Call us at (410) 569-5999

Musician Ear Protection

Musician Ear Protection
August 11, 2010 DrPerry

As a music enthusiast what would you do if you lost your hearing?

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a permanent condition. Harmful levels of environmental noise can damage the sensory hair cells in your inner ear that convert sound energy into electrical signals that travel to the brain, and they do not grow back. Loud noise can also damage the sensitive nerves in the ear and cause tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

Prolonged or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause lasting hearing loss. The louder the sound, such as an explosion, the shorter the time period before NIHL can occur. Permanent damage can occur after only 15 minutes of exposure. Sounds of less than 75 decibels, even after long exposure, are unlikely to cause hearing loss. Which means ear protection can be vital when in high volume situations.

Westone offers ES49 custom musician earplugs that come in a variety of colors. An audiologist will take an impression of the ear, which takes about five minutes in the office for a custom fit. The ES49 earplugs come with Etymotic’s filters, offering 9, 15, or 25 decibels of protection. The filters work to lower the volume without compromising the sound quality. Another option for musicians are the ES1 custom musician ear monitor earphones.

For a less expensive option you can purchase ETY earplugs from Westone, or your audiologist, that offer 20 decibels of protection. However the ETY plugs are not custom fit and do not have the advanced filter system to preserve the sound quality as well as the ES49 custom earplugs. These are readily available however, and offer protection.

With so many options to choose from, I recommend talking with your audiologist as to what would best suit your lifestyle, needs and budget. After all, how important is it to you to hear music clearly for years to come?