The Musician’s Guide to Hearing Protection
Many individuals in the audio and music industries are fully aware of the importance of protecting their hearing, but time after time it cannot hurt to have a reminder of the dangers and the different tips to protect against them.
Our ears have mechanical wonders; with sound waves passing via different kinds of media within the ear moving to the nerve endings which then carry them to our brains in order the sense of it is finally revealed. Variation of air pressure helps the sound waves make their way via the ear canal then to the ear drum which vibrates; these variation are therefore transmitted through mechanical means to the middle ear-three little bones.
The three bones of the middle ear do two duties simultaneously-they serve as the first line of protection against any hearing damage as they help in transmission of the produced vibrations to the inner ear. If the produced sound waves are of high density, the bones located in the middle ear diminish the strength of the vibrations passed along to the fragile mechanisms of the inner ear which then acts as the compressor.
This should not be considered as the most fail safe though is a minor part of protection. In the most inner ear, sound waves are transmitted via a fluid-the cochlea-where it cause disturbance of tiny nerve endings known as cilia. They therefore help in the transmission of the disturbances via the auditory nerves direct to the brain.
Among audio industry people and the musicians, who is at very high risk of hearing damage and and through what conditions? The most preferable answer is that everybody is at risk though some situations are more prone to hearing damage as compared to others. Provided with sound pressure level of any musical instrument, any musician exposed to loud music on a regular basis should be careful with their ears because they can be damaged with no time.
Individuals who use drums or who learn guitar online are very often are particularly more prone to hearing problems, not only from the drums but also the intense impact; cymbals have the strongest frequencies in the most delicate parts where the damage first occurs, and they are, therefore, mounted less or more at ear level. Guitar players who position themselves right in front of their cranked amp are exposing their ears to another type of sound that is particularly intense due to very dangerous frequency of the sound range.
Musicians involved in playing quiet musical instruments inevitably immune, either- the orchestral flutist may not be able to produce intense vibrations to put your hearing at a high risk, but the trombone or the trumpet player who positions himself or herself directly behind you in the orchestral, with his or her trumpet directed towards your head certainly does.
In a matter of facts you’re probably at a very low risk given the specific direction of many musical instruments. Loud speakers can, therefore, be a hazard to those who happen to be in the direct line of fire.
The following are perfect musician’s tips to reduce exposure to loud and intense music:
For those who play instruments such as violas and violins, ER-15 ear plugs are the most preferable because this kind of instruments generates an alternatively high and low frequency sounds where by the musician is in need of hearing an equilibrium sound.
It is also advisable that those who play small string instruments are not supposed to it under the overhang that is between one meter and so of their heads due to the fact that the high and intense frequency parts of the instruments may be easily be absorbed in the overhang, making the music players to overplay in order to re-establish the perfect harmonic equilibrium.
Most of the brass instruments are said to be directional for high frequency energy. However, this higher frequency is much stronger and intense compared to their low frequency energy, as well as trumpets are the most known for intense vibrations.
It’s optional for brass players to have hearing protections because brass instruments are directional. The ER-15 is the good selection for their flat attenuation responses. Horn players should also use reflective baffle especially the 45 degrees angled to the floor in order to reflect high and intense frequency components of directed to the audience as well as protecting trumpet players who’re mostly positioned behind the horn players.
Many amplified geographical areas provide the most flexible environment for musicians because they have control over the instrument set-up. Musicians should always position themselves far away from the loud speaker or else parallel to the speaker enclosure walls. It is important to elevate all loud speakers oriented towards music players who aim at obtaining side wash.
ER-25 ear plugs are preferred in reducing ear damage because there’s little flexibility when it comes to hearing protection for plays of percussion. High hat cymbal for the full drum kit is the greatest threat to hearing.
Vocalists who are highly concerned about the vocal strain should therefore put their focus on an earplug which creates a very slight occlusion effect. For the solo vocalists who play quiet instruments should put their concern on using tuned or vented earplug which provides intense frequency attenuation put together with a slight increase in loudness of a vocalists voice.
Specialized ear plugs
It has been brought to light that when musicians speak of traditional ear plugs they put their focus on two major complaints: the occlusion effect- the hollow and echo sound that mostly occurs when sound is trapped in ear canal, and also, muffled music without high end. However, in the recent technology found in todays and modified ear plugs these problems have been successfully solved. Among these modern and modified hearing protection devices are amplifier ear plugs that put back intense frequencies, such that the total effect at the eardrum is equal or flat attenuation for all the frequencies.
There is no individual who has a value to his or her hearing can afford to mess up with symptoms of potential hearing damage, no matter how mere they may be seen. For audio folks and musicians, hearing is their business, and therefore they should protect their hearing ability always.