are many forms of hearing protection available in the market, ranging from in-ear monitors that double as stage monitors, over-ear headphones for drummers that are designed to block out harsh high-end frequencies from cymbals.

4. Dont stand directly in front of speakers

Avoid having your amp, PA or stage monitors pointed directly at you. Instead, try standing behind the source of the sound. Use the decibel meter on the Soundbrenner Core to find the quietest spot away from the amp. This will allow you to play at the same volume without being exposed to as loud of a noise level.

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Preventing The Problem From Getting Worse

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To people in the music industry: Your exposure to loud sound is much greater than average, and if you arent protecting your hearing, you need to start now.

At a bare minimum, you should wear disposable earplugs, though its worthwhile to invest in either a set of custom musicians earplugs or custom in-ear monitors.

Get Your Hearing Tested

Get a hearing test as soon as possible if you’re worried you might be losing your hearing. The earlier hearing loss is picked up, the earlier something can be done about it.

You might also want to consider having regular hearing checks if you’re at a higher risk of noise-induced hearing loss, for example, if you’re a musician or work in noisy environments.

Page last reviewed: 18 January 2021 Next review due: 18 January 2024

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Preventing Hearing Loss With Musicians Earplugs

While the factors discussed above play a role in hearing loss, they affect us all differently. Some people may have constant loud sound exposure for years and suffer no ill effects, and others have long-term damage after just one event. Yet there is no debate that repeated exposure over time is destructive, and as such, every effort to mitigate this should be a priority for every musician. The good news is that even in the presence of damage, progression can be prevented by taking some immediate steps.

Hearing Aids And Music

How To Prevent Hearing Loss

A 2016 report from British hearing researcher Brian Moore, Ph.D., entitled Effects of Sound-Induced Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids on the Perception of Music, implies that while modern hearing aids can help to some extent, there is much that needs to be learned to improve their musical effectiveness. Everyones hearing is different, of course, and some will get more benefit from hearing aids than others. But there are some problems that no technology has yet been able to correct.

Hearing aid technology that improves speech understanding and loudness perception does not work so well when it comes to music. For instance, low frequency sounds are not amplified at the same level as high frequency sounds, so a tuba or cello sounds soft and tinny and lacks the impact it should have. Music also gets distorted when heard through hearing aids designed to improve understanding speech in noise.

Many hearing aids provide specific presets for live music listening, but Moores research confirms my own experience that they are often not that helpful. And when streaming recorded music into a hearing aid via Bluetooth, the sound, to me at least, resembles an old transistor radio rather than a high-fidelity system.

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Waiters Servers And Hearing Loss

A restaurant is a place where people come together to share a meal and catch up on conversation. It is not surprising then that restaurants are exceedingly noisy spaces. In the Los Angeles Times, a reporter moved through several restaurants with a noise meter and claims that rooms registered between 87 dB and 90.3 dB. These are levels associated with hearing loss, and people who work in these environments may be exposed to these levels throughout their entire shift.

Restaurants weren’t always so noisy. As an author writing for Vox points out, restaurants became much louder in the 1990s when a New York chef began pumping very loud music into the dining room to create a sense of excitement and bustle for customers.

It was a trend that caught on, and now, it seems unusual to walk into a dining establishment that is quiet.

But customers may not appreciate the din, and that gives the staff the opportunity to open up a conversation about noise. Perhaps a trial night of lower volumes could help to inspire owners to turn down the sound dial a bit. If that doesn’t work, staffers can consult with their union representatives and ask about noise protections.

What Can Go Wrong

Being such a complex system, however, there are many opportunities for things to misfire. Problems can be broadly divided into short-term and long-term issues. More acute deficits can result from ear canal obstruction or foreign bodies . The middle ear can be affected by infection or allergies, which produce a buildup of fluid and/or pressure that alters the frequencies reaching the cochlea.

Longer-term hearing issues are typically less easy to correct. Some examples include eardrum damage , ossicle wear , inner ear hair cell damage , medications, tumors, smoking, and even chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Neurons from the cochlea to the brain can be disrupted by stroke or head/brain trauma and affect hearing, as well. Moreover, there is inevitable age-related degeneration, called presbycusis, which typically begins in a persons 50s, but may even start developing in the late teens to early 20s according to some studies. Presbycusis affects high-frequency sounds the most, at least initially, and affects about one in three people by age 65.

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Classrooms Daycare Centers And Hearing Loss

What is the best way to ensure that someone hears what you have to say? Small children often answer this question with volume. The louder they speak, the more likely it might be that others will pay attention to the message they are trying to convey. Put several children in a room, such as a daycare center or classroom, and noise levels can rise rapidly.

In a study published in the journal HNO, researchers found that noise levels in nursery schools can average 80 dB, and they can reach peak levels of 112.55 dB. This is a level of noise that puts the hearing of both students and teachers at risk.

Children enter these environments to learn, and teachers can teach lessons about volume control and hearing loss. Those lessons could help children to protect their own hearing, and it could help teachers to create a safer environment in which to spend the day.

  • Using carpets, rugs, curtains, and wall hangings to muffle sound.
  • Keeping windows and doors closed when possible.
  • Placing soft tips on chair and table bottoms.
  • Placing tables at an angle rather than in rows.

Farmers Gardeners And Hearing Loss

Preventing Noise

On the surface, people who garden or farm do not have very much in common with people who perform in rock concerts. In reality, both of these groups of people are exposed to hazardous sounds at work, and both could develop profound hearing loss.

Musicians have added protection, as they may be represented by unions or employers who are required to protect the hearing of their employees. Farmers are different. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 97 percent of the farms in operation in the United States are family owned. That means farmers must take individual precautions to protect hearing. They may have many dangers to protect against.

In a brochure produced by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, these elements of a farm could reach levels above 85 dB:

  • Grain dryers
  • Chain saws
  • Circular saws

Farmers may be exposed to these triggers for hours each day, and in time, they may develop subtle signs of hearing loss, such as ringing in the ears. These early warning signs should prompt you to invest in hearing protection that you wear all day, every day. You can also invest in newer equipment that does not produce such loud sounds.

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Schedule A Hearing Exam At North Shore Hearing Pc

Undoubtedly, the best way to prevent hearing loss is to catch it early. Undetected hearing loss can progress, worsen, and lead to a variety of other complications. Regardless of your degree of hearing loss, the experts at North Shore Hearing can help.

We offer a wide range of hearing services designed to help you hear and experience the world more clearly.

Contact North Shore Hearing P.C. today to schedule a free hearing exam.

The Torment Of Tinnitus

Musicians are 57 percent more likely to experience tinnitus, a condition that causes you to hear sounds that have no external source. These noises are most often described as ringing, buzzing, humming, hissing, or other irritating sound that becomes more noticeable in externally quiet conditions. While audiology has yet to uncover the exact mechanism behind tinnitus, one of the most common triggers is noise damage either caused by a single concussive sound or cumulative exposure .

For some, tinnitus is merely an annoyance that can be ignored most of the time. But for others, it can be constant and cause overwhelming psychological distress. Tinnitus alone does not cause you to lose your hearing. However, it is often an indicator of hearing sensory organ deterioration and future hearing loss, even if an initial diagnosis doesnt reveal any hearing impairment yet. Some prominent musicians known to have tinnitus include Neil Young, Pete Townshend, and Jeff Beck.

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How Does Noise Damage Hearing

The inner ear is largely composed of vibration-sensing hair cells. Those cells connect to the auditory or hearing nerve, which transmits the electrical signals the hair cells produce. These cells are quite delicate, such that a one-time exposure to loud noises can damage them, leading to temporary hearing loss.

The cells can cease to function entirely with repeated exposure or excessive noise exposure. At that point, hearing loss is permanent. A single, loud noise exposure can also cause permanent loss if the sound energy is great enough.

How To Communicate With Someone Who Has Hearing Loss


Hearing aids help to amplify sounds, and they can be good tools for those who have hearing loss. For some people, the right hearing aid can open up worlds of experience they thought they had lost for good.

People with hearing loss also appreciate sensitivity and adjustments from those around them. If you are living or working with someone who has hearing loss, these tips from the Hearing Loss Association of America may be helpful.

  • Ask how you can make yourself easier to hear. Would turning off a fan or a radio help?
  • Keep your face in the light in case the person needs to read your lips.
  • Don’t cover your mouth with your hands, and don’t chew anything while you’re talking.
  • Speak clearly, but resist the urge to shout.
  • If you are struggling to make a specific word understood, look for a way to rephrase the sentence using different words.

Above all, be patient. It can be frustrating for both sides when communication is difficult. Approaching the issue with compassion can help to keep the spirit of cooperation alive.

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Dont Stand By Speakers

While you may not be able to escape the booming stadium speakers at large concert venues, at smaller shows you can strategically position yourself to avoid the loudest spots in the room. If youre at a local concert and the music is too loud, simply moving a couple rows back can help prevent post-concert tinnitus and hearing loss.

Keep in mind, louder does not always mean better. Standing halfway between two speakers will provide superior sound quality than being uncomfortably close to just one.

Hear The Music: A Guide To Hearing Loss Prevention

The ear is an amazing organ that causes one to suspect that evolution had music and musicians in mind, writes Dr. Marshall Chasin in his book Hear the Music: Hearing Loss Prevention for Musicians. The two most common causes of inner ear hearing loss are noise/music exposure and hearing loss associated with aging. While being 75 years old is not preventable, Chasins book offers musicians tips to reduce their exposure to loud music.

Specialized EarplugsWhen musicians talk of traditional earplugs they often have two complaints: the occlusion effectthe echoey and hollow sound that occurs when sound becomes trapped in the ear canal, and secondly, muffled music with no high-end. Fortunately, with new technology found in modern earplugs these problems have been solved.

Among modern hearing protection devices are amplifier earplugs that put back higher frequencies, such that the net effect at the eardrum is flat or equal attenuation for all frequencies. One example is the ER-15 from Etymotic Research. The 15 stands for approximately 15 decibels of attenuation over a wide range of frequencies. In other words it makes the sounds equally quieter by about 15 dB. Similarly the ER-25 provides approximately 25 decibels of uniform attenuation. For simplicity, these two models will be used to indicate amplifier ear plugs throughout this article.

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