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Vincent_Lloyd's avatar

Do musicians have a high chance of becoming deaf?

Asked by Vincent_Lloyd (2954 points ) October 15th, 2012

I’m curious if musicians have a high chance of becoming deaf in comparison to people that aren’t musicians. I’m a drummer and usually after I finish my ears are always muffled and have a high pitch ring it lasts for an hour sometimes more. But is that severely effecting my ears? If so how much can a humans ears take before becoming mildly deaf, to profoundly deaf?

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13 Answers

filmfann's avatar

I spent one evening about 8 feet away from an incredibly large speaker, next to Eric Burdon. My hearing was gone for 3 days after. Many musicians have lost their hearing due to exposure of high volume sound. Take precautions.

wundayatta's avatar

Yes. Rock musicians do, anyway. If you play as loud as you can on drums, you’re going to be affected. Most of the famous rock musicians from the big bands of the 70s—The Who, for example, have severe hearing loss.

The effect is cumulative. It’s like working with a jack hammer or on a loud factory floor all your life. The older you get, the more hearing loss you’ll have.

I’m not a rock musician. I haven’t even played all my life, and when I do play, it’s usually not at such high volumes. I don’t use electronic amplification and I don’t really like it. But I’ve been in situations where the sound was uncomfortably loud enough times. And at 56, I am losing my ability to pick voices out from background noise. In a loud situation, I can’t carry on a conversation unless someone is shouting in my ear. It’s not worth it. I just sit back and watch, and leave as soon as I can.

I would start using earplugs as soon as you can. You need to protect your ears.

lifeflame's avatar

My brother uses earplugs as a drummer.
Heck, I even think my right ear is less sensitive than my left one because of using a mobile phone. If you’re hearing a high pitched ring… definitely not good!

Yetanotheruser's avatar

I just turned 64. I was involved with loud music, as a performer, in production, and as a listener, since I was a teenager up until my 40’s, and even then, although less often. I suffer from tinnitus, and seem to have some hearing loss. I haven’t been to an audiologist lately, but I can’t tell if my hearing loss is as a side effect of the tinnitus or vice versa.

gailcalled's avatar

A resounding “YES. ” Can you hear that?

If I remember, you are 15. It must seem impossible that you can damage anything, but do some research on how sound is carried through the ear to the brain. The mechanism is very complicated and very delicate. The stapes bone (one of the three in the middle ear) is the smallest bone in the body.

@Yetanotheruser. Often hearing loss and tinnitus are not related. I have 70% hearing loss in one ear, due to a bad fall where I broke a little bone in my middle ear, but I do not (thank heavens) have tinnitus.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, but I think they have a higher chance of becoming egotistical assbites in my experience. lol

jerv's avatar

Any sort of prolonged exposure to loud noises will cause hearing loss. As a machinist who used to work in Engineering spaces aboard Navy Ships (and, occasionally, on the flight deck) I am quite familiar with loud noises, and the precautions you need to take to preserve your hearing. What the noise is matters far less than the decibel level.

Sunny2's avatar

You are wise to consider this at your age. You still have time to do something about it!

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@gailcalled, I think some of my “hearing loss” is due to the apparent volume of my tinnitus. The “noise” produced by the tinnitus drowns out certain frequencies of actual sound.

gailcalled's avatar

@Yetanotheruser; Good point. Not having tinnitus, I haven’t paid attention to the issues it creates.

I am really grateful for the new generation hearing aids. They do not replace real hearing, but they sure help.

ucme's avatar

Ludwig says yes.

linguaphile's avatar

Some loud-noise hearing losses can be sudden. I have friend who was in the USSR army and became deaf immediately from being too close to a bomb while fighting in Afghanistan.

jazmina88's avatar

wear ear plugs…......I have tinnitis as well. and played music and attended concerts since an early age.

dont play your stereo as loud either. keep it down.

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