Are you too “cool” to save your hearing?

Here is some good info on how to protect your ears as you embark upon your new music career, and it may educate some fans who frequently attend live concerts. This subject is often overlooked in the music industry, but hearing loss is a very serious issue indeed. Thousands of musicians, sound engineers, and DJ’s fail to protect their ears until they start to notice signs of hearing loss…at which point it’s too late in many cases. Hearing loss is generally not something that can be restored, but it can surely be prevented quite easily and comfortably.

The inner canals of the human ear are lined with millions of hair-like “cilia”. The presence of healthy cilia increases the sensitivity and quality of hearing. I don’t want to get too technical here, but basically what happens when there is hearing damage is that the cilia in your ears get bent back or broken when certain decibel levels and/or sound frequencies are reached. The problem is that cilia does not grow back or regenerate as if a hair was pulled out of your head, and every time cilia is damaged your quality of hearing decreases.

Yes, ear plugs and hearing loss are not a popular topic of conversation when you’re just starting out, jamming with friends, going to rock concerts, etc…especially with the younger crowd. Believe me, I’m just as guilty as anyone as I must have played over a hundred live shows and attended a couple dozen major rock concerts before I wore my first ear plugs. But more and more major Rock musicians are stepping up and spreading the word about the importance of protecting your hearing…most notably Pete Townshend of ‘The Who’ who suffered major irreparable hearing loss during his days as the guitarist of what was widely referred to as “the world’s loudest band”.

Ear plug manufacturers are constantly improving their products, and you’d probably be surprised at how advanced some of these little plugs have become with their ability to block out only the harmful, high frequencies and still let nice clarity pass through. Most now have a nice ergonomic design or self-molding styles, and the flesh colored plugs are now the norm as they blend in with your ear color and make it more “cool” and acceptable to wear. You can even get custom designed, clear colored/molded plugs made by most ENT doctors that are virtually unnoticed by viewers when being worn. Custom plugs can run over $100 US, but most others run anywhere from $5 to $30US and you can find them quite easily at your local drug store.

Final Tips: Make sure to wear your ear plugs during “sound check” with your band as that’s the most common time for the loudest, harmful feedback coming from the PA system. Always wear your ear plugs when attending concerts, and start wearing your plugs when you practice with your own band so that it’s not too much of a shock when you wear them during your live shows.

Luckily I starting wearing my ear plugs pretty early in my career, but I’ve met too many musicians and DJ’s that have experienced hearing loss as young as their mid-twenties. Seeing how we all experience a little hearing loss as we get older anyway, these people are going to be in bad shape when they reach middle age…don’t be one of them, SAVE YOUR HEARING!

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