If you’re a professional musician, your ears are your livelihood. So safeguarding their ears should be a high priority for every musician. But in general, that’s not the situation. Many musicians just accept hearing loss. The predominant mindset seems to be: “it’s just part of the job”.
That attitude, however, is starting to be challenged by certain new legal legislations and concerted public safety efforts. Damage to the ears, damage that inescapably leads to hearing loss, should never be “part of the job”. That’s particularly true when there are proven methods and means to safeguard your hearing without hampering your performance.
Protecting Your Hearing in a Loud Setting
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 formulated a fatalistic perspective to the damage as a consequence of loud noise. But other occupations, like construction or manufacturing, have been faster to undertake basic levels of ear protection.
more than likely this is because of a couple of things:
- Regardless of how harshly you’re treated as an artist, there’s usually a feeling that you’re fortunate and that someone would be glad to be in your position. So some musicians might not want to rock the boat or complain about inadequate hearing protection.
- Musicians need to be able to hear rather well while performing, even when they’re performing the same material every day. There can be some resistance to hearing protection that seems as if it might interfere with one’s hearing ability. This resistance is usually rooted in misinformation, it should be noted.
- A construction or manufacturing environment is replete with risk (hard hat required, or so the saying goes). So construction laborers, site foremen, and managers are likely more accustomed to donning protective equipment.
This “part of the job” culture influences more than just the musicians, unfortunately. Others who work in the music industry, from crew members to bartenders, are implicitly expected to buy into what is essentially a truly harmful mentality.
There are two reasons that this is changing, thankfully. The first is a milestone case against the Royal Opera House in London. A viola player, during a concert, was exposed to 130dB of sound when she was seated directly in front of the brass section. That’s about the sound equivalent of a full-blown jet engine!
Hearing protection needs to always be provided when someone is going to be exposed to that much noise. But the viola player experienced long bouts of tinnitus and general loss of hearing because she wasn’t given hearing protection.
When the courts found The Royal Opera House at fault and ruled for the viola player, they sent a message that the music industry was no longer exempt from workplace hearing protection guidelines, and that the industry should not think of itself as an exceptional situation and instead commit to appropriate hearing protection for all employees and contractors involved.
A Musicians Fate Shouldn’t be Hearing Loss
The number of people in the music business who suffer from tinnitus is staggeringly 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. There is an escalating chance of having permanent injury the more acoustic shock a person endures.
You can be protected without compromising musical abilities by wearing earplugs that are specifically created 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 protected.
Changing The Culture in The Music Business
You can get the right hearing protection right now. At this stage, protecting the hearing of musicians is more about changing the culture within the music and entertainment industry. This task, though it’s a difficult one, is one that’s already demonstrating success (The industry is getting an eye opener with the judgment against The Royal Opera House).
In the industry, tinnitus is especially common. But it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t matter what your job is, loss of hearing should never be “just part of the job”.
Are you a musician? Contact us to find out how to protect your hearing without missing a beat.