Do you turn the volume up when your favorite song comes on the radio? Many people do that. There’s something visceral about pumping up the music. And it’s something you can truly enjoy. But there’s one thing you should know: it can also result in some appreciable harm.
The connection between hearing loss and music is closer than we previously thought. Volume is the biggest issue(this is in regards to how many times daily you listen and how intense the volume is). And many musicians are rethinking how they approach coping with the volume of their music.
Musicians And Hearing Loss
It’s a rather well-known irony that, when he got older, classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven was hard of hearing. He was only able to hear his compositions in his head. On one occasion he even needed to be turned around to see the thunderous applause from his audience because he wasn’t able to hear it.
Beethoven is certainly not the only example of hearing problems in musicians. In more recent times lots of musicians who are widely recognized for playing at very loud volumes are coming out with their stories of hearing loss.
From Neil Diamond to Eric Clapton to will.i.am, the stories all seem remarkably similar. Being a musician means spending just about every day stuck between blaring speakers and deafening crowds. Significant damage including tinnitus and hearing loss will ultimately be the result.
Not a Musician? Still an Issue
You may think that because you aren’t personally a rock star or a musician, this may not apply to you. You’re not playing for huge crowds. And you don’t have huge amplifiers behind you every day.
But your favorite playlist and a set of earbuds are things you do have. And that can be a real problem. Thanks to the modern capabilities of earbuds, nearly everyone can experience life like a musician, flooded by sound and music at way too high a volume.
The ease with which you can expose yourself to harmful and continuous sounds make this once cliche complaint into a considerable cause for alarm.
So When You’re Listening to Music, How Can You Safeguard Your Hearing?
So, first we need to admit there’s an issue (that’s usually the first step, but it’s particularly true in this case). Raising awareness can help some people (particularly younger, more naive people) figure out that they’re putting their hearing in danger. But there are other (further) steps you can take too:
- Manage your volume: Some modern smartphones will alert you when you’re going beyond healthy limits on volume. You should adhere to these safety measures if you care about your long-term hearing.
- Get a volume-monitoring app: You might not comprehend just how loud a rock concert or music venue is. It can be beneficial to get one of several free apps that will give you a volume measurement of the space you’re in. This will help you monitor what’s dangerous and what’s not.
- Wear earplugs: Wear earplugs when you attend a concert or any other live music show. Your experience won’t be lessened by using ear plugs. But your ears will be safeguarded from additional harm. (And don’t assume that using hearing protection will make you uncool because it’s what the majority of your favorite musicians are doing.).
It’s rather simple math: you will have more extreme hearing loss later in life the more often you put your hearing at risk. Eric Clapton, for example, has completely lost his hearing. He likely wishes he started wearing earplugs a lot sooner.
Reducing exposure, then, is the best way to reduce damage. For musicians (and for individuals who happen to work at music venues), that can be challenging. Part of the strategy is wearing ear protection.
But keeping the volume at practical levels is also a good idea.