Because of loud sound levels and frequent exposure to noise, musicians can develop hearing problems such as tinnitus and hearing loss.
The greater the number of decibels the ear plugs can reduce sound, the better overall protection they offer. There are a many generic earplugs available aimed at musicians (and stocked by Clearly Hearing) but most musicians would benefit from customised earplugs.
Custom earplugs provide a higher level of protection as well as better fidelity of sound compared to generic earplugs as they are shaped to your ears and we have to test them to ensure they pass a quality check. They tend to be more expensive but should be looked upon as an investment to prevent permanent hearing damage.
Several companies manufacture specialist hearing protectors and in-ear monitors for musicians which we at Clearly Hearing can help with. A wide range of technical ear protection products are available, and we can help you to select and adapt to the right hearing protection for you.
For musicians, it is essential that earplugs selected are incorporating a filter set to provide a flat frequency response and some reduction in intensity, or a fusion of hearing protection and digital hearing aid technology. Because of the way the new sounds will be perceived, it is essential to practice wearing your new earplugs. Remember, they will always sound better than off-the shelf earplugs but like anything, will take getting used to.
Effective custom made earplugs from Clearly Hearing will reduce the overall level of sound whilst maintaining an even balance across frequencies. This means that you can still hear everything clearly, although the overall sound level is reduced.
Custom sleep plugs perfect to reduce night-time noise to aid in a good night’s sleep. It’s made from Ultra-soft Silicone for a comfortable fit throughout the night. This type of silicone is a very flexible material and is produced in a carved shape (Concave) for comfort no matter what position you sleep in. There’s also a small removal handle attached, and it can be manufactured in a range of colours.
A comprehensive holistic assessment of hearing and hearing acuity to help you to preserve your most important assessts.
All parts of a Standard & Advanced assessment
Otoscopy, Audiometry, Audiogram Report, ULLs, MCLs, SIN, Wax Removal
These tests are designed to diagnose tinnitus type, pinpoint tinnitus tone and identify any anything that may be exacerbating the impact of your tinnitus.
These tools will be used for the identification and measurement of hyperacusis, diplosis, misophonia and phonophobia
Hearing Protection Plan
Detailed advice on how to manage your hearing risks
All features of a Standard assessment
Otoscopy, Audiometry, Audiogram Report
Uncomfortable Loudness Levels
To identify the minimum level of sound that is judged to be uncomfortably loud
Most Comfortable Loudness
To identify the level of sound that is judged to be comfortably loud
Speech In Noise Test
Evaluate how well you understand speech with background noise.
A visual and physical examination of your outer and middle ear
Hearing sensitivity test
A detailed explanation of your hearing sensitivity test results
Advice on the correct hearing protection for your needs and budget and impressions can be taken for custom hearing protection
A plan to assess and avoid your hearing risks
A visual and physical examination of your outer and middle ear
A cast of your ear to build your custom hearing protection
Custom Hearing Protection
The hearing protection we select jointly in the appointment
A visual and physical examination of your outer and middle ear
Custom Earphones and In Ear Monitors
The earphones or in-ear-monitors we select jointly in the appointment
Ultra soft silicone custom sleep plugs
Please give plenty of notice to cancel or reschedule your appointment (including home visits in and out of London) to receive a full deposit refund.
Please note 75% of the deposit is returned if at least 48 hours notice is given for rescheduling and cancelling an appointment, 50% is returned if at least 24 hours notice is given for rescheduling and cancelling an appointment and 0% is returned if less than 12 hours is given for rescheduling and cancelling an appointment with notice.
The advice given by some professionals regarding managing your Hearing and Tinnitus is sometimes along the following lines: “Give up your career or interest and find something quieter to do” or “Just keep playing and don’t let the tinnitus affect your life”, neither of which are helpful. However, there are more realistic approaches to managing your tinnitus and hearing.
If you are an employed musician, the Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005), which implemented the EU Physical Agents Directive (Noise) in the UK, made employers responsible for the assessment, management and reduction of noise in the workplace, including the provision, where appropriate, of suitable hearing protection. So any employed musician should now have access to advice, suitable hearing protection and/or other forms of noise reduction. But self-employed and amateur musicians also need help and advice.
Risk to hearing and noise reduction
The risk to hearing from noise at work is dependent on the sound intensity (acoustic power). The safe exposure limit is calculated from a combination of exposure time and sound intensity. Reducing the noise level by only three decibels would allow a doubling of the exposure time, but this is not feasible for performances as controlling playing time is not really a very effective way of managing a musician’s noise exposure. Most international regulations for exposure at work state that the loudest noise someone should be exposed to for an eight hour working day is 85 decibels.
Reducing the level of sound reaching the musician’s ear, whilst still providing a realistic listening environment, is the best way forward for most people. A suitably chosen and correctly fitted flat attenuation earplug can be an effective solution, maintaining musical fidelity. In some cases, screens and sound absorbing surfaces can also play a part in managing noise exposure. Some people will develop permanent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) at moderate noise levels whilst others will not. Susceptibility to NIHL is predictable, so it is not possible to say whether an individual is at risk just by taking a hearing test. Saying “I have tough ears” is not a sensible approach to protecting your long-term hearing! And if you have NIHL, don’t say, “It’s too late for me”, it’s all the more important to protect your ears from even more damage and to try to avoid the onset of tinnitus.
Noise Exposure Limits
Headphones can cause Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) and is one of the leading causes of acquired hearing loss in young people. This is partly because of a lack of awareness and understanding of the consequences of the dangers (e.g. hearing loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis, diplacusis), and partly because of the popularity of and access to these devices.
Luckily, there are some things we can do to prevent permanent hearing loss from headphone use.
Listen at lower volumes
Noise of 80 decibels or below (about the volume of busy traffic) can be listened to for about 8 hours without a risk of damage to hearing. That is just over 50% of the volume of most personal listening devices. Above 80 decibels, the time you can listen without damage decreases by half for every extra 3dB of volume and a noise above 120 decibels can cause immediate damage to hearing.
Set the maximum output level on your device
This is a feature on most phones and all good headphone manufacturers. This is also a great way for parents to manage their child's listening levels.
Use noise-cancelling headphones
When we're using headphones in a noisy environment, the natural thing to do is turn up the volume over the background noise - think about when you're on a bus or on the Tube/Metro. Even though it may be difficult for you to perceive and enjoy the music in a loud background noise environment when the headphone volume is dangerously high, the damage risk is still there. Therefore, noise cancellation headphones help to block out the environmental sounds that would make you want to turn up the volume on your device above the background noise, allowing you to listen and enjoy at a lower volume in these situations.
Reduce listening time
If you reduce the amount of time you listen through headphones, there is a good chance you'll avoid reaching the danger limits of noise exposure. Additionally, if you must use headphones for a long time, taking a break for as long as you can (at least 5 minutes) will allow your inner ear hearing structures to rest and recuperate. The length of time you can spend listening to your headphones safely, restarts again. It's recommended that you listen at 60% volume for no longer than 60 minutes without a break.
Use over the ear headphones rather than earbuds that sit closer to the eardrum
The distance between the eardrum and the headphone output can be a factor in the causes of permanent hearing damage. The further away the headphone is from your eardrum, the less likely the volume of the output from the headphones will be above a dangerous level that can cause permanent damage.
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