When your favorite song comes on the radio, do you find yourself cranking the volume up? Many people do that. There’s something intuitive about pumping up the jam. And it’s something you can truly take pleasure in. But there’s one thing you should know: there can also be considerable damage done.
In the past we weren’t informed about the relationship between music and hearing loss. Volume is the biggest issue(this is based on how many times each day you listen and how extreme the volume is). And it’s one of the reasons that countless of today’s musicians are changing their tune to save their hearing.
Hearing Loss And Musicians
It’s a pretty famous irony that, later in life, classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven was hard of hearing. He couldn’t hear any of the pieces he created (except in his head). There’s even one story about how the composer was conducting one of his symphonies and needed to be turned around when his performance was finished because he was unable to hear the thundering applause of the crowd.
Beethoven is certainly not the only instance of hearing issues in musicians. In more recent times lots of musicians who are widely recognized for playing at very loud volumes are coming forward with their stories of hearing loss.
From Neil Diamond to Eric Clapton to will.i.am, the stories all sound remarkably similar. Being a musician means spending almost every day stuck between blaring speakers and roaring crowds. The trauma which the ears experience on a daily basis gradually leads to noticeable damage: tinnitus and hearing loss.
Even if You Aren’t a Musician This Could Still be a Problem
You may think that because you aren’t personally a rock star or a musician, this might not apply to you. You don’t have millions of cheering fans screaming for you (usually). And you don’t have massive amplifiers behind you every day.
But your favorite playlist and a set of earbuds are things you do have. And that’s the concern. It’s become effortless for every single one of us to experience music like rock stars do, way too loud.
The ease with which you can subject yourself to harmful and constant sounds make this once cliche grievance into a considerable cause for alarm.
So When You’re Listening to Music, How Can You Protect Your Ears?
As with most scenarios admitting that there’s an issue is the first step. Raising awareness will help some people (particularly younger, more naive people) become aware that they’re putting their hearing in jeopardy. But there are other (additional) steps you can also take:
- Wear earplugs: Put in earplugs when you attend a concert or any other live music event. Your experience won’t be lessened by using ear protection. But your ears will be protected from additional damage. (And don’t think that using hearing protection will make you uncool because it’s what the majority of your favorite musicians are doing.).
- Download a volume-monitoring app: You are probably unaware of the actual volume of a rock concert. It can be useful to get one of several free apps that will provide you with a volume measurement of the space you’re in. In this way, when dangerous levels are reached you will know it.
- Keep your volume under control: If you exceed a safe volume your smartphone might alert you. If you value your long-term hearing, you should adhere to these warnings.
In many ways, the math here is pretty straight forward: you will have more extreme hearing loss later on the more often you put your hearing at risk. Eric Clapton, for instance, has entirely lost his hearing. He probably wishes he begun wearing earplugs a lot sooner.
The best way to lessen your damage, then, is to limit your exposure. For musicians (and for individuals who happen to work at music venues), that can be difficult. Part of the strategy is ear protection.
But everyone would be a lot better off if we simply turned the volume down to reasonable levels.