If you’re a professional musician, your hearing is your living. So safeguarding their hearing should be a high priority for every musician. Strangely, that’s not the case. In fact, there’s a pervading culture of fatalism when it comes to hearing in the music business. They believe loss of hearing is just “part of the job”.
That attitude, however, is starting to be challenged by certain new legal legislations and focused public safety efforts. It shouldn’t ever be considered just “part of the job” to cause hearing loss. When there are proven ways to safeguard the hearing, that’s especially true.
When You Are in a Noisy Surrounding, Safeguard Your Hearing
Obviously, musicians aren’t the only people who are subjected to a loud workplace setting. Nor are they the only group of workers who have formulated a fatalistic approach to the harm caused by loud noise. But other occupations, like manufacturing and construction, have been faster to embrace basic levels of ear protection.
There are probably a number of reasons for this:
- No matter how severely you’re treated as an artist, there’s normally a feeling that you’re lucky and that someone would be happy to be in your position. So many musicians may not want to rock the boat or complain about inadequate hearing protection.
- Musicians need to capable of hearing rather well when performing, even when they’re playing the same material every day. There can be some resistance to hearing protection that seems as if it might impede one’s hearing ability. It should also be mentioned, this resistance is usually due to false information.
- A manufacturing and construction environment is replete with risk (hard hat required, or so the saying goes). So donning protective equipment is something site foremen, construction workers, and managers are more likely to be accustomed to doing.
This “part of the job” mindset impacts more than just the musicians, sadly. There’s an implied expectation that other people who work in the music business such as crew members and bartenders go along with this harmful mentality.
Norms Are Changing
Fortunately, that’s changing for two major reasons. The first is a milestone case against the Royal Opera House in London. During a certain concert, a viola player was sitting right in front of the brass section and subjected to over 130dB of noise. That’s roughly comparable to a full-blown jet engine!
Hearing protection needs to always be available when someone is going to be exposed to that much noise. But the viola player experienced long periods of tinnitus and overall loss of hearing because she wasn’t given hearing protection.
When the courts handed down a ruling against the Royal Opera House and handed down a ruling in favor of the viola player, it was a very clear signal that the music industry would have to take hearing protection laws seriously, and that the music industry should invest in hearing protection for every employee and contractor and should stop considering itself a special circumstance.
A Musicians Fate Shouldn’t be Loss of hearing
In the music business the number of those who suffer from tinnitus is mindblowingly high. And that’s the reason that around the world there’s a campaign to raise awareness.
Everyone from rock star and their roadies to wedding Dj’s to classical musicians are in danger of experiencing “acoustic shock,” a response to very loud noises which includes the onset of tinnitus, hyperacusis, and hearing loss. There is an escalating chance of having irreversible injury the more acoustic shock a person endures.
You can be protected without inhibiting musical capabilities by using earplugs that are specifically created for musicians or other cutting-edge hearing protection devices. Your ears will be protected without decreasing sound quality.
Changing The Music Culture
The ideal hearing protection equipment is available and ready. At this stage, protecting the hearing of musicians is more about transforming the culture within the music and entertainment community. This endeavor, though it’s a difficult one, is one that’s already showing results (the decision against the Royal Opera House has certainly created some urgency for the industry to pay attention to this problem).
In the industry, tinnitus is especially common. But it doesn’t have to be. Loss of hearing should never be “part of the job,” regardless of what job you happen to have.
Do you play music professionally? Ask us how to safeguard your hearing without missing a beat.