It’s Music to Your Ears – Until it Does Damage

musiciansMusicians are known for having good ears; they hear notes and sounds, melodies and harmonies and can distinguish one instrument for another. They recognize songs, artists and know how to stay in tune. But what happens if the hearing of a musician starts to diminish? What happens to their joy and their livelihood? If you or someone you love is a musician, you’ll want to keep reading. Hearing loss in musicians is incredibly prevalent yet often it can be prevented through proper hearing protection devices which can protect the ears from the loud sounds and music they make.

Professional musicians are almost four times more likely to suffer noise-induced hearing loss than other people. That’s a pretty serious statistic and the type of music doesn’t seem to be a major factor. Classical musicians and rock musicians all are in danger of hearing loss. One of the largest studies to date on the topic of hearing disorders claimed these findings as they linked to people who pursue music as an occupation. The German researchers who combed through health insurance records of 7 million people from 2004 to 2008 found that working musicians topped the charts for hearing loss.

The findings are new but the problem of hearing loss in musicians certainly isn’t. Experts and doctors have been warning musicians to protect their hearing for decades and some of the most well-known musicians are paying the price these days. Over time, the damage adds up. They are also at a higher risk of suffering from tinnitus or a constant ringing in their ears – about 57 percent more likely to suffer tinnitus, that is. Noise-induced hearing loss, or NIHL, can be caused by sudden loud noises like gunshots or explosions, or it can happen over time. Repeated exposure to loud noise, like that in which musicians may be exposed to if they don’t wear hearing protection, can damage microscopic hair cells, known as stereocilia, that line the ear. Those hair cells don’t grow back, so the loss is permanent. In many people, it leads to muffled or distorted sounds or the need to use hearing aids to amplify sound.

To protect hearing, our audiologists can help fit you or your loved one with an ear mold or other hearing protection devices to minimize the volume and reduce damage. If you suspect that damage has already occurred and hearing loss is evolving, a hearing aid may be right for you. Our trained experts can work to find the perfect hearing aid for your hearing loss and your lifestyle. Hearing loss is a gradual process that may not be noticed for years. When it does happen, people generally notice that speech is mumbled and unclear. Musicians whose hearing is suffering are losing a bit of their quality of life. Enjoy your hearing for years to come and see one of our staff members at any of our locations for more information and enjoy the music!


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