When your favorite tune comes on the radio, do you find yourself cranking the volume up? You aren’t alone. When you pump up your music, you can feel it in your gut. And it’s something you can truly take pleasure in. But there’s one thing you should know: there can also be appreciable damage done.
In the past we weren’t aware of the relationship between hearing loss and music. Volume is the biggest problem(this is based on how many times a day you listen and how intense the volume is). And many musicians are rethinking how they approach dealing with the volume of their music.
Musicians And Hearing Loss
It’s a fairly well-known irony that, later in life, classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven was hard of hearing. He couldn’t hear any of the music he composed (except in his head). There’s even one narrative about how the composer was conducting one of his symphonies and needed to be turned around at the end of the performance because he couldn’t hear the thundering applause of the crowd.
Beethoven is certainly not the only example of hearing issues in musicians. Indeed, a far more recent generation of rock musicians, all known for turning their speakers (and performances) up to 11–have begun to go public with their personal hearing loss experiences.
From Eric Clapton to Neil Diamond to will.i.am, the stories all sound remarkably similar. Musicians spend a huge amount of time dealing with crowd noise and loud speakers. The trauma which the ears experience on a daily basis gradually results in noticeable damage: hearing loss and tinnitus.
Even if You’re Not a Musician This Could Still be a Problem
Being someone who isn’t a rock star (at least when it comes to the profession, everyone knows you’re a rock star in terms of personality), you may have a difficult time connecting this to your personal concerns. You’re not performing for large crowds. And you’re not standing in front of a wall of amplifiers.
But your favorite playlist and a set of earbuds are things you do have. And there’s the problem. It’s become easy for each one of us to experience music like rock stars do, at way too high a volume.
This one little thing can now become a real problem.
So How Can You Safeguard Your Hearing When Listening to Music?
As with most scenarios admitting that there’s a problem is the first step. Raising awareness can help some people (especially younger, more naive people) become aware that they’re putting their hearing in danger. But you also should take some other steps too:
- Wear ear protection: When you go to a rock concert (or any type of musical event or show), wear hearing protection. They won’t really lessen your experience. But your ears will be safeguarded from further harm. (And don’t think that using hearing protection will make you uncool because it’s what the majority of your favorite musicians are doing.).
- Download a volume-monitoring app: You are probably not aware of the actual volume of a live concert. It can be useful to download one of several free apps that will provide you with a volume measurement of your environment. As a result, when harmful levels are reached you will be aware of it.
- Control your volume: If you exceed a safe listening level, your smartphone may let you know. You should listen to these safety measures if you value your long-term hearing.
It’s fairly simple math: the more often you put your ears at risk, the more significant your hearing loss could be later in life. Eric Clapton, for instance, has entirely lost his hearing. He probably wishes he started wearing earplugs a little bit sooner.
The best way to lessen your damage, then, is to lessen your exposure. For musicians (and for people who happen to work around live music), that can be a challenge. Ear protection might offer part of an answer there.
But everyone would be a lot better off if we simply turned the volume down to practical levels.