Do you crank up the volume when your favorite song comes on the radio? You aren’t alone. When you pump up your music, you can feel it in your gut. And it’s fun. But, here’s the thing: it can also cause some significant damage.
The relationship between music and hearing loss is closer than we previously thought. Volume is the biggest problem(this is in regards to how many times daily you listen and how intense the volume is). And it’s one of the reasons that lots of today’s musicians are changing their tune to save their hearing.
Hearing Loss And Musicians
It’s a rather famous irony that, later in life, classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven was hard of hearing. He was only able to hear his compositions in his head. On one occasion he even needed to be turned around to see the thunderous applause from his audience because he couldn’t hear it.
Beethoven may be the first and most well-known example of the deaf musician, but he definitely isn’t the last. In fact, a far more recent generation of rock musicians, all known for turning their speakers (and performances) up to 11–have begun to go public with their personal hearing loss experiences.
From Neil Diamond to Eric Clapton to will.i.am, the stories all sound amazingly similar. Musicians spend a huge amount of time coping with crowd noise and loud speakers. The trauma which the ears experience every day eventually brings about noticeable harm: tinnitus and hearing loss.
Not a Musician? Still a Problem
Being someone who isn’t a rock star (at least when it comes to the profession, everybody knows you’re a rock star in terms of personality), you could have a difficult time relating this to your personal worries. You don’t have millions of cheering fans screaming for you (usually). And you’re not standing near a wall of amplifiers.
But you do have a pair of earbuds and your chosen playlist. And there’s the problem. Thanks to the modern features of earbuds, nearly everyone can experience life like a musician, flooded by sound and music that are way too loud.
The ease with which you can expose yourself to damaging and constant sounds make this once cliche complaint into a considerable cause for alarm.
So How Can You Safeguard Your Ears While Listening to Music?
As with most scenarios admitting that there’s a problem is the first step. People are putting their hearing in danger and need to be made aware of it (especially more impressionable, younger people). But you also should take some further steps too:
- Wear earplugs: When you attend a rock concert (or any kind of musical event or show), use hearing protection. They won’t really diminish your experience. But they will safeguard your ears from the most severe of the injury. (And don’t think that using hearing protection will make you uncool because it’s what most of your favorite musicians are doing.).
- Control your volume: Many modern smartphones will let you know when you’re exceeding healthy limits on volume. If you care about your long-term hearing, you should adhere to these warnings.
- Get a volume-monitoring app: You might not comprehend just how loud a rock concert or music venue is. Wherever you find yourself, the volume of your environment can be calculated with one of several free apps that can be downloaded to your smartphone. In this way, when hazardous levels are reached you will be aware of it.
It’s fairly simple math: the more often you put your ears at risk, the more extensive your hearing loss later in life could be. Eric Clapton, as an example, has entirely lost his hearing. If he realized this would happen, he probably would have begun protecting his hearing sooner.
Reducing exposure, then, is the best way to reduce damage. That can be difficult for people who work around live music. Ear protection could provide part of a solution there.
But all of us would be a lot better off if we simply turned the volume down to practical levels.