A Musicians Guide to Safeguarding Your Hearing as You Age

Hearing loss is a common occurrence among people in their old age. The most common symptoms of hearing loss are that the victim gets a ringing noise in their ears and others do not hear certain voice pitches. As much as old age is to blame for most hearing loss cases, loud noises contribute to most of the intense symptoms and affects hearing terribly, especially with prolonged exposure. Loud noises include loud music at concerts and parties, screeching sounds, construction site noises and cars hooting. Constant exposure to these sounds may lead to fast loss of hearing and/or aggravated symptoms during hearing loss.

Musicians are often exposed to loud noises during concerts, practice sessions and parties. Over time, the loud music damages their hearing and this could pose problems in their music career. For the musicians in their old age, it is not too late to protect yourself from complete loss of hearing. How is this achievable?

Wear earplugs

Specially designed earplugs are now available for musicians.  This can help lengthen a career and avoid harm to the ear drum.
Specially designed earplugs are now available for musicians. This can help lengthen a career and avoid harm to the ear drum.

It is important to know what qualifies as a loud noise. A normal talking voice ranges between 40 – 6- decibels. The human ear can comfortably handle sounds below 80 decibels. Sounds higher than 80 decibels will cause permanent damage to the ears over time. Sounds at 150 decibels cause instant damage to the ears and the victim often gets constant ringing in the ears. A rock concert plays music at 125 decibels at least and this could go up to 140 decibels. This means that the musicians and the audience are all susceptible to hearing damage.

The musicians performing at such a concert are at a higher risk of hearing loss since they are in close vicinity with the loud music. As such, it is advisable for such people to wear ear plugs while performing. Ear plugs aim at reducing the volume of the noise around you to a more comfortable level. Old models of ear plugs reduced noise by 20 decibels, which would not help much in a concert. Modern models that are fitted by an audiologist reduce noise levels evenly and they can be adjusted as preferred. The best part is that they only reduce the volume of the music without distorting the quality of sound.

Smart positioning during concerts

The key to safeguarding your hearing as a musician in your old age is to make smart choices. One of the smart choices is how you position yourself during concerts. Science has proven that sound travels in a straight line. This factor explains the difference in noise when one stands in front of a speaker and when you stand at an angle away from it or behind it. During performances, ensure that the speakers are tilted at an angle away from the stage in order to reduce the volume that reaches you.

Take breaks

Constant exposure to loud noises causes constant hearing damage that may become permanent after a certain period of time. Musicians are exposed to loud music from their training sessions to their performance. As such, it is important for musicians to control their exposure to loud noises by taking breaks between their sessions. The breaks should entail both short breaks for a few hours and long breaks for a couple of days especially after concerts. This will give the ears time to rest.

Safeguarding your hearing as a musician in your old age will help you avoid expensive and unnecessary treatment procedures that may result from hearing damage.

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