Musician protecting his hearing from hearing loss.

Do you turn up the volume when your favorite song comes on the radio? You aren’t on your own. There’s something intuitive about pumping up the music. And it’s something you can truly enjoy. But there’s one thing you should recognize: it can also result in some appreciable damage.

The connection between music and hearing loss is closer than we previously concluded. 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 save their hearing.

Musicians And Hearing Loss

It’s a pretty famous irony that, later in life, classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven was hard of hearing. He couldn’t hear any of the music he created (except in his head). On one occasion he even had to be turned around to see the thunderous applause from his audience because he wasn’t able to hear it.

Beethoven might be the first and most famous example of the deaf musician, but he certainly isn’t the last. In fact, a far more recent generation of rock musicians, all famous for turning their speakers (and performances) up to 11–have begun to go public with their own hearing loss experiences.

From Eric Clapton to Neil Diamond 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. Noticeable damage including tinnitus and hearing loss will eventually be the result.

Even if You’re Not a Musician This Could Still be an Issue

As a non-rock star (at least when it comes to the profession, we all know you’re a rock star in terms of personality), you might have a difficult time connecting this to your personal concerns. You don’t have millions of cheering fans screaming for you (usually). And you’re not standing near a wall of amplifiers.

But your favorite playlist and a pair of earbuds are things you do have. And there’s the concern. Thanks to the modern capabilities of earbuds, pretty much everyone can experience life like a musician, flooded by sound and music that are way too loud.

This one little thing can now become a substantial issue.

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

So, the first step is that we admit there’s an issue (that’s kind of always the first step, but it’s particularly true in this case). People are putting their hearing in danger and have to be made aware of it (particularly more impressionable, younger people). But you also should take some further steps too:

  • Get a volume-monitoring app: You might not comprehend just how loud a rock concert or music venue is. Wherever you find yourself, the volume of your environment can be calculated with one of many free apps that can be downloaded to your smartphone. As a result, when dangerous levels are reached you will be aware of it.
  • Wear ear protection: Use earplugs when you go to a concert or any other live music event. They won’t really lessen your experience. But they will protect your ears from the most severe of the damage. (And don’t think that using hearing protection will make you uncool because it’s what the majority of your favorite musicians are doing.).
  • Keep your volume in check: If you go above a safe listening level, your smartphone might alert you. You should adhere to these safety measures if you care about your long-term hearing.

Limit Exposure

In a lot of ways, the math here is rather straight forward: the more often you put your ears at an increased risk, the more extensive your hearing loss could be later in life. Eric Clapton, for instance, has entirely lost his hearing. He likely wishes he started wearing earplugs a lot sooner.

Decreasing exposure, then, is the best way to limit damage. That can be tough for people who work at a concert venue. Ear protection might provide part of a solution there.

But everybody would be a lot better off if we just turned the volume down to practical levels.

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