Harmful decibel levels are the top most cause of hearing loss the world over. And some of the most affected professions include the military, police, disaster responders, and industrial workers. However, at the very top of this list are musicians. More than any other group, musicians are most affected by hearing loss due to harmful noise. And this does not include music artists alone; music producers and music technicians are just as affected. Read on to learn more.
Musicians are most affected by hearing loss because their careers expose them to loud music at every turn. They professions require them to regularly listen to music and at loud volumes. When creating music, musicians have to spend hours in the music studios listening to beats, recording, playing back recorded tracks, listening to finished tracks, and so forth. And as a way of evaluating finished music, they spend a lot of time listening to their fresh creations. And when gauging the competition out there, they spend hours listening to music from other artists as well. During performances, they spend hours exposed to loud club and concert music. And when they go on tours, which can sometimes last up to weeks, they are further exposed to prolonged harmful decibels.
The harmful decibel levels that musicians are exposed to
Noises that exceed 80 decibels are deemed to be harmful for one’s hearing and can cause hearing loss within hours, or even minutes of very loud blasts. In order to understand the hearing risk that musicians are in, we are going to look at the harmful decibel levels that they are exposed to in their normal routine:
- Recording music in the studio – 100dB. At this noise level, hearing loss can start to occur within 15 minutes. This type of noise level is equivalent to a tractor or a motorcycle.
- Loud playback music in the studio – 110dB. This level of harmful decibels can cause permanent hearing loss in just about 10 minutes. This noise level is equivalent to that of a power saw.
- Club music – 120 dB. At this noise level, permanent hearing loss can start to occur in less than 5 minutes. The noise level is equivalent to that of a shotgun.
- Concert music – 140dB. Concert music can cause hearing loss in less than a minute of exposure. A loud rock concert is so loud, it is equivalent to a jet takeoff.
Famous musicians that have/had hearing loss
To illustrate just how real the threat of hearing loss to musicians is, here is a short preview of musicians who have suffered hearing loss.
- Ludwig van Beethoven – 18th Century composer
- Ozzy Osbourne – rock and roll artist
- Pete Townsend – rock music guitarist
- i.am – Pop artist
- Chris Martin – Member of Coldplay music band
And the list goes on and on.
How musicians can prevent/limit hearing loss
All hope is not lost for musicians. They can limit their exposure to harmful decibel levels in a number of ways.
- Listening to music at lower volumes while recording.
- Reducing time spent in recording studios (especially when not recording).
- Reducing time spent in clubs (especially when not performing).
- Spacing the duration between each concert or performance.
- Reducing the output volume during concerts and performances.
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