When your favorite tune comes on the radio, do you find yourself turning the volume up? Many people do that. When you pump up your music, you can feel it in your gut. And it’s fun. But there’s one thing you should recognize: there can also be appreciable harm done.
In the past we weren’t conscious of the relationship between music and hearing loss. That has a lot to do with volume (this is in regards to how many times per day you listen and how excessive the volume is). And it’s one of the reasons that countless of today’s musicians are changing their tune to save their hearing.
Musicians And Hearing Loss
It’s a pretty famous 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). On one occasion he even needed to be turned around to see the thunderous applause from his audience because he couldn’t hear it.
Beethoven is certainly not the only instance of hearing issues in musicians. In fact, 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 own hearing loss experiences.
From Eric Clapton to Neil Diamond to will.i.am, the stories all seem remarkably similar. Being a musician means spending just about every day sandwiched between blaring speakers and roaring crowds. Significant damage including hearing loss and tinnitus will ultimately be the result.
Even if You’re Not a Musician This Could Still be an Issue
You may think that because you’re not personally a rock star or a musician, this may not apply to you. You don’t have millions of cheering fans screaming at you (usually). And you don’t have huge amplifiers behind you daily.
But your favorite playlist and a set of earbuds are things you do have. And that can be a real problem. Thanks to the contemporary capabilities of earbuds, just about everyone can enjoy life like a musician, inundated by sound and music that are way too loud.
The ease with which you can subject yourself to harmful and continuous sounds make this one time cliche complaint into a significant cause for worry.
So How Can You Safeguard Your Ears When Listening to Music?
As with most scenarios admitting that there’s a problem is the first step. People are putting their hearing in danger and need to be made aware of it (particularly more impressionable, younger people). But you also need to take some other steps too:
- Keep your volume in check: Many modern smartphones will alert you when you’re going beyond safe limits on volume. If you value your long-term hearing, you should adhere to these warnings.
- Download a volume-monitoring app: You might not comprehend just how loud a rock concert or music venue is. It can be beneficial to download one of a few free apps that will provide you with a volume measurement of the space you’re in. This can help you keep track of what’s dangerous and what’s not.
- Use ear protection: When you attend a rock concert (or any type of musical show or event), use earplugs. Your experience won’t be lessened by using ear protection. But they will safeguard your ears from the most severe of the injury. (And don’t think that using hearing protection will make you uncool because it’s what the majority of your favorite musicians are doing.).
In many ways, the math here is pretty straight forward: you will have more significant hearing loss in the future the more you put your hearing at risk. Eric Clapton, as an example, has completely lost his hearing. If he knew, he probably would have begun protecting his hearing sooner.
Reducing exposure, then, is the best way to reduce damage. That can be challenging for individuals who work around live music. Part of the solution is wearing ear protection.
But everybody would be a little better off if we simply turned down the volume to reasonable levels.