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Hearing Protection for Musicians and Music Lovers

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Over the last week or so there have been a lot of articles surrounding the new film ‘Sound of Metal’ and hearing.

The film, which was released on Amazon Prime earlier this month, is about a drummer who realises his hearing is rapidly deteriorating, and how hearing loss turns his world upside down. Since its release there have been a lot of conversations and articles surrounding hearing loss and tinnitus in musicians and the importance of hearing protection for musicians and music lovers.

Professional musicians are at a high risk of developing noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus due to their high amount of exposure to loud music over long periods of time. This can affect their lives dramatically by impacting the way they work, their perception of harmonies and often causes anxiety and depression. Studies show that 40-50% of musicians experience some level of tinnitus, creating additional challenges that the average tinnitus sufferer does not experience.

According to the maximum exposure times for noise intensities, a live rock band can be listened to for a maximum of 66 seconds before damage may occur. Typically, a gig can last up to 2 hours, if not longer which is a long amount of time to be exposed to such loud noise and often leaves people with a ringing in their ears for a long time after the event. Whilst some seasoned gig goers might know these risks and be prepared with their hearing protection, others may not, exposing themselves to harmful noise levels.

Workers in bars and events venues are trained and educated to understand the risks involved in working in environments where sound is over 85 dB, but as a visitor to these venues there are no rules. Staff and musicians may be wearing ear plugs, but no one will tell you to wear them or make you aware of the risks.

The British Tinnitus Association have launched a campaign to reduce the stigma of wearing ear plugs and encourage the use of them at gigs, nightclubs and festivals. The ‘plug’em’ campaign is working with bars, clubs and music venues to make people aware of the decibel levels and show there are free earplugs available to use. It may be unknown to many, but most bars and music venues do have earplugs available, however it is not regularly advertised. The campaign has free posters for venues to display behind the bar, making music lovers aware there is hearing protection available.

At The Ear Place we are able to make custom ear plugs for a range of activities and professions to offer protection from noise exposure, including in-ear monitors often used by dj’s and professional musicians to control sound levels on stage. These products are custom made to ensure maximum protection and comfort, while allowing you to hear at a safe level.

As we begin to come out of lockdown and resume normality, music events will start to become popular again. Make sure you can continue to enjoy them by protecting your hearing!


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