We’ve all been there before; your favorite song comes on the radio and you absolutely must turn it up! As the music courses through your veins, you’re feeling amazing and you could dance forever.
As awesome as that all is, exposure to extremely loud noises can cause hearing loss. Now if your hearing can be affected by that, just imagine the effects of constant drumming has on a drummer’s ear! Why, Roger Taylor (Queen’s drummer) and Lars Ulrich (Metallica’s drummer) both have hearing problems as a result from years and years of playing the drums.
Back in 2014, there was a study published which concluded that professional musicians are at a higher risk of hearing problems as a direct result of their occupation. The study included three million Germans, 2,227 of whom were professional musicians.
The researchers discovered that musicians were nearly four times as likely to develop noise-induced hearing loss in comparison to the rest of the group.
Drummers are even more at risk because their instruments are so loud – especially when you get into those rad drumming solos! Unfortunately, because their instruments are so loud, and they get so into their music, drumming and hearing damage seem to go hand in hand.
Drummers tend to have worse hearing than even violinists who tend to have severe hearing problems in one ear more so than the other because their instrument is right near the ear.
Usually, when researchers are focusing on a person’s loss of hearing sensitivity, it’s important to note that drummers often experience tinnitus (ringing in the ears). In fact, one study revealed that a professional drummer is one and a half times more likely to suffer with this condition.
While you’re drumming, hearing damage isn’t going to happen right away. The damage is usually gradual, and it can even go unnoticed until the warning signs become so significant, they can’t be ignored.
Usually, the first symptoms drummers notice is having difficulty distinguishing one voice from another in a group conversation. It’s at this point where the damage is so bad, there isn’t anything that can be done.
However, once you know the warning signs, you’ll be able to prevent hearing loss going forward. The warning signs include:
If you start noticing these signs, you’ll want to consult a doctor and try to prevent the hearing damage from getting worse
Did you know that the sound threshold for pain was a staggering 125 dB? That’s about the sound a balloon makes when it pops. But if you go to a rock concert, you’ll be exposed to 130 dB of noise. Levels this high is going to cause hearing problems – even if only temporary.
Yes, it’s true that your ears can repair themselves, but there is only so much the ear can do. The regeneration rate of our ears is determined by a variety of factors, such as genetics, diet, stress, and our general health.
Since the regeneration is going to be different for each person, there it’s hard to say how much noise you can be exposed to before you begin to have problems.
Of course, you can avoid hearing loss, or reduce the effects of prolonged exposure to loud music by taking simple precautions, such as:
Drumming and hearing loss is a very real problem that many musicians all over the world experience. However, when you recognize the early warning signs of tinnitus, you can take precautions to avoid further damage.
Leave us a comment below and tell us about your story. Do you suffer from early hearing loss because you’re a drummer? Do you know a musician who’s now reliant on hearing aids after decades of rocking out? We’d love to know how drumming hearing damage has affected you.