R&B, rock and roll, symphonic, rhythm, blues, jazz, classic or modern does not matter to me, I love the sounds of the instruments and the vocals. Music is strong, powerful and connective. It allows one to recall events, while bringing up emotions, and moving one both physically and emotionally.

Think of the music behind the story line in movies and the impact it has in making or breaking the mood. Many listen to their music loudly, preferring to almost feel the music, get pumped up or energized.

Musicians spend many hours practicing their art. We do not discuss the hazards to this art form to the hearing mechanism. Hearing health needs to be a lifelong success as a musician. The musician as well as the listener, can cause a permanent noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) if not careful. Such danger is constant.

NHIL is preventable. You must avoid overexposure to loud sounds, especially over a long period of time. This is why many of the cell phones have a warning on them when listening to music via earphones or buds. The closer you are to the sound source, the increased risk of hearing loss.

Sounds over 85dB (i.e. vacuum cleaner) cause the greatest risk of permanent loss. This increases with volume and length of time. Consider the following strategies to assist in the reduction of permanent damage thus enjoying your music for a lifetime. Whether using either an acoustical or electrical instrument, practice at safe volume. Use earplugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing. There are custom hearing protectors made especially for musicians which are high quality.

Learn that you need to take care of your hearing health not just when practicing your instrument but also when in the car, at a concert or watching television. When utilizing headphones, keep your monitor levels low. This not only helps you to continue to enjoy your music but others as well. If someone can hear the music through your earphones/buds your loudness needs to be turned down.

Know and understand when you are experiencing listener fatigue, take a break. Understand the acoustics of the room you are performing in and practicing in. Different venues have different acoustics.

Consider an in-ear monitor (IEM) to replace wedge systems. IEMs reduce the risk of hearing damage when coupled with a reduction of monitoring levels. Some of the strategies do cost you in the short term; however, if you want to hear the music in the long term, the price is worth it. If you need to raise your voice to talk over the music, it is too loud.

Come give us a visit at JC Optical & Hearing so we may assist you in hearing the sounds of music for a lifetime.


Jason Cheema