Whether you enjoy attending festivals and concerts or composing and performing your own music, your ears play an essential role in doing what you love. But did you know that without the proper precautions, your favorite activities could permanently damage your hearing? Noise induced hearing loss is the second leading cause of hearing loss after age related hearing loss, but unlike age related hearing loss, it is completely preventable (LaDou, 2014). Studies show that long-term exposure to loud noise can lead to permanent hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) (Pouryaghoub et al., 2017). This can occur from several different types of activities, like years of daily exposure to loud musical instruments, or from just a few exposures to very loud concerts or festivals.
So what are your options? Block your ears with bulky foam earplugs and compromise the quality of the music? Roll the dice and risk developing a permanent hearing impairment? Understandably, most music enthusiasts would rather take the risk than accept a mediocre musical experience. However, what many people don’t know is that there is third option. Custom musician earplugs protect your hearing while maintaining the sound quality of the music across the frequency spectrum (Westone.com). They come with several filters that allow you to chose how much attenuation (aka protection) you want depending on the level of noise you will be exposed to. They are discrete, custom made to fit your ear only, and come in a variety of colors. And the best part? If taken care of properly, they can last years! These custom earplugs are not just for music lovers either; they can be used in any noisy situation, like sporting events and even nightclubs.
So how do you go about obtaining a pair of these music plugs? All it takes is a short 15-20 minute appointment with an audiologist in which they will take impressions of your ears and you will choose which style and color(s) you want. You can pick them up two weeks later and then continue doing what you love without having to worry about the negative side effects of noise exposure ever again.
Pouryaghoub, G., Mehrdad, R., & Pourhosein, S. (2017). Noise-Induced hearing loss among professional musicians. Journal of Occupational Health, 59(1), 33–37.
LaDou J. Current occupational & environmental medicine. 5th ed, New York: Lange Medical Books/McGraw-Hill; 2014.