Tinnitus in Musicians – Protect Your Hearing
Exposure to loud noise can lead to hearing loss and Tinnitus, a ringing sound experienced in the ears. Musicians are at much higher risk of hearing loss due to increased and prolonged exposure to loud noise.
Recommended Noise Exposure for Musicians
The recommended noise exposure limit from NIOSH is an 8-hour average at 85 decibels, although the duration is halved for every 3-decibel increase. As an example, exposure at 100 decibels should reduce the duration of listening from 8 hours to no more than 15 minutes. (Source – Niosh)
This clearly poses a problem for musicians where percussion averages 90-105 decibels and a drummer at an indoor music festival would average 105db but with peaks at up to 144 decibels! (Source – soundadvice). For this drummer at 105db, the exposure duration should be reduced to just 3-4 minutes, an unlikely scenario!
Tinnitus and Hearing Loss in Musicians
Tinnitus is often described as a ringing, whistling, buzzing or humming sound in the ears and unfortunately, there is no cure for Tinnitus. The old saying goes “prevention is better than cure” and in the case of no cure, prevention is the only option.
Protecting your Hearing in the Music Industry
1. Wear hearing protection whenever possible, such as ear plugs or head phones.
2. Use a decibel reader to determine your exposure level and be more aware.
3. Increase the space between yourselves and musical instruments or speakers to lower the exposure.
4. Take regular breaks to decrease the pressure caused by exposure.
5. Take part in a hearing protection programme for regular hearing tests and treatments.
6. Play music at lower exposure levels when possible.
Working with Cubex to Protect Musicians Hearing
Cubex work with many musicians to conduct regular hearing sensitivity and functional tests and continue on an ongoing hearing protection plan. An assessment at Cubex involves more than a hearing test; we measure your ability to listen and understand sounds. Hearing happens at the brain so these assessments give you an idea how you process the acoustic information provided to you through hearing.