Hearing Health (Musicians Point of View)

:eyes: :ear:every loud sound you hear…
… if it is a loud noisy air conditioning, to a TV, music in your car, —headphones -ear buds are the worst by far-thats what got me worst-, a loud dog, your children screaming happy while playing… Each sound of this takes a toll on your hearing. While young, we are made of plastic and nothing happens to us. Then, at “a certain age”… the ear’s start collecting their invoices and, no matter how much you take care of your ears, they start giving you signs that the hearing is a finite good… so you better start taking care of them, good care.

This guy (by the way, very cool dude, I call him Mr. White --you’ll see why, remember Breaking Bad the series). … well, this guy talks about it in this video of his. Recommend to watch it, even if you are still young, or better yet, even more if you are young. Mr. White’s Hearing Review

So I’am starting this topic because 1 year ago I started having symptoms of a hearing deterioration, although I haven’t yet lost much (I still can hear almost at 19,000 kHz…which is rare even above 30 years old) but my ears hurt easily with noises, and I have lost maybe a little because I hear very often that noise called Tinnitus. --Dr. said. that is when you already lost in the neurological level, the small hair like receptacles inside the labyrinth, some of them are now dead or with atrophy… so there is that, soooo sad.

I now have a Decibel Meter in front of me, I try to have the lowest volume possible and only when mixing is that I level up. I have always with me -in my keychain, ready to take out quickly and put on- some filters that go inside the ear (as earbuds) that reduce the noice levels in a flat way, as if I just lower down the volume of what’s around me, so I can hear better in noisy environments and not further damage my ears. They work VERY good (Link to Amazon, for the Alpine Protecting Earplugs )

I also time my music listening, composing and mixing sessions --I use a pomodoro-like timer-- , I am trying to keep my hearing healthy, although as I said, I already have damage cause by long hours of drumming since I was 11 years old, and very loud drumming- Sepultura-Slayer-Megadeth, then Dream Theater… and evolve all the way up to Jazz … Also, very loud guitar amps, bass amps, loud clubs and pubs, and then Motors (motorcycles, boat motors…) etc… I really abuse my hearing.

So, anyone knows about this topic, very welcome. :nerd_face:



It goes without saying that hearing is something that us musicians have to look after. You just have to think about those poor clarinettist and bassoons who sit in front of the brass section. I remember reading that one of them got a pay out due to induced deafness.

We should also remember that if you go to any live concert always wear some form of in-ear protection. You can actually get moulded in ear pieces through https://www.acscustom.com/uk/ which may give a more comfortable fit than buying off the shelf.

I myself had a strange experience a couple of weeks back. I yawned after eating my Sunday lunch and suddenly went deaf in my left ear. It was very disconcerting but thankfully the hearing came back after a day or two. The mystery was put down to Eustachian tube not resetting itself and seemed to have got stuck.

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Great topic, and I have actually been thinking of once again calibrating my studio monitors for a “reference level” when monitoring my music. I think since my room is very small 70dB would be enough.

Have you guys calibrated your monitoring levels?

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I have always tried to save my ears both live and in studio. Live it is very hard, because sometimes the monitor sound has been so bad for me as metal-vocalist, that I had to unplug at least one of my ear protections in order to get a little bit of my own voice. (I don’t want in-ear monitoring because want to stay in contact to the outside). Although I have bought expensive customized earplugs, I had to find out, that tissue-papers did the best job when it comes both to protect and having a good sound, because it is easier to handle them.
In the studio, I always make sure that the monitors are not playing too loud, in order to keep the ears as fresh as possible. Sometimes I use IK Multimedias ARC which helps to eliminate the room out of the signal. The good thing is, you can set the average loudness before the measurement. And within the DAW, it should be also be possible to have at least two listening-volumes that can be switched by shortcut.

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Yes . In my small studio space …I run on or about 73 to 75 DB SPL… I have a calibrated microphone just for this purpose … as well as software to sweep the room and provide the appropriate graphs to show you what’s going on in your room .

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Problem is the DB changes a lot depending on frequency response since my room is shit for acoustic purposes, so standing waves is sadly a big issue for me.

Is the best way still to calibrate monitoring levels with white noise? I think this is what I did back a year ago, but did not make a habit of using the same level.

Yes, I run white noise for testing …calibration … but I periodically drop a reference track in to make sure things are going in the right direction…

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I am definitively getting those ear pieces. I have to write more here because I have to type at least 80 characters… Thank you Adrian!

Yes I have, my friend, and that helps a lot with accuracy. But the best is to use a DecibelMeter. I have this right in front of my “cockpit” Link to Amazon Decibel Meter.

I set the alarm for >= 91db … so short peaks don’t trigger it… also I am always looking at it with just a glance, because I placed it between my small and big monitors…

Being a small room as you commented, its easy and not expensive to sound-treat it.

Interesting enough pink noise can actually get you to a close mix … set up a pink noise track , on your master summing channel put on a spectrum analyzer tool …when the pink noise hits the spectrum analyzer you will see a diagonal line …high on the left side and low on the right as pink noise drops in value as you go up frequency. now play your composition and try to make the composition in terms of frequency response match the curve or path of the pink noise. You will be amazed how quickly you can get a mix together … Sometimes we get fooled in our eq setting … doing this will see if you are way off target and out of scope… ( this is in the strange but true category…but it works) especially if you messed things up pretty good … you can get back to a base starting point

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I think Mikes’ space is pretty tiny … if the videos he puts up are representative of the space he’s pretty cramped from what I can see…Mike you can be a spaceman… you are really good at maximizing your space)… I was in one studio where the entire control room was like wire framed in 2" plastic pipe and they had dropped heavy blankets over it to control the acoustics.

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We have to make do with what we got, haha. :smile:

Although I still dream about a real studio space, setting everything up from scratch. Someday…

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yes thats what pushed me to the new build …and the fact we moved to a different house …(smaller)

but Mike you are producing and making it work …says a lot for you!!

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I will look up into it. Very interesting, adding pink noise so you are dithering yourself the mix.

One year ago I started using AirPods… not just to make business phone calls, but to listen to music… prior I had the PowerBeats by Dre in ear… they are cool to workout… and then, I got the beats by Dre 3 (HORRIBLE in sound, good strong BT connection and battery life)

The AirPods are the main culprit of my latest ear trauma… I only use them to make phone calls…

I just got the Bose NC700 and they are SUPEr cool, easy on the ears because a well balanced curve, and because of the Active Noise Cancelling, I can listen at a very Low levels and have a good experience… no noice anymore while commuting…

So that’s it, AirPods really damage your hearing… traumatized the ears. The main problem is that there is no air cushion between the sound projecting little speaker, and the drum of the ear, also, they get INSIDE your ear canal… and because they don’t isolate you from external sounds… you tend to pull up the level so high… LOTS of middle spectrum also…

If you buy them, use them ONLY for calls, and very low ambient music… and get good active noise cancelling over the ears headphones.

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A little update on this topic about hearing.

My name is Adrian and I have been a compulsive Organist for the best part of 21 years. (Why does this feel like a confession for some reason, hey how :smile:) Over the last 12 - 18 months I started to get a feeling of motion sickness all the time. It was worse if I ended up lying on my back to faff around with the wiring at the back of my studio setup. I also tend to get a high pitched sound in my left ear from time to time but only lasts a matter of seconds.

Cut a long story short it has been put down to a form of meniere’s, which covers many forms of ear issues including tinnitus (which I thankfully have not developed fully) and the feeling of motion sickness/balance.

The reason for developing these issues is due to the very high DB SPL of a pipe organ. One organ I play you are actually sat in the middle of the pipes, which are sited either side of the organ console. The one I play on a regular weekly basis used to have the organ pipes directly in front of the console, so you were getting the sound full blast. Thankfully the console has now been moved away from the pipes and I hope it will stop my symptoms from developing further.

The motto of the story is if you can avoid monitoring at high levels then do so, your ears will thank you. Unfortunately, there are occasions when you just cannot avoid it. But for concerts, I do recommend using some form of in-ear protection. Oh and if you develop motion sickness issues I recommend Ginger Root tablets, helped me immensely.


Gingo Biloba, yes! My doctor recommended it too, and they super help… it has not just to do with hearing… it is very good when you are starting your 40’s

Please, get the Alpine protective earplugs (look above to the beginning of this thread). They are keeping me all right, I even feel I am as I was before, good with my hearing… then one day (as exactly today) I go to a place with loud music, forget to put them on… and I noticed that I should have put them on… I hope you get better!

Pipe organ, I only have it in my SpitFire Organ… And I like to play some parts from “Toccatta & Fuge un D minor”, the first song that trapped me from Bach at a very young age… I believe it helped me develop a taste for intricate melodies… so up to this day, I tend to compose intricate.


I can safely say that playing the organ increased my love for the Baroque period of music. A lot of my tracks have more than one melody line, which interweaves with each other.

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