Hearing loss is very serious and it is an issue that is a major concern for all.
It's an especially important issue for people who are professional musicians.
Only recently, the Bafta-winning film Sound of Metal highlighted every musician’s worst nightmare. Ruben Stone, portrayed by Riz Ahmed – who was up for the best actor Oscar – is a metal drummer who loses his hearing, and the film depicts this loss of hearing exactly as he hears it. Over time the world around him and the sounds he once used to play, suddenly fade to a muted and distorted sound.
The movie has really given a face to a crisis in hearing damage right across the music industry, be it through deafness or tinnitus (a constant ringing in the ears), and most of all, bringing more awareness to hearing damage in general.
Loud Sounds and Hearing Loss
There are many different causes of hearing loss. Aging is a primary one; everyone loses a bit of their hearing ability each year. However, if you are still young and are finding that you don't hear as well as you used to, other causes may be the culprit.
Loud noises also cause hearing loss. If you spend a lot of time near heavy machinery such as construction, farming, or factory equipment, your hearing may suffer. Exposure to even one-time loud noises like gunshots or jet engines can also damage your hearing as well.
Musicians are exposed to loud sounds every day. Some musical instruments are louder than others, but almost any instrument, if played loud enough over a long enough period of time, can cause hearing loss. Professional musicians are almost four times as likely to suffer from hearing loss than the general public, and they are 57% more susceptible to tinnitus, a condition that causes constant ringing in the ears.
Tips for Hearing Protection
Despite these alarming facts, there are many things that everyone can do to protect their hearing before hearing loss symptoms start to appear. Even if symptoms are already evident, these tips can also help to slow the progression.
If you believe you may have hearing loss, it's wise to get a hearing loss test. In some cases, hearing loss treatment is available and your local hearing clinician will help you. However, other times, hearing loss is permanent. You should protect your hearing so you won't have to worry about not being able to hear in the future.
1. Understand Hearing Loss
One of the best ways to protect your hearing is to stay informed and to understand how hearing works. When you are aware of all of the factors that contribute to hearing loss, you'll be better able to avoid them.
When it comes to music, the loudness of the music is a big factor, but your hearing can also be affected by how close you are to the speakers and how long you are exposed to the loud sounds as well. If you wear headphones, the way you use the headphones and the type of headphones you use can also play a part, and a family history of hearing loss can be a contributing factor as well. The same is said for any environment, if you’re on a tractor, or a motorcycle, even a loud workplace, all of these environments where you are exposed to loud noises play a major factor in your hearing loss.
2. Take Breaks
If you're a musician, then you know how great it can be when you get into a flow state. When you're really in the zone, your creativity just soars.
However, it's important that you take breaks from playing and practicing for your hearing's sake. The volume of the music matters, but so does the length of time you are exposed to it. When practicing, take a break every hour; when performing, be sure to take set breaks as well. This also applies to any loud environment, if you can, take a small break to lessen the exposure time.
3. Wear Ear Protection
There are so many excellent products on the market today to help you to protect your hearing. These are a fantastic investment for musicians of any kind. You can purchase simple earplugs for next to nothing, or have custom earplugs made for you that are of the highest quality available. Noise-canceling headphones are also a great way to muffle the music and to protect your ears.
4. Know When to See a Hearing Clinician
Hearing loss symptoms often come on gradually, so you might not even notice your hearing loss at first.
However, if you start to notice a ringing in your ears, or that you have to ask people to repeat themselves more than you used to, it may be time to see a doctor.
Other symptoms can include challenges with hearing high-pitched sounds or women's voices or the television. When some sounds seem louder than normal, that can also be a sign of an issue.
Protect Your Hearing
Hearing loss affects men and women everywhere. If you're a musician, a farmer, or just in a noisy workplace environment, damaging your hearing is not a risk that you should ever take. It's easy to protect your hearing if you take the simple steps to do so.
If you think you may need a hearing test, please contact us today to make an appointment. We offer hearing tests and a wide range of other hearing services to meet your needs. We look forward to serving you.