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Top 5 tips: Prevent hearing loss for musicians

Team Soundbrenner, in Hide
Jan 18, 2023 | 5 min read

Are you a musician? Then, you really need to be taking the right measures to protect yourself against hearing damage. It should come as no surprise that hearing damage is one of the most common occupational injuries for musicians. 

Research by Dr. Marshall Chasin found that 52% of classical musicians and 30% of rock musicians experience some degree of permanent hearing loss. This number could become less of a statistic and more of a reality if musicians aren’t taking care of their ears.

In this article, we’ll discuss the top 5 tips we’ve gathered to prevent hearing loss for musicians.

1. Watch your sound levels

db meter

It can be hard to tell when something gets too loud, unless your ears start ringing or you feel a physical sting. This is where advanced technology has come to our rescue. 

Make good use of dB meters to assess your surrounding volume levels. An app like NIOSH SLM can help musicians like yourself make informed decisions about your noise environment and make better hearing health and prevention efforts. If you own a Soundbrenner Core, or are looking for an all-in-one device for music practice, take advantage of the dB meter function! You’ll be able to quickly check your sound levels and be notified when it gets too loud.

2. Minimize your exposure to loud sounds

This goes hand in hand with observing your sound levels. Much like how extended exposure to harsh sunlight is known to potentially damage your skin, the same is true for sound and your ears. 

This rule is a little vague and hard to put into practice. You can’t simply stop playing your instrument every time your app tells you to. Instead, take breaks to allow your ears to rest after prolonged exposure to loud sounds. You’ll be more likely to avoid ear strain and that temporary loss of hearing this way.

3. Wear hearing protection

minuendo earplugs

Using our analogy of harsh sunlight and skin damage again, there are plenty of ways to protect ourselves from overexposure. With sunlight, we can use umbrellas, caps, and sunscreen. With sound, the best way to protect our ears is with earplugs. There are thousands of earplugs to choose from based on your preferences, budget level, and ear health. 

Regular foam earplugs are always a good starting point. They’re cost-effective and simply block all sound out. But they aren’t the best if you still want to hear yourself while you’re playing. 

Custom molded earplugs will be a great option if you’re looking for something extremely high-end and effective. They’ll be able to block out sound, while allowing you to let in the sounds you want. However, these can be extremely costly to get made- especially if you want them of the highest quality.

Our top choice of earplugs are adjustable earplugs. The Minuendo earplugs offer adjustable attenuation from 7dB to 25dB so you can easily switch depending on your situation and preferences. For example, you may want to have your right earplug set on a higher level to block out the sound from the drummer on your right. And you may want your left earplug set on a lower level to hear the keyboardist on your left.

Check out our article on the best earplugs for musicians for more recommendations.

4. Remain aware (and spread awareness too)

One of the main reasons why many musicians experience hearing damage is because they simply aren’t fully aware of how intensely loud sounds can affect you. Many musicians also prefer not to have earplugs on as they believe it may interfere with the tone and emotion of their playing. Which could be true to an extent. However, hearing protection like adjustable earplugs, and simply monitoring your sound levels are simple steps one can take to ensure they don’t face permanent hearing loss in the future. 

5. Visit an audiologist

If this is an accessible option for you, we highly recommend visiting an audiologist. Speaking to and getting checked by a medical professional will undoubtedly help you figure out the best ways to prevent hearing loss as a musician. Any advice you get from an audiologist could also alter your perception on hearing protection as well.

Thanks for reading our article on the top 5 tips to prevent hearing loss for musicians! Soundbrenner is a company dedicated to helping musicians stay focused on what truly matters: their music. By creating innovative devices, such as Soundbrenner Pulse and Core, our goal is to deliver the best possible practice experience for musicians. Click here to find out more.

Got a question about Soundbrenner wearables? Reach out to us at [email protected], we’re happy to help!

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