Musicians - Protecting the
I need hearing protection?
If the answers
to any of the following questions is "yes," then you are at
risk for inner ear damage.
Do you need to shout to
be heard during studio or performance work?
Do your ears ring after
Does everything around
you sound muffled or distorted after a show or rehearsal?
Do your ears ever feel
plugged up after playing or listening to music?
Does your music sound
distorted at the end of a long set or rehearsal?
do I go?
See an audiologist who
specializes in working with musicians.
Veronica Heide, Audiologist
with Audible Difference, has over 25 years of experience working
directly with local and internationally known musicians.
"State-of-the-art testing (see
article on Otoacoustic Emission Testing) is only part of what an audiologist
provides," says Veronica. "The needs of musicians vary
depending on the instrument they play, type of music, and type of
venue." Sharing that knowledge and expertise is a part of the
personal service that musicians receive at Audible Difference. Contact
Audible Difference for an appointment.
loud is too loud?
The risk criteria described
below are general guidelines for the "average person" that can
help you determine whether or not the music you listen to is too
loud. One factor that we cannot measure is your genetic predisposition
to hearing loss. If you have family members with hearing loss, you
are at greater risk than someone else who does not have that familial
history. Risk of hearing loss is a function of the amount of time you are in
the music, the average level of the music, and the peak level of the
conservation formulas were developed to provide guidelines for risk
criteria. Generally, musicians should verify that sound levels do
not exceed 90 dBA SPL for any period of time. One of the
responsibilities of the sound engineer should be to measure and log the
sound levels in performance both on stage and at the ear of the audience to
make sure that the levels are safe for both.
Inexpensive sound level meters (for example, the Radio
Shack 33-2050) can be used to monitor the performance
levels (use the A-weighting scale).
The following table
illustrates the average amount of safe hours per day of sound exposure
using a conservative equal energy approach :
This assumes total exposure of
loud noise, not just music. If a musician listens to recreational
music at high levels, works in a workshop, mows the lawn, or target shoots
and then further exposes his hears to two or more hours of loud
performance music that exceeds safe levels, then the musician is at risk
for further hearing damage.
do I protect my ears and still hear to perform?
In-Ear Monitors (see article)
steps toward hearing conservation:
Avoid exposure to sounds
(all sounds, not just music) greater than 90 dBA
Wear appropriate hearing
protection for the level and type of noise.
Rest your ears for 24 to 48
hours after exposure to high levels.
Turn the volume down
- even a
little (5 dB) helps your ears.
Avoid the temptation to
crank it up on the second set. Your ears will fatigue faster -
you will increase distortion - and you will not hear your music as
well. Turning it up will make the definition worse and will
increase the risk of permanent hearing damage.
Move your drummer up onto a
platform so that his high hats are not at your ear level.
Increase your distance on stage from high level sounds.
Avoid competitive monitoring.
Set your levels and leave them. If one band member feels that
s/he is not hearing well, change the position of the monitor before
you change the level. Consider In-Ear-Monitors.
Have your hearing evaluated
by an audiologist once a year.
Case History Form
for Musicians - Please print and complete this history prior to initial
consultation. Bring your completed history with you to your