If you’re a professional musician, your ears are your livelihood. So safeguarding their hearing should be a high priority for all musicians. But overall, that’s not the case. Many musicians just accept hearing loss. They believe that hearing loss is just “part of the job”.
That attitude, however, is beginning to be challenged by various new legal rulings and concerted public safety campaigns. Injury to the ears, injury that inescapably results in loss of hearing, shouldn’t ever be “part of the job”. That’s especially true when there are proven methods and means to safeguard your ears without eroding your performance.
When You Are in a Loud Surrounding, Safeguard Your Hearing
Obviously, musicians are not the only people who are exposed to a loud workplace environment. Nor are they the only group of workers who have developed a fatalistic perspective to the harm caused by loud noise. But practical levels of hearing protection have been more quickly implemented by other professions such as manufacturing and construction.
most likely this is because of a couple of things:
- The saying goes “hard hat required”. That’s because the construction and manufacturing environments have many hazards. So donning protective equipment is something site foremen, construction workers, and managers are more likely to be accustomed to doing.
- Musicians need to capable of hearing rather well while performing, even when they’re performing the same music regularly. If it seems as if it will impede hearing, there can be some resistance to wearing hearing protection. This resistance is commonly rooted in misinformation, it should be mentioned.
- In countless artistic fields, there’s a feeling that you should feel lucky just to be given an opportunity, that no matter how harshly you’re treated, there’s somebody who would be happy to be in your position. So many musicians just quietly cope with poor hearing protection.
This “part of the job” mindset influences more than just the musicians, regrettably. There’s an implied expectation that other people who work in the music business like crew members and security go along with this unsafe mentality.
There are two big reasons that this is changing, fortunately. A landmark legal ruling against The Royal Opera House in London is the first. While in a particular performance, a viola player was sitting directly in front of the brass section and subjected to over 130dB of noise. That’s roughly comparable to a full-blown jet engine!
In the majority of cases, if you had to be exposed to that amount of noise, you would be provided with hearing protection. But that wasn’t the case, and the viola player experienced serious hearing damage due to that lack of protection, damage that involved long bouts of tinnitus.
When the courts found The Royal Opera House at fault and ruled for the viola player, it was a definite message that the music industry would need to take hearing protection laws seriously, and that the industry should not think of itself as an exceptional case and instead invest in proper hearing protection for all employees and contractors involved.
A Musicians Fate Shouldn’t be Loss of hearing
The number of people in the music industry who are afflicted by tinnitus is mindblowingly high. And that’s the reason why there’s a campaign to raise awareness around the world.
Everyone from wedding DJs to classical music performers to rock stars and their roadies are in danger of experiencing “acoustic shock,” a response to very loud noises which includes the onset of hearing loss, tinnitus, and hyperacusis. There is an escalating chance of suffering permanent damage the more acoustic shock a person sustains.
You can be protected without diminishing musical capabilities by using earplugs that are specially designed for musicians or other modern hearing protection devices. You’ll still be capable of hearing what you need to hear, but your ears will be safeguarded.
Transforming The Music Attitude
You can take advantage of the ideal hearing protection right now. Changing the culture in the music industry, at this point, is the key to protecting the hearing of musicians. This task, though it’s a big one, is one that’s already demonstrating success (The industry is getting an eye opener with the decision against The Royal Opera House).
Tinnitus is very common in the industry. But this doesn’t have to be how it is. Hearing loss should never be “part of the job,” regardless of what job you happen to have.
Are you a musician? Ask us how to safeguard your hearing without hurting your performance.