Your ears are your most important instrument if you are a professional musician. So safeguarding their ears should be a high priority for every musician. Strangely, that’s not the case. Instead, there’s a pervasive culture of fatalism when it comes to hearing in the industry. They believe that loss of hearing is just “part of the job”.
But various new legal rulings and a focused effort to confront that culture finally seem to be transforming that attitude. It shouldn’t ever be regarded as just “part of the job” to cause loss of hearing. That’s especially true when there are established methods and means to protect your hearing without hampering your performance.
Safeguarding Your Ears in a Noisy Environment
Professional musicians, of course, are not the only individuals to work in a potentially noisy surrounding. And many other workers certainly have also developed a fatalistic perspective to hearing problems brought on by loud noise. But basic levels of hearing protection have been more quickly implemented by other professions such as construction and manufacturing.
most likely this has a couple of reasons:
- In many artistic industries, there’s a feeling that you should feel fortunate just to have an opportunity, that no matter how harshly you’re treated, there’s somebody who would be excited to be in your position. So some musicians may not want to make waves or complain about inadequate hearing protection.
- A construction or manufacturing environment is replete with risk (hard hat required, or so the saying goes). So construction laborers, site foremen, and managers are likely more accustomed to donning protective equipment.
- Musicians need to be able to hear rather well while performing, even when they’re performing the same music regularly. There can be some resistance to hearing protection that seems as if it might affect one’s hearing ability. It should also be mentioned, this resistance is usually due to false information.
Sadly, this attitude that “it’s just part of the job” has an effect on more than just musicians. Others who are working in the music business, from crew members to bartenders, are implicitly supposed to subscribe to what is fundamentally a truly damaging mentality.
Norms Are Changing
Fortunately, that’s transforming for two significant reasons. A milestone case against The Royal Opera House in London is the first. During a certain concert, a viola player was placed immediately in front of the brass section and exposed to over 130dB of sound. That’s about the sound equivalent of a full-sized jet engine!
In the majority of cases, if you had to be subjected to that amount of sound, you would be given hearing protection. But that wasn’t the situation, and the viola player suffered serious hearing impairment because of that lack of protection, damage that included long battles with tinnitus.
When the courts handed down a ruling against the Royal Opera House and handed down a ruling for the viola player, it was a clear message that the music industry would have to take hearing protection regulations seriously, and that the music industry needs to commit to hearing protection for all contractors and employees and should stop considering itself a special circumstance.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be The Fate of a Musician
In the music business the number of individuals who suffer from tinnitus is staggeringly high. And that’s the reason that around the world there’s a campaign to raise awareness.
Everyone from wedding DJs to classical music performers to rock stars and their roadies are in danger of experiencing “acoustic shock,” a response to very loud noises which includes the onset of loss of hearing, tinnitus, and hyperacusis. There is an increasing chance of having irreparable damage the more acoustic shock a person sustains.
You can be protected without inhibiting musical capabilities by wearing earplugs that are specially created for musicians or other cutting-edge hearing protection devices. Your hearing will be safeguarded without diminishing sound quality.
Transforming The Attitude in The Music Industry
The correct hearing protection equipment is ready and available. Changing the culture in the music business, at this point, is the key to protecting the hearing of musicians. That’s a huge undertaking, but it’s one that’s already displaying some results. (the judgment against the Royal Opera House has certainly provided some urgency for the industry to pay attention to this problem).
In the industry, tinnitus is especially common. But it doesn’t need to be. Loss of hearing should never be “part of the job,” no matter what job you happen to have.
Do you play music professionally? If you don’t want your performance to be impacted, ask us how to protect your ears.