Tinnitus is a common condition that affects millions of people around the world, with estimates suggesting that as many as 750 million people globally have tinnitus. Further research indicates that around 50 million Americans have tinnitus, and 7.1 million people in the UK. That’s a lot of ringing ears!
Among musicians, the number may be even higher. Some estimates believe that between 30% and 50% of musicians have the condition.
That’s because one of the main causes of tinnitus is noise-induced hearing loss. This type of hearing loss can either happen as a result of a single exposure to a loud noise, like fireworks, or through prolonged exposure to loud noises over a long period of time. And often, hearing loss and tinnitus go hand-in-hand.
Since the nature of a musician’s job involves lots of exposure to loud noises – as they’re the one creating the loud noises – it figures that they’d be at a higher risk of developing both noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus.
There’s a risk of hearing damage when exposed to sounds of 100 decibels for just 15 minutes without protection. And considering that the average rock concert is 104 decibels, if a musician doesn’t wear protection, they run the risk of damaging their hearing very, very quickly.
For musicians, living with tinnitus can be very difficult. The condition can impact how people perceive sound, making it harder for musicians to do their job. It can also be very distressing, and some musicians may even wonder if a diagnosis of tinnitus will be career-ending.
One dedicated study into the impact of tinnitus on professional musicians found that most of the musicians surveyed found tinnitus to be challenging both professionally and personally. The majority of respondents agreed that more education and support is needed for musicians living with tinnitus.
It’s important to remember that tinnitus in musicians is very common. So if you’re a musician with tinnitus, know that you’re not alone!
Whether you’re a musician with tinnitus, or are worried about developing the condition in the future, here are some practical tips that are easy to implement.
First and foremost, hearing protection is very important! Think about these guys and gals next time you head out to a live music event, party or festival, or get ready to play a rock show.
Earplugs like Loop Experience are designed specifically for concerts and festivals, as they filter the sound so you can still hear every little detail – just at a reduced volume. Experience earplugs reduce noise by up to 18 decibels, and have a built-in patented acoustic channel and mesh that filters sound equally across all frequencies. That means you can fully immerse yourself in the experience, while protecting your hearing.