Hey guys, it’s Andre.
A few months ago, I was taught a valuable lesson, which every producer and everybody else working with audio should learn.
I was suffering from ringing in the ears or a so-called tinnitus, which completely threw me off track for weeks and left me spending my days in complete silence, alone with that painful ringing. ‘I’m not 50 yet, a 23-year old does not suffer from bad hearing, that’s weird.’, I used to think, but this is an issue, which should everybody of you be interested in, no matter how old you are.
Producers, musicians, live performers, DJs, we all do our daily jobs under the risk of hearing loss. Working in a noisy environment on a daily base combined with stress, might cause bad hearing or worse. Hearing is what’s most important for most of us. Losing this ability is like the worst thing which could happen.
Hearing loss and ear damage is no disease, which only happens to the elderly and we all should be aware of that. I want to use this post to share some techniques with you guys on how to preserve your hearing and how to prevent hearing loss.
Just follow these tips and keep your hearing safe for the future.
1. Mind your levels and keep them low:
Working daily in a noisy environment is the most dangerous habit in this job. Control yourself and your environment by working on lower volume than you might be used to. Working around 80 -85db is a good value, try to not get over this value, especially for a long time. Or just as simple hint without mentioning any volume levels: Keep your noise on a level, which allows you to talk to a person three feet (one meter) away without raising your voice, that’s a good level.
Not only the levels at work are important. Many mobile devices can go up to 100db, so be careful with it. If you suffer from loud environments, don’t just turn up the sound, think about getting noise canceling headphones instead.
2. Take breaks:
Ears also suffer from long-time pressure. As you work a long time on a mix, you ears tend to get tired and you might want to crank up the volume or increase the high frequencies to ‘give your ear a kick’. This is the worst thing you could do. Do breaks during work and I mean real breaks, so no listening to loud music or any other productions you’re working on. Have a nice chat with a colleague or take a walk in the park. Do something relaxing without stressing your ears.
3. Get protected:
If you are confronted with loud environments get yourself some ear plugs or a pair of noise control headphones and I’m not talking about stuffing cotton into your ear, I mean real protection. I got myself different ear plugs for various kind of noise. One pair for filtering loud low-frequency noise created by loud tools used on a building lot and one pair, especially for the club, which just lowers the music volume without losing the clearness. These two pairs only cost me a few bucks and your hearing should be worth that at least.
You can also get customized ear plugs, perfectly fitted for your ears and environment. These are perfect for musicians, DJs and live performers and definitely worth it.
4. Avoid other dangers for your hearing:
Stress and certain kind of medication are also dangerous for your ears. Ask your doc about possible side effect of your medicine and try to avoid noisy and stressful environments. Your ears will thank you.
5. Get yourself checked regularly:
Visiting an ear specialist is no thing, you should wait for until you’re 50 years old. Get yourself tested annually if you have excessive noise exposure. Learn about the signals of bad hearing and get yourself checked before it’s too late.
Our ears are probably the most important instrument we own and we should treat it with more awareness of the dangers of our daily work and live.
Keep your ears safe and have a nice weekend.