Whether you’re amateur or professional, playing music is arguably one of the greatest jobs on earth.
The word alone conjures images of adoring fans, fame and world travel. What many of us don't consider is the cost of being a musician. One of the biggest challenges they face, though likely unacknowledged, is hearing loss.
Night after night, working musicians are exposed to loud instruments in close proximity for extended periods of time. This amount of noise exposure, if not properly protected against, takes its toll.
According to the NBC article “Turn it up? Musicians Run Far Higher Risk of Hearing Loss,” in comparison to any other profession, musicians are four times more likely to suffer from hearing loss. Additionally, they are 57% more likely to suffer constant ringing in the ears. Since your ears can be your greatest tool, hearing loss and damage has the potential to seriously effect, or even end a career.
Many big names have fallen victim to noise induced hearing loss such as Franki Valli, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and Chris Martin. Phil Collins and Ozzy Osbourne left music due to medical issues associated with hearing loss.
But it’s not just musicians that need to be aware of this, those in the audience do too. Even if you attend concerts infrequently, there is still a potential for hearing damage. Think about sunbathers, for example. You may casually sit in the sun now and then believing there isn't enough time for damage to occur. But that repeated exposure increases long term risk. Similarly, after a concert most people have ringing in their ears or muffled hearing. Since it is usually gone the next day, it’s assumed no damage is done. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Many people don’t think about hearing protection until there is a problem. By then it is often too late. The effect of noise is cumulative and irreversible.
If you’re not already familiar, sound level is measured using decibels (dB). This unit describes the power and compression of sound. At approximately 80 dB, hearing damage starts to occur. Interestingly, ear pain begins at 125 dB. So, damage is done before you feel any pain or discomfort.
Many of the concerns with hearing protection is the interference with the music. The good news is, hearing protection technology has come a long way in recent years. Released in June 2018, Decibullz Custom Molded Professional Filters provide the best of both worlds. These subtle and sophisticated filters provide the wearer with flat attenuation, preserving pitch and tone. You can enjoy your music at a comfortable and safe level without it sounding hollow or muffled.
The main thing to remember is that noise induced hearing damage is preventable. While earplugs may not seem like a concert accessory, they are more than necessary and can prevent hearing issues in the future. While you may not notice the benefits right away, years down the road you will thank yourself.