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How can Musicians Prevent Tinnitus?

a woman experiencing some ear discomfort

As a musician, they’re typically surrounded by a lot of loud music that can often be well above the safe level of noise. As a result, being subjected to this on a regular basis could end up causing tinnitus. To avoid this, there are things that musicians can do in order to reduce the risk of this occurring.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the name that describes hearing noises that are not caused by any outside source. This is usually a high-pitched ringing noise that can be temporary, or it can last for a while. It’s not usually a sign of anything serious, and it can be something that improves over time. However, you don’t want to intentionally cause tinnitus as it can be annoying to deal with. There are treatments that can help with it, but there are also ways to prevent it.

How to prevent it

It’s important to know the risks that can cause tinnitus when you’re a musician or if you work in an environment where loud noise is a constant feature of your job. The amount of time you are exposed to loud noise can certainly play a factor and exposure to any noises above 85 decibels is certainly considered unsafe without any form of ear protection. So here are some tips that can help prevent it from occurring.

Know your legal rights

Your rights as a musician are important to note when you’re not the person responsible for providing the sound at an event or gig. There are certain rules and regulations in place where an employee has a legal obligation to ensure that you’re not exposed to any levels of noise that are unsafe. That means if the level of sound goes above a certain level, the employer needs to provide you with something that will protect your ears.

Wear ear protection

This is really the main rule of thumb when it comes to loud noises. Wearing ear protection is essential to ensuring your ears stay safe from any loud noises. It’s important to get noise-reducing ones that lower the sound but still produce clarity. Or the other options are custom-made earplugs and in-ear monitors. These are probably better than those noise-reducing headphones, but it depends on the budget you or your employer has available. When it comes to cost, you should always get the better-quality ones because after all, they are protecting your ear drums. However, there are some that are slightly cheaper and still as effective, so it’s worth doing your research.

Apart from good earplugs, there’s really no alternatives but staying hydrated and keeping your distance from speakers can help to reduce the impact that noise levels have on your hearing. Try to take breaks where you can so that it can give your ears some time to recover. Avoid spending too much time in this type of environment where you can and be conscious of the time you spend with loud music playing constantly. When you can’t remove yourself, use ear protection.

What to do if you have it?

The first thing you want to do is to get diagnosed and seeing an audiologist can help with that. They can do a hearing test to check if it is in fact tinnitus or something else. In order to treat it, your audiologist will figure out what it is that could be causing it, and if it is due to being a musician, they will likely recommend you protect your ears and follow the recommended guidance above. However, tinnitus can also be caused by the buildup of earwax in your ears. You might also find that you have a blood vessel condition that might be causing tinnitus to occur. 

There are also some alternative options for help suppress tinnitus like a white noise machine, a hearing aid, masking devices and tinnitus retraining. As much as tinnitus can be annoying to have, there are solutions and treatments that you can take advantage of to help suppress it and to hopefully get rid of it in time. 

As a musician, it’s impossible to avoid loud music as it’s part of the profession. However, you can take precautions and know your legal rights when it comes to playing at events and gigs. If you’re able to look after yourself and your ears, then hopefully you can avoid getting tinnitus completely. For anything ear-related, you can learn more about Hadassah Kupfer, Au.D and call today at 917-791-1510 for guidance and advice.