5 Ways You Can Protect Your Hearing As A DJ
As a DJ, hearing protection is vital. You’ll likely be spending countless hours listening to music through headphones or exposed to high sound at high volume for significant periods of time. This puts you at a higher risk of hearing damage.
There has been a lot of data and research indicating that long-term exposure to loud music can result in conditions such as tinnitus (a ringing in the ears that can vary in intensity) and even hearing loss.
From both a quality of life point of view and to ensure your ability to DJ is not impacted, hearing protection is critical. In this guide, we’ll help you understand 5 ways in which personal hearing protection should be used by all DJs.
Understanding Hearing Protection
Why is it so important?
For all human beings but especially musicians and DJs, hearing is an incredibly important asset. As a DJ, your ability to mix music, produce musical tracks and even perform in front of live audiences will be severely impacted by damage to your hearing.
Exposure to loud music, a feature of clubs and gigs, can cause irreversible hearing damage. Even ongoing exposure to music in the context of a studio can have negative effects. Musicians’ ability to enjoy and perform music is directly related to their ability to hear.
Fortunately, some simple and manageable steps can be taken to protect your hearing, prevent hearing loss or damage, and ensure you’re able to keep doing what you do best for long into the future.
What causes hearing damage?
Exposure to high sound levels for long periods of time can damage the hair cells that line your inner ear. In some cases, this damage causes hearing loss but in other cases, it can cause tinnitus. This condition results in an ongoing ringing sensation in the air. While the intensity of tinnitus can vary, it is in the best-case scenario irritating and in the worst case debilitating.
Some of the most common causes of hearing damage, especially amongst DJs include:
- Standing too close to sources of loud sound e.g., speakers.
- Using headphones for extended periods of time.
- Exposure to a sudden loud noise.
5 Ways For DJ Hearing Protection
Earplugs are perhaps the most cost-effective, easiest and simplest ways of protecting your hearing. They are easy to find and purchase and come in all different sizes and shapes so that you can find the ones that are most comfortable and least intrusive for your ears.
Specifically-designed earplugs are used by countless musicians and DJs to help reduce and control the volume of sound that their ears are exposed to without sacrificing their ability to clearly hear the music and engage with audiences during gigs.
Earplugs are a simple solution and can be worn during studio sessions, during gigs and whenever you need them.
2.Use Noise-Cancelling Headphones
The development of technology in the world of both DJing and hearing protection has been astounding. One of the best examples of this is noise-cancelling headphones.
These nifty little headphones can actively reduce your ears’ exposure to loud sound and music. With a specially designed feature that cancels out background noise, you can continue listening to the music you need at a lower volume than normal as you’re not competing with outside sounds. Without sacrificing audio quality, you can save your ears from being exposed to high-volume noise for hours on end.
Artists who work in studios for long hours should certainly use this personal hearing protection method. Exposure to music for the entire day, even at relatively normal volumes, can be damaging. Using noise-cancelling headphones will actively help you reduce the volume of the music you’re listening to.
This method of hearing protection relies less on technology and equipment and more on your own work habits. Taking breaks from your DJing and music-making is an essential part of ensuring long-term hearing health.
It can be easy to forget that it’s not just the volume of music you’re exposed to but the length of time you’re exposed to the music that can cause hearing damage and loss. Taking regular breaks is good for many reasons, but one of the most important benefits is that it gives your ears and hearing time to recover and rest.
It’s important that you play around with your work schedule to find a structure that fits your needs. Our recommendation is for at least a 10-minute break every hour or so. This includes both studio sessions and (wherever possible) gigs and live performances.
4.Manage the Sound Levels
Hand in hand with prolonged exposure to the sound comes exposure to high levels of music and sound. Monitoring the sound levels of the music you’re listening to is a crucial habit to get into. Like keeping an eye on the speedometer while driving to ensure you aren’t speeding, you need to keep an eye on the sound levels to avoid it turning up too high.
The more you listen to audio and music, the more important maintaining a reasonable volume is. Studio monitors should be positioned at a safe distance from your ears so that you’re not standing too close during playback. While your physical placement and the location of speakers may be less flexible in clubs and at gigs, wherever possible, try to make sure that you are managing the sound levels to the best of your ability.
5.Get Hearing Tests Regularly
You know what they say, “Prevention is better than cure”. Detecting hearing loss and damage as early as possible is pretty critical for preventing further damage/loss. Regular hearing tests are essential for all DJs and musical artists.
These tests are designed to pick up hearing loss or damage so that you can try and prevent any issues from escalating further. Like general health and dental check-ups, a hearing check-up will give you peace of mind that you’re on top of your hearing protection and health.
If you do experience any symptoms of hearing damage–such as muffled sound or ongoing ringing in the ear–do not delay! Make an appointment with a professional audiologist as soon as possible.
Hearing Protection Starts with the Right Equipment!
DJ hearing protection starts with the right equipment. Fortunately, DJ City stocks all the personal hearing protection you should be using to help prevent and limit damage to your ears.