Music is a unique profession because it’s one borne out of passion and is often more of a hobby than a profession. It’s a notoriously difficult profession to make it big, and for every superstar there are many artists performing in local venues and on street corners, hoping to hit it big. Music is also unique in the way that it might actually be harming the people who love it so much.
A Musical Catch-22
Musicians depend heavily on their ears to hone their craft, but that kind of consistent exposure to sound may be harmful to their hearing health, which can hamper their ability to play instruments long-term. This is observable in every format from rock concerts and classical orchestras, where the main players have constant exposure to high decibel sounds.
The sounds of an orchestra can reach levels as high as 92 decibels, while an average rock concert clocks in at a staggering 115 decibels. The highest limit for safe noise exposure is around 90 decibels, putting musicians in the danger zone every time they come to work.
No Scientific Consensus
The theory of music-induced hearing loss is controversial in both the music and scientific worlds. The studies are split right down the middle, with some researchers showing serious risk of hearing loss due to exposure, while others show no link between the two.
No one’s quite sure why such a glaring contradiction exists, and at a 2006 conference many professionals called for more research on the topic. There have been several conclusive studies regarding the links of industrial noise exposure to hearing loss, and musical exposure of similar noise levels and duration seems likely to have a similar effect.
Fortunately musicians can protect their hearing while practicing and performing in several ways, and the best is often by using musician earplugs; they’re not designed to completely block out sound, but offer enough protection to prevent any damage to the inner ear. Check out our Services page, or contact us if you want more information on how to get musicians earplugs or hearing aids. We will be more than glad to answer any questions regarding our products.