Musicians often spend hours at a time in extremely noisy environments, increasing their risk for hearing loss if they don’t take the necessary precautions. Here’s more about types of hearing loss that can affect musicians, and where to find hearing protection for musical artists and performers.
Why Is Hearing Protection Important For Musicians?
Musicians rely strongly on their hearing, which is essential to having a successful career.
Having the ability to hear well allows musicians to achieve the right tone and pitch when singing or playing instruments. On the other hand, severe hearing loss can often lead to unpleasant tones, pitches, and sounds that can compromise the quality of their music and signal the end of a musical career.
Additionally, frequent exposure to high noise levels can gradually affect hearing and cause the ears to fatigue. Many times, musicians can avoid hearing loss by wearing hearing protection.
Types Of Hearing Loss That Affect Musicians
Musicians are at risk for several types of hearing loss due to working with sounds and being exposed to loud noises regularly.
Tinnitus is characterized by constant ringing in one or both ears. Exposure to loud noise is one of the top risk factors for tinnitus.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
This type of hearing loss is usually caused by exposure to excessively loud sounds. Musicians who play loud music at concerts are often subject to noise-induced hearing loss.
Hyperacusis (Lowered Sound Tolerance)
Hyperacusis is a hearing disorder that causes hypersensitivity to a range of sounds. Certain noises can cause many people with this hearing condition to experience severe pain in the ears. It is often caused by loud noises, such as rock concerts.
Diplacusis (Pitch Perception Problems)
Also known as double hearing, diplacusis is a hearing disorder that causes someone to hear a single sound as different pitches in each ear. Like many other types of musician hearing loss, it is usually caused by exposure to loud noise.
Sound distortion is one of the primary symptoms of hyperacusis, though it may also indicate other hearing problems. Musicians who experience sound distortion can meet with an audiologist to determine the root cause of this symptom.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Hearing Loss?
Hearing protection can help musicians avoid damage to their hearing that can be caused by regular exposure to excessively loud noises. Audiologists can work with musicians to develop custom-fitting hearing protection that not only reduces their risk for hearing loss, but that can absorb ambient noise so they can hear their own music more clearly.
What Kinds of Hearing Protection Work Best for Musicians?
Earplugs and earmuffs are usually the top choices in hearing protection for musicians.
Custom earplugs can be made to fit the inside of the ear comfortably so they can be worn for long periods during musical performances. Earplugs can often reduce noise by up to 30 decibels and are made with medical-grade materials that can prevent bacterial growth when the inside of the ears becomes moist due to sweat.
Earmuffs may be more efficient than earplugs at blocking out sounds due to the way they fit over the entire ear and sit tightly against the head. Musicians may prefer earmuffs over earplugs if they need hearing protection for short periods and want a more comfortable option.
Where To Get Hearing Protection
Custom hearing protection for musicians is available from most audiologists. An audiologist can perform a hearing test and use a specialized device that allows them to create molds of the ear for custom earplugs. An audiologist can also diagnose and treat different types of hearing loss.
When To Seek Help
Musicians should make an appointment with an audiologist as soon as possible if they are experiencing any symptoms of hearing loss. Common symptoms of hearing loss include ringing in the ears, muffled or distorted sounds, and difficulty hearing words and conversations.At Sonora Hearing Care, LLC, we understand how hearing loss can impact your musical career as a musician. Our audiologists will be more than happy to have you fitted for custom hearing protection. Contact us today at (520) 881-8740 to schedule a consultation and learn more about our hearing services.