Musician protecting his hearing from hearing loss.

When your favorite song comes on the radio, do you find yourself cranking the volume up? You aren’t on your own. When you pump up your music, you can feel it in your gut. And it’s something you can truly enjoy. But there’s one thing you should recognize: there can also be considerable damage done.

The relationship between music and hearing loss is closer than we once understood. Volume is the biggest issue(this is in regards to how many times each day you listen and how extreme the volume is). And it’s one of the reasons that many of today’s musicians are changing their tune to protect their hearing.

Hearing Loss And Musicians

It’s a rather 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 needed to be turned around when his performance was finished because he couldn’t hear the thundering applause of the crowd.

Beethoven may be the first and most famous example of the deaf musician, but he definitely isn’t the last. In more recent times quite a few musicians who are widely recognized for playing at extremely loud volumes are coming forward with their stories of hearing loss.

From Neil Diamond to Eric Clapton to will.i.am, the stories all seem amazingly similar. Being a musician means spending almost every day sandwiched between blaring speakers and booming crowds. The trauma which the ears experience on a daily basis eventually leads to noticeable harm: tinnitus and hearing loss.

Not a Musician? Still an Issue

Being someone who isn’t a rock star (at least in terms of the profession, we all know you’re a rock star in terms of personality), you may have a difficult time connecting this to your personal concerns. You don’t have millions of adoring fans screaming at you (usually). And you don’t have huge amplifiers behind you every day.

But you do have a set of earbuds and your favorite playlist. And that’s the concern. It’s become effortless for each 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 considerable cause for concern.

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

As with most situations 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:

  • Keep your volume in check: Many modern smartphones will let you know when you’re going beyond safe limits on volume. If you care about your long-term hearing, you should adhere to these warnings.
  • Download a volume-checking app: You might not comprehend just how loud a rock concert or music venue is. It can be useful to download one of a few free apps that will provide you with a volume measurement of the space you’re in. As a result, when harmful levels are reached you will be aware of it.
  • Wear ear protection: When you attend a rock concert (or any type of musical event or show), wear earplugs. Your experience won’t be lessened by using ear protection. But they will protect your ears from the worst of the injury. (By the way, wearing ear protection is what most of your favorite musicians are currently doing to protect their hearing, so even the cool kids are doing it).

Limit Exposure

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

The best way to reduce your damage, then, is to lessen your exposure. That can be challenging for individuals who work at a concert venue. Ear protection may supply part of a solution there.

But turning the volume down to practical levels is also a smart idea.

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