It’s easy to get lost in the beat of a song when performing on stage or listening to tracks like a professional musician. Unfortunately, the nature of a musician’s work means they are at high risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss or tinnitus, both of which can compromise an individual’s ability to create or enjoy music and all its nuances.
What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)?
As the moniker suggests, NIHL develops to individuals who are regularly exposed to loud sounds. Some develop it due to the frequency of the exposure, others due to the proximity of the explosive sounds. In a musician’s case, it often goes both ways. Those who perform at concerts subject their ears to the booming speakers behind them while roaring crowds contribute to the noise at the front.
Others can develop it even in the comfort of their own home when they listen to music with their headphones. Upon closer inspection, the high decibel levels can rupture the inner ear’s sensory nerve endings.
These tiny, fragile hair cells are responsible for sending sound vibrations to the brain, so when they are destroyed due to overexposure to loud sounds, it can result in permanent hearing loss.
What Constitutes a High Decibel Level?
Decibel describes the way you measure sound. A whisper reaches 30 dB, while a typical conversation goes up to 60 dB. Anything going beyond 70 dB for an extended period can be harmful to your eardrums and result in damages, which is why musicians are often at higher risks.
Concerts, for instance, can reach above 120 dB, but it can increase to 150 dB depending on where you are with the proximity of the amp or PA speaker. The damages can already occur in a minute if you’re exposed to 112 dB. That’s why wearing hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs are critical to shield your nerves from the harmful noises.
Ways to Minimize the Damage For Musicians
As a musician, it will be challenging to avoid exposing yourself to loud music. In addition to wearing hearing protection, some ways to minimize the damaging effects of high decibel levels include the following:
- Be sure to take regular breaks and rest your ears in a quiet room between rehearsals.
- Avoid listening to high decibel levels when you can, which means don’t expose yourself to loud noises when you’re not in rehearsals or performances.
- Invest in high-quality earphones to improve its quality without needing to crank up the volume.
- Use hearing protection like foam earplugs or more advanced options when playing in concerts or practice sessions.
- If there is already some form of damage, you can restore some of your hearing by using hearing aids. Not only will it restore parts of your hearing, but it can even relieve tinnitus by producing background noises that are therapeutic to your ears.
The Bottom Line
Musicians are regularly exposed to loud noises as it’s part of their job, but that doesn’t mean you should embrace it until it’s too late. Protecting your ears from high decibel levels is critical if you want to preserve your hearing, which is why understanding its impact should help you minimize the risks that come with your career.
Want to prevent hearing damage? If you’re looking for a hearing clinic in Abbotsford, get in touch with us for a free consultation!