Musicians & Hearing Loss

Musicians & Hearing Loss

In Hearing Health, Hearing Loss by Jack Felix, ACA, BC, HISLeave a Comment

Jack Felix, ACA, BC, HIS

Musicians have an amazing job. They spend their time writing great songs, recording their music in the studio, and performing in front of fans in packed auditoriums. Being a professional musician is a dream job, but it comes with some hazards. Many famous musicians are opening up about their hearing loss, and blame years of loud concerts for their hearing loss.

Musicians with Hearing Loss

The list of musicians with hearing loss gets longer every year. Huey Lewis and the News stopped touring because Lewis struggles with hearing loss. Eric Clapton has opened up about his hearing loss, and Roger Daltrey from The Who says he relies on hearing aids to overcome his severe hearing loss.

  • Pete Townshend: Famous for his epic rock operas and his habit of smashing guitars on stage, Pete Townshend struggles with hearing loss on and off stage. He’s found a way to play shows despite his hearing loss, but it isn’t always easy.
  • Sting: Known for his time with The Police, Sting has hearing loss, but avoided wearing hearing aids for many years. When he developed tinnitus, he started taking his hearing health more seriously, and now he’s an ambassador for the Hear The World Foundation.
  • Eric Clapton: Another rock n’ roll legend with hearing loss is Eric Clapton. He also has tinnitus that makes it hard for him to enjoy music, or even get a good night’s sleep.
  • Ozzy Osbourne: Heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne also has hearing loss. Heavy metal is notoriously loud, and years of performing on stage has left Osbourne with significant hearing loss.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Why do so many famous musicians have hearing loss? It’s all about the music. Noise induced hearing loss is extremely common among performers. That’s because these artists spend hours every day surrounded by loud noise. Whether they’re in the studio recording their latest song, or standing on stage in front of a packed auditorium, musicians are exposed to very loud noise day in and day out. 

Loud noise can very quickly lead to hearing loss. Once sounds are louder than 85 decibels (dB), your ears are exposed to sounds that can damage or destroy the cells in the inner ear. 85 dB is about the volume of heavy traffic, your lawn mower, or a crowded restaurant. Rock concerts can often top 110 dB! At this volume, even a few minutes can lead to hearing loss for both musicians and fans.

Ongoing Exposure to Noise

If you attend a very loud concert, you may leave with a ringing in your ears, or feel like sounds are very muffled. This temporary tinnitus or hearing loss usually goes away in a couple hours and you forget all about it. However, you have done some permanent damage to your ears. 

For musicians who don’t protect their hearing, night after night of these loud concerts leads to permanent hearing loss and tinnitus. This hearing loss will affect musicians’ personal and professional life. They’ll have a hard time hearing during conversations with their loved ones, and tinnitus can keep them awake at night. On stage, they’ll struggle to hear clearly.

Protecting Your Hearing

Whether you’re a budding musician or an avid concert goer, protecting your hearing is extremely important. When you’re exposed to sounds over 85 dB, you need to protect your hearing. Take a pair of earplugs with you to every concert, and wear them whenever it gets loud. A good rule of thumb is to try talking to the person next to you. If you have to yell, it’s too loud and you should put in your earplugs.

If you’re concerned about the sound quality when wearing earplugs, you can invest in musicians earplugs rather than relying on foam earplugs. Musicians earplugs are digital devices that will protect your ears from loud sounds. The devices analyze the sounds around you, and if you’re listening to a soft song, all the music will reach your ears normally. However, as soon as the volume turns up, the earplugs will protect your ears from loud sounds by decreasing the volume of these sounds.

Contact us to find out more about musicians ear plugs, tinnitus treatment, and hearing aids to help you hear all your favorite songs. 

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