Musicians and music lovers alike appreciate music and desire the most optimum sound quality. Hearing protection is important when both listening to and creating music so that this appreciation is not negatively impacted by a hearing loss due to noise exposure.
The REM Audiologists of Voorhees, Evesham, and Philadelphia provide a wide variety of options and styles to try in the office for your convenience to obtain protection during your music experience without sacrificing sound quality.
Information regarding music exposure
4 in 9 musicians suffer from a hearing loss greater than 30dBHL
86% of musicians and concert-goers are affected by ringing and buzzing sounds in their ears (study by Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers, H.E.A.R.)
A rule of thumb for protecting the health of your hearing: “The louder it gets, the shorter the time your ears should be exposed before damage sets [in] or permanent hearing loss [occurs].” –Dr. Rise Padeni, All Children’s Hospital
Source – Better Hearing Institute, www.betterhearing.org
Ear monitors for musicians
Ear monitors allow for hearing protection without loss of sound quality. They are an alternative to using floor monitors while performing. They cost significantly less than floor monitors and are less prone to feedback. Ear monitors transmit the sound directly to your ears and allow for you to adjust the volume to your own listening preference. They actually allow for lower volume levels while achieving the same perception of volume, which helps to protect your hearing.
Use of ear monitors also helps to reduce the strain on your vocal cords so that your voice can last longer during performances. All performers should wear two ear monitors (one in each ear) for optimum protection and benefit.
The REM Audiologists of Voorhees, Evesham, and Philadelphia offer ear monitors from several companies such as Future Sonics, Sensaphonics, and Westone in both custom fit and universal models.
Custom fit models are better, because they’re molded to fit your ear whereas the universal model is more of an average size monitor tipped with foam, rubber, or plastic; it still has a tight seal but is not molded to the shape of your ear. Custom models can also handle higher levels of sound. Determining whether you would benefit from a custom or universal model depends on your needs and preferences as well as how often you would use the monitor.
Source – Audiology Online, www.audiologyonline.com
Musician earplugs are essentially calibrated earmolds that allow for attenuation of sound in a controlled intensity (decibel) amount. They are much more consistent in providing hearing protection than using foam earplugs, which may not always be inserted far enough into the ear canal. Furthermore, conventional earplugs reduce high frequencies more than the low and mid-frequencies, resulting in music and voices sounding muffled and unclear.
Musician earplugs have a generally “flat” response so that bass or treble notes are not relatively favored and sound perception is not distorted. Drummers require the highest rating of musician earplugs; whereas guitarists and vocalists can utilize lower ranges of intensity reduction.
Musician earmolds can also be used by musicians when they are off-stage, by members of a school band, and by individuals who attend concerts. Custom earmolds are also available for use with iPods and MP3 players. These provide two significant advantages over traditional earplugs: (1) custom fit allows for more comfort and retention in the ear and (2) custom earmolds reduce the amount of ambient noise so that the volume of the music player can be reduced.
The best advice for parents to give their children who are engaging in activities that may be potentially harmful to their hearing is to protect their hearing using either custom earmolds, earplugs, or ear monitors to ensure their hearing remains in good health. Hearing protection during childhood music and noise exposure will help to prevent the likelihood of damage occurring that will result in a hearing loss later in life; it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- ER-9 provides approximately 9-dB of attenuation
- ER-15 provides approximately 15-dB of attenuation
- ER-20 provides approximately 20-dB of attenuation
- ER-25 provides approximately 25-dB of attenuation
Musicians or anyone who is interested in obtaining ear monitors or other types of hearing protection should contact an REM Audiologist in Voorhees or Evesham Township, New Jersey or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.