education How to Protect Your Ears and Prevent Hearing Loss for Musicians

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How to Prevent Hearing Loss for Musicians

October 4th, 2019

Musician surrounded by loud music
 

As musicians, our most valuable tool is our hearing. Our ears are sensitive, and we often underestimate how easy it is to damage them. Here are some facts that we’ve pulled together and some sound advice on how to avoid hearing loss.

In a cross-sectional study, 125 professional musicians with at least five years of work experience underwent hearing checkup. Almost half of them exhibited hearing loss in at least one ear.

Musicians who deal with loud noises on a daily basis are 4 times more likely to suffer from Tinnitus and permanent hearing damage. Continuous exposure to noise levels of 85dB, equivalent to playing a violin or a busy street, is already considered unsafe. Loud sounds which causes pain to the ear, is usually between 115 and 140 dB, which is equivalent to rock music peak at a concert and an ambulance siren.

 

Here are some common decibel levels of musical noise:

Musical Noise Loudness
normal piano practice 60-70 dB
chamber music in small auditorium 75-85 dB
violin 84-103 dB
cello 82-92 dB
clarinet 92-103 dB
french horn 90-106 dB
trombone 85-114 dB
timpani & bass drum rolls 106 dB
symphonic music peak 120-137 dB
rock music peak 150 dB

 

 

A decibel level of 0db is equivalent to total silence, and is the quietest noise level the human ear is capable of perceiving. 30dB is equivalent to a soft whisper, and 60db a regular conversation. Anything louder than 85dB can cause hearing damage with prolonged exposure, and noises above 120dB can cause immediate damage.

 

Here are decibel levels of some common noise:

Musical Noise Loudness
normal conversation 60-70 dB
Alarm clock, hair dryer 75-85 dB
City traffic 80-85 dB
Blender, home smoke alarm 84-103 dB
Lawn mower 90 dB
Sporting event 105 dB
concert 110 dB
Ambulance siren 120 dB
gunshot 140 dB
firecrackers 150 dB

 

1. Get informed

 
Learn 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 sound meter

 
Using a sound meter is a great way to determine 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 or not you need to protect your hearing.
 

Adjusting noise levels

 
The Volume Alarm feature checks your surroundings 24/7 to ensure that you aren’t 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. Wearing earplugs

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

…designed to filter out excessive bass and treble frequencies while still allowing you to enjoy the music at reasonable volumes.

Concert earplugs, like the ones that ship with the Soundbrenner Core, are designed to filter out excessive bass and treble frequencies while still allowing you to enjoy the music at reasonable volumes. This has the added benefit of making concerts sound better and less distorted, since the earplugs act as a physical EQ to reduce harsh frequencies. On average, you can expect most hearing protection products to block out anywhere from 25 to 32db of background noise.

Both the Soundbrenner Core and Soundbrenner Core Steel include ear plugs.

 

Adjusting noise levels
  

4. Do not 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 (meaning the audience gets to hear you clearly) without being exposed to as loud of a noise level.

Avoid having your amp, PA or stage monitors pointed directly at you.

 

5. Take regular breaks

 
It’s also important to take regular breaks during practice sessions or rehearsals in order to avoid excessive stress on your ears. Use your Soundbrenner Core to set a timer to remind yourself to stop and rest every 1-2 hours.
 
 
 
 

 
Did you find this article helpful? Share it to your bandmates!
Got a question about the Soundbrenner Pulse or Soundbrenner Core? Reach out to us at
[email protected], we’re happy to help!

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