Your hearing is your most valuable instrument if you are a professional musician. So protecting their ears should be a high priority for every musician. But overall, that’s not the situation. In fact, there’s a pervading culture of fatalism when it comes to hearing in the music business. The existing mindset seems to be: “it’s just part of the job”.
But various new legal rulings and a concerted undertaking to challenge that culture finally appear to be transforming that mindset. It shouldn’t ever be considered just “part of the job” to cause hearing loss. That’s particularly true when there are proven ways and means to safeguard your ears without hampering your performance.
Protecting Your Ears in a Loud Setting
Obviously, musicians aren’t the only individuals who are subjected to a loud workplace setting. 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 rapidly embraced by other professions like manufacturing and construction.
most likely this has a couple of reasons:
- Musicians need to be able to hear rather well when performing, even when they’re playing the same music regularly. If it seems like it might impede hearing, there can be some resistance to using hearing protection. It should also be noted, this resistance is normally due to false information.
- The saying goes “hard hat required”. That’s because the construction and manufacturing environments have a lot of hazards. So construction workers, site foremen, and managers are likely more accustomed to donning protective equipment.
- No matter how harshly you’re treated as an artist, there’s usually a feeling that you’re fortunate and that somebody would be grateful to be in your place. So many musicians simply cope with poor hearing protection.
Unfortunately, this outlook that “it’s just part of the job” has an influence on more than just musicians. Others who work in the music business, from roadies to bartenders, are implicitly supposed to buy into what is essentially a very harmful mentality.
Norms Are Changing
There are two reasons that this is changing, fortunately. A landmark case against The Royal Opera House in London is the first. A viola player, during a concert, was subjected to 130dB of sound when she was seated right in front of the brass section. That’s roughly comparable to a full-blown jet engine!
In most cases, if you had to be exposed to that much noise, you would be provided with hearing protection. But that wasn’t the case, and the viola player suffered extreme hearing impairment because of that lack of protection, damage that included long bouts of tinnitus.
When the courts found The Royal Opera House negligent and handed down a ruling in favor of the viola player, they sent a message that the music industry would no longer be immune from workplace hearing protection regulations, and that the industry should not think of itself as a special case and instead commit to proper hearing protection for all employees and contractors concerned.
Loss of Hearing Shouldn’t be a Musician’s Fate
In the music industry the number of those who are afflicted by tinnitus is staggeringly high. And that’s why there’s a campaign to raise awareness around the world.
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 tinnitus, hyperacusis, and loss of hearing. There is an increasing chance of having irreparable injury the more acoustic shock a person endures.
Utilizing modern hearing protection devices, including specially manufactured earplugs and earmuffs, can help protect your ears without compromising the musical abilities of anybody. You’ll still be capable of hearing what you need to hear, but your ears will be safeguarded.
Transforming The Music Culture
You can take advantage of the ideal hearing protection right now. At this point, protecting the hearing of musicians is more about changing the mindset within the music and entertainment community. That’s a big undertaking, but it’s one that’s already displaying some results. (the decision against the Royal Opera House has definitely created some urgency for the industry to get in line).
In the industry, tinnitus is especially common. But this doesn’t have to be the way it is. Loss of hearing should never be “part of the job,” no matter what job you happen to have.
Do you play music professionally? Contact us to find out how to safeguard your hearing without missing a beat.