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Hearing loss that affects Musicians & DJs

3 Min read

7th Apr 2014

As a Musician or DJ, You Need to Protect Your Hearing

Musicians, DJs & Hearing Loss

Musicians from classical to rock are often exposed to high volume ranges during their work, as are DJs. Good hearing is important to the livelihood of anybody involved in the music industry at a performance level. It is well known that musical performances can create sounds loud enough to actually cause permanent damage to hearing. Your audience is only exposed to these volume levels from time to time, you however are exposed at almost every performance or gig. This will result in hearing loss if you don’t protect yourself. That hearing loss will interfere with your ability to perform in your profession.

Musicians & Tinnitus

While hearing loss is a consequence of repeated noise exposure, many musicians often experience tinnitus. Tinnitus is another problem that can have a dramatic effect on the quality of life and general well being of someone who suffers from it. We probably call all name Musicians that suffer from both hearing loss and tinnitus, Will I Am, Chris Martin, Ozzy Osbourne and Phil Collins are just a few. It is simple, the more time you expose yourself to dangerous levels of sound, the more likely it is that irreversible damage will be done to your hearing.

Once you have damaged your hearing, it isn’t coming back. So you need to be careful to protect it when you perform, whether that is in a youth club disco or Cream, a local pub or a stadium. Performing musicians and DJs should use in-ear monitors, they will reduce the level of the sound you are exposed to while you are rocking that place hard.

Noise (music) Induced Hearing Loss

It may be music to your ears, probably not if you are playing the third request for Tom Jones at a wedding, but it still can deliver noise induced hearing loss. So what is the problem and what do you need to understand? The two issues here are the volume of the noise and how long you are exposed to it. The health and safety rules are simple. 85 dB and you can work eight hours, however, you are probably being exposed to 100 dB or more (definitely more if you are a metal head) for long periods of time.

With continued exposure at these levels the nerve endings in your inner ear are going to become damaged. These nerve endings are responsible for changing sound into something that the brain can recognise. The problem here is that these things don’t repair themselves, with some exposures, they take a beating but come back. This why you might leave a concert and have a dull feeling and whining in your ears. This is called a temporary threshold shift and results in tinnitus, buzzing or ringing in the ears. This my friends is your body telling you that you are taking the mickey!

Normally after a one off exposure the tinnitus and the temporary threshold shift resolves itself after a few days. However, lets be honest here ladies and gentlemen, you are slaves to the sound and will be having a lot more than one exposure! Continued exposure will lead to permanent hearing loss and tinnitus if you don’t protect yourself. This is why you need to take action to protect yourself, you will thank yourself, believe me. Because hearing loss and tinnitus have a dramatic effect on quality of life.

Roll Up, Roll Up, Get Your In-Ear Monitors!

In-ear monitors are pretty cool devices, you can use them to just listen to music or, and probably more importantly, you can use them to hear a mix of vocals and stage instrumentation for live performances. They are custom fitted for your ears, which means they can provide a high level of noise reduction of the ambient sound. Depending on the quality of the fit and the length of the projection into the ear, a custom fit in-ear monitor provides between 25 dB and 35 dB of noise reduction. Normally that is just enough to keep you safe from hearing loss. They are also convenient and easy to use.

It’s All About The Plugs, About The Plugs, No Noise!

I really don’t believe I just typed that! What about if you don’t need playback? The answer for you is custom-fitted musicians’ earplugs. These simple earplugs again custom fitted to your ear which can be used with differing sound filters. The custom fit helps to protect you and the sound filters can make specific sounds softer, while not compromising the overall sound experience. Bog standard earplugs cut off high-frequency sounds, making the music dull, musicians’ earplugs solves this problem by reducing the volume without distorting any of the frequencies of sound.

No Excuse Not To Protect Your Hearing

The advancements in hearing protection options for Musicians and DJs that have been made leave you with no valid excuse not to protect your hearing. You would be stupid, not to! The process to get them is easy and we can have them ready for you within a week or two at most. If you want to protect your hearing, and you really should, give us a call on 01905 617803 to have a chat.


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Tom Dixon

Tom Dixon Director of Audiology

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