Musician protecting his hearing from hearing loss.

Do you crank the volume up when your favorite song comes on the radio? Many people do that. When you pump up your music, you can feel it in your gut. And it’s something you can really take pleasure in. But, here’s the thing: there can also be significant harm done.

The relationship between hearing loss and music is closer than we once thought. Volume is the biggest issue(this is based on how many times a day you listen and how excessive the volume is). And it’s one of the reasons that countless of today’s musicians are changing their tune to save their hearing.

Musicians And Hearing Loss

It’s a fairly famous irony that, when he got older, classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven was hard of hearing. He couldn’t hear any of the music he composed (except in his head). On one occasion he even needed to be turned around to see the thunderous applause from his audience because he wasn’t able to hear it.

Beethoven is certainly not the only example of hearing issues in musicians. In fact, a far more recent generation of rock musicians, all known for cranking their speakers (and performances) up to 11–have begun to go public with their personal hearing loss experiences.

From Eric Clapton to Neil Diamond to will.i.am, the stories all sound remarkably similar. Musicians spend a huge amount of time coping with crowd noise and loud speakers. The trauma which the ears experience every day eventually results in noticeable harm: hearing loss and tinnitus.

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 may not apply to you. You’re not playing for large crowds. And you don’t have massive amplifiers behind you daily.

But your favorite playlist and a set of earbuds are things you do have. And that can be a real problem. It’s become effortless for each one of us to experience music like rock stars do, at way too high a volume.

The ease with which you can expose yourself to detrimental and continuous sounds make this one time cliche grievance into a significant cause for concern.

So How Can You Safeguard Your Ears While Listening to Music?

As with most situations admitting that there’s a problem is the first step. People are putting their hearing in jeopardy and have to be made aware of it (especially more impressionable, younger people). But you also need to take some other steps too:

  • Keep your volume in check: If you exceed a safe listening level, your smartphone might let you know. If you value your long-term hearing, you should listen to these warnings.
  • Use earplugs: Put in earplugs when you attend a concert or any other live music event. They won’t really diminish your experience. But they will safeguard your ears from the most severe of the injury. (And don’t assume that using hearing protection will make you uncool because it’s what the majority of your favorite musicians are doing.).
  • Get 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 give you a volume measurement of the space you’re in. As a result, when hazardous levels are reached you will know it.

Limit Exposure

In many ways, the math here is rather simple: the more often you put your ears at risk, the more significant your hearing loss could be later in life. Eric Clapton, for example, has completely lost his hearing. He likely wishes he started wearing earplugs a lot sooner.

The best way to lessen your damage, then, is to minimize your exposure. That can be difficult for individuals who work around live music. Ear protection might supply part of a solution there.

But everyone would be a lot better off if we just turned the volume down to practical levels.

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