Are musicians at greater risk of hearing loss?

Hany Ghonaim

Written by Laura Abdulnour

Musicians and Hearing Loss

Their ears are musicians’ most precious instrument. Without fully functional ears; a musician can be forced to retire.  

Ironically, while a musician’s ears are essential to his work, that same work has the potential to greatly damage the ears. Musicians are exposed to very high sound levels during rehearsals and concerts, reaching up to and over 120 decibels, the sound intensity of a jet engine! Therefore, they are at much greater risk of hearing loss and tinnitus than the general population. 

Particularities of Orchestral Musicians 

While hearing damage is often associated with rock musicians, the reality is that orchestral musicians are also at risks of hearing impairment. Moreover, orchestral musicians have the particularity that some of their instruments can create an asymmetrical hearing loss (greater in one ear than the other).  

Below, a chart with various musical instruments and the sound intensity they produce. Repeated exposure to sound levels of 85 decibels and above can cause hearing damage. The higher the intensity level, the faster the hearing damage happens.   

Musicians and Hearing Loss

As a musician, the adage ‘prevention is better than cure’ is particularly valid when it comes to hearing. Hearing aids help but they can never give full perfect hearing back. Therefore, it is particularly important to protect yourself from hearing loss as a musician.

Do not hesitate to contact a professional of the ODYO team if you want to obtain more information on earplugs for musician and on how to protect your ears properly. 

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