Do you crank up the volume when your favorite song comes on the radio? You aren’t on your own. When you pump up the music, you can feel it in your gut. And it’s enjoyable. But, here’s the situation: there can also be considerable damage done.
The relationship between music and hearing loss is closer than we previously understood. Volume is the biggest concern(this is based on how many times each day you listen and how intense the volume is). And it’s one of the reasons that countless of today’s musicians are changing their tune to protect their hearing.
Musicians And Hearing Loss
It’s a fairly well-known 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). There’s even one narrative about how the composer was conducting one of his symphonies and had 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 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–are now going public with their personal hearing loss experiences.
From Eric Clapton to Neil Diamond to will.i.am, the stories all seem remarkably similar. Being a musician means spending just about every day stuck between blaring speakers and deafening crowds. The trauma that the ears experience every day eventually results in noticeable harm: hearing loss and tinnitus.
Not a Musician? Still an Issue
You might think that because you aren’t personally a rock star or a musician, this may not apply to you. You don’t have millions of adoring fans screaming at you (usually). And you’re not standing in front of a wall of amplifiers.
But your favorite playlist and a set of earbuds are things you do have. And that can be a serious 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 damaging and continuous sounds make this one time cliche grievance into a substantial cause for worry.
So When You’re Listening to Music, How Can You Safeguard Your Ears?
As with most scenarios admitting that there’s a problem is the first step. Raising awareness will help some people (particularly younger, more naive people) figure out that they’re putting their hearing in danger. But you also need to take some further steps too:
- Control your volume: If you exceed a safe volume your smartphone might alert you. You should adhere to these warnings if you value your long-term hearing.
- Wear ear protection: Wear earplugs when you go to a concert or any other live music show. They won’t really lessen your experience. But they will protect your ears from the worst 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.).
- Get a volume-checking app: You may not comprehend just how loud a rock concert or music venue is. It can be useful to download one of several free apps that will give you a volume measurement of your environment. This will help you keep track of what’s dangerous and isn’t.
It’s rather straight forward math: the more often you put your ears at risk, the more extensive your hearing loss could be later in life. Eric Clapton, for instance, has completely lost his hearing. He probably wishes he begun wearing earplugs a lot sooner.
Decreasing exposure, then, is the best way to reduce damage. That can be tricky for people who work at a concert venue. Part of the strategy is wearing ear protection.
But all of us would be a little better off if we simply turned the volume down to practical levels.