Dr. Andrea Livingston photo May 13

Dr. Andrea Livingston

Why should you wear musician’s earplugs?

Whether you’re a wannabe rock ‘n’ roll star playing to a few bored friends in your basement or have already made it big, showcasing your skills to enraptured audiences at gigs across Central Florida, constant exposure to loud music can have long-term consequences: hearing loss.

Noise-induced hearing loss

One of the leading causes of hearing loss throughout the United States is noise exposure. Sounds exceeding 85 decibels can cause permanent damage to the tiny hair cells of your inner ear; the louder the sound, the less safe exposure time you have. Music levels at most concerts average 100 to 120 decibels; in the midrange — 110 decibels — irreversible hearing loss can occur after only two minutes.

Musicians are especially prone to hearing loss based on the nature of their work. If you’re in a band, you doubtless spend many hours practicing and performing. Good hearing is an important part of the creative process; you’ll need a keen ear in order to compose music and play it accurately. Unfortunately, the damaging sounds associated with noise exposure contribute to hearing loss and tinnitus, both of which could bring about an early end to your career.

High-profile musicians suffering from noise-induced hearing loss and/or tinnitus include Huey Lewis, Pete Townshend, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Sting, Roger Daltrey, Ozzy Osbourne and Neil Young. Consistent use of musician’s earplugs could have dramatically reduced damage to these musicians’ ears.

Benefits of musician’s earplugs

Musicians’ earplugs are the single most effective tool in preventing noise-induced hearing loss. Traditional earplugs block noise from entering the ear canals; while this is helpful to an extent, it results in music and speech that is muffled and distorted.

To compensate for this, musician’s earplugs are made up of a diaphragm and earmold that work together to produce attenuation, an even reduction in sound that is smooth and flat across the entire frequency range. The result is a high-fidelity device that makes music and speech sound clear and natural. Musicians can hear their own instruments and gauge how well they blend in with those of their bandmates. This can mean the difference between a no-hit wonder and a chart-topping success story.

Musician’s earplugs often come with interchangeable attenuators that provide varying levels of sound protection for multiple listening situations; think private rehearsals versus concerts in large auditoriums. By using musician’s earplugs, you can save valuable stage space and eliminate bulky loudspeaker monitoring systems, which tend to increase noise levels anyway.

If you’re a musician in Central Florida, an avid concert goer, recreational musician or choir member, schedule an appointment with your audiologist to fit a pair of musician’s earplugs. It’ll be the best investment you can make for your hearing!

Call 863-386-9111 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Livingston and learn how to best protect your hearing.

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