As musicians, we give our ears quite a workout.
Not only do we put them to good use every time we sing or play an instrument, but we tend to listen to a lot of music on headphones, from radios, and in concerts because we love it so much.
Then there’s all of the other everyday sounds we encounter in our lives, from car horns to sirens to thunderstorms to machinery. Processing all of this noise can gradually take a toll on our ears.
It can be hard to know how to protect our hearing in the midst of it all. Here are some steps that will help.
Watch Your Volume
You’ve probably heard this a million times before, but prolonged exposure to loud noises often leads to hearing loss.
But for this word of caution to mean anything, we need a good working definition for “loud noises”. According to Mayo Clinic, anything at 85 decibels or higher is in the risk range for potential hearing loss.
A dishwasher is listed as 75 decibels, so anything much louder than that would be in the risk range. A symphony, for example, is at 110 decibels.
Now, it’s pretty hard for musicians to avoid symphonies and other similar activities, but we can take care to limit our exposure to other loud sounds wherever we can.
If you must be around loud noises, try to limit the amount of time you are exposed to them.
If you have a chance to get away from that revving motorcycle or or that blaring radio, then take it. Every precaution helps!
Use Hearing Protection
Wearing ear protection is essential for those times when you need to do something loud, like use a leaf blower or operate a power saw. Noise-canceling headphones offer the best protection.
Also, wearing headphones that are playing really loud music does not count as ear protection! This article gives some great suggestions on how to know if the volume on your headphones is cranked up too high.
Remember, music is noise also, even though it’s our favorite kind of noise.
Give Your Ears a Break
It’s always good to be able to rest your ears from time to time.
Try giving them a short break from processing music, TV, cat videos on YouTube, or whatever else you tend to use them for. Your future hearing will thank you.
Ditch the Cotton Swabs
I know, I know. It’s just so tempting to use these in our ears even though the box clearly says not to.
Unfortunately, they have been linked to ruptured eardrums and hearing loss, so it would probably be best to break ourselves of this particular habit.
What steps do you take to protect your hearing? Leave a comment below.