Musicians and Hearing Loss: What You Need to Know

Almost everyone loves listening to music. But for the people who create it, their passion can also be a pitfall. Many musicians are exposed to dangerous noise levels, which over time, can diminish their ability to hear. How so? Keep reading to find out.

The dangers of making music

Any noises above 85 decibels (dB) can damage the fragile hair cells in the ears that pick up sound—and once those cells are harmed, they can’t be healed or grow back. Unfortunately, musicians are regularly surrounded by loud noises. A drum set can reach 100 dB, an amplified guitar can reach 106 dB, and the speakers at a rock concern can blast sounds at 120 dB or higher.

It’s clear how a lifetime around loud music can catch up to musicians sooner or later. Just consider the number of famous musicians who have recently announced that they have severe hearing loss, like Eric Clapton, Roger Daltrey, and Huey Lewis.

Still, hearing loss isn’t the only concern. There’s the danger of developing tinnitus—a phantom ringing, humming, or buzzing in your ears. This is also caused by exposure to loud noise and is common among musicians. It’s even referenced in the Bob Seger song “Turn the Page” about the life of a musician. He sings, “Later in the evening as you lie awake in bed, with the echoes of the amplifiers ringing in your head.”

Please don’t stop the music

If you love making music, do you have to give up your passion to save your ears from hearing loss and tinnitus?

Nope—you just need to take the proper precautions, and wearing hearing protection is an easy way to decrease your risk. But not all hearing protection options are the same. Signia offers custom hearing protection created just for musicians. A special filter makes sure you can still hear sounds across the frequency spectrum (essential for a musician), while protecting from excessive noise.

If you already have noise-induced hearing loss, hearing aids can help you hear properly once again. Just consider how Dave Gellis, guitarist for the band Blood, Sweat and Tears, developed hearing loss after decades of playing with the band. While it makes sense that hearing aids could help him hear better off the stage, you might be surprised to learn that his Signia Pure® Charge&Go hearing aids also help him when performing. They give greater clarity to the music so he can pick up on the nuances and cues from the rest of the band.

Hearing help for musicians

While hearing loss is common among musicians, taking the proper precautions can help experienced and aspiring musicians alike maintain their hearing health. And if hearing loss is already present, hearing aids can help you hear better on the stage and off, as Dave Gellis experienced. They can even help to manage tinnitus symptoms.

To learn how Signia can help protect and address the effects of music on your ears, schedule a visit with a hearing care professional.