Musicians and Hearing Loss: What You Need to Know

hearing loss musiciansThere’s nothing quite like a rock concert. The thrill of the crowd, the fun atmosphere, and of course, the loud music. And as anyone who has ever made it to the front of the stage can tell you, concerts tend to get quite loud. While concerts can be fun, they can also be harmful to your hearing. That’s twice as true for musicians, who are at a much higher risk for tinnitus than the general public. But what exactly are the risks of hearing loss musicians should keep stock of? Keep reading for details on what to watch out for.

How Hearing Loss Works

Let’s start with the very basics and learn how exactly hearing loss occurs. All hearing, from shrill whines of a computer to a human voice, are ranked according to a measurement. This unit, known as decibels (or dB for short) is a pretty handy way of measuring sound’s effect on the human ear. On average, the human voice tends to be around 60 dB give or take a few dBs. Most concerts, however, are about twice that. It’s the equivalent of someone screaming directly into your ear. The more exposure a person has to high-decibel sounds, the more worn down your inner ear’s nerves and hairs get. Eventually, you’re left with little to no protective barrier. The result? A far quieter world.

Is the Hearing Loss Musicians Face Reversible?

If you’re a frequent concert-goer, you probably can’t hear particularly well a day or two after. In short, you sustained a bit of inner ear damage. However, often your hearing will come back, albeit a little lessened. With that said, the same can’t be said for many musicians, especially those who play regular gigs and don’t use earplugs. Think of your inner ear as a block of ice, slowly chipping away. The older you get, the less and less ice there is — which is natural. But external factors, such as loud music, act as less of an ice chipper and more of a jackhammer. As you’d imagine, once your hearing is damaged, it’s pretty much damaged for good. The chances of hearing loss greatly increase with increased exposure and can speed up the process greatly.

What is Tinnitus?

Perhaps the number one issue musicians face when it comes to hearing loss is tinnitus. Those who suffer from tinnitus often hear a constant high whirr or ring in their ears. Sounds annoying, doesn’t it? Well, that sound doesn’t go away, though there are treatments. Worse, it can cause dizziness and throw off your balance. A person with tinnitus has extremely damaged inner ear nerves. These nerves send random electrical impulses to the brain, which interprets them as sound.

What Can Be Done About Hearing Loss Musicians Have?

All of this begs the question, should you stop playing music? Of course not! But there are a few things you can do to protect your hearing along the way. First, make sure to wear earplugs at all times. This cannot be stressed enough. It’s like a layer of protection for your inner ear. You may also want to consult a specialist, like those at the Atlanta Hearing Institute. Get in touch today to see how we can help you get your hearing back!
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