If you’re a professional musician, your ears are your living. So safeguarding their ears should be a high priority for all musicians. Curiously, that’s not the situation. In fact, there’s a pervading culture of fatalism when it comes to hearing in the music business. The existing mindset seems to be: “it’s just part of the job”.
That attitude, however, is starting to be challenged by various new legal legislations and focused public safety efforts. It shouldn’t ever be considered to be just “part of the job” to cause loss of hearing. That’s especially true when there are established ways and means to protect your hearing without hindering your performance.
Protecting Your Ears in a Noisy Environment
Professional musicians, obviously, are not the only individuals to work in a potentially loud surrounding. Nor are they the only group of professionals who have developed a fatalistic perspective to the injury as a consequence of loud noise. But practical levels of hearing protection have been more rapidly implemented by other occupations such as manufacFuring and construction.
most likely this is because of a couple of things:
- No matter how severely you’re treated as an artist, there’s usually a feeling that you’re fortunate and that somebody would be grateful to be in your position. So many musicians might not want to rock the boat or whine about inadequate hearing protection.
- Musicians need to capable of hearing rather well while performing, even when they’re performing the same music regularly. If it seems like it will impede hearing, there can be some resistance to using hearing protection. This resistance is commonly rooted in false information, it should be noted.
- A manufacturing and construction environment is replete with hazards (hard hat required, as the saying goes). So donning protective equipment is something site foremen, construction workers, and managers are more likely to be accustomed to doing.
This “part of the job” mindset affects more than just the musicians, sadly. There’s an implied expectation that other people who work in the music business like crew members and security go along with this harmful mentality.
Norms Are Changing
There are two big reasons that this is changing, thankfully. A milestone case against The Royal Opera House in London is the first. A viola player, during a concert, was subjected to 130dB of sound when she was seated immediately in front of the brass section. That’s about the sound equivalent of a full-blown jet engine!
Hearing protection needs to always be available when someone is going to be subjected to that volume of sound. But the viola player experienced long periods of tinnitus and general hearing loss because she wasn’t provided hearing protection.
When the courts ruled against the Royal Opera House and handed down a ruling in favor of the viola player, it was a very clear signal that the music industry would have to take hearing protection regulations seriously, and that the music industry should invest in hearing protection for all contractors and employees and should stop considering itself a special circumstance.
A Musicians Fate Shouldn’t be Hearing Loss
The number of individuals in the music business who are afflicted by tinnitus is mindblowingly high. And that’s why there’s a campaign to boost awareness worldwide.
Everyone from rock star and their roadies to wedding Dj’s to classical musicians are in danger of experiencing “acoustic shock,” a response to very loud noises which includes the onset of tinnitus, hyperacusis, and loss of hearing. The more acoustic shock that someone experiences, the higher the chance that damage will become permanent.
You can be protected without decreasing musical abilities by wearing earplugs that are specially designed for musicians or other modern hearing protection devices. Your ears will be protected without inhibiting the quality of sound.
Transforming The Culture in The Music Industry
You can get the correct hearing protection right now. At this time, protecting the hearing of musicians is more about changing the mindset within the music and entertainment community. This undertaking, though it’s a big one, is one that’s already showing success (The industry is getting an eye opener with the judgment against The Royal Opera House).
Tinnitus is incredibly common in the industry. But this doesn’t have to be the way it is. It doesn’t make a difference what your job is, hearing loss should never be “just part of the job”.
Do you play music professionally? If you don’t want your performance to be impacted, ask us how to protect your ears.