Oct 11

Hearing Care for Musicians

Hearing Care for Musicians




A few days ago, for an experiment, I took an on-line hearing check.  I must stress this is not a medical check but an indicator.  If you have any problems with your ears you should always first seek medical advice from your GP or a qualified audiologist.  The fantastic Action On Hearing Loss hosted the check I took and if you want a try I will link to the test at the end of this post.  But on to the circumstances of my test.


Obviously as a musician we rely on our hearing to a lager extent than most people.   We have to be able to filter out individual instruments from an orchestra or band such as, if we are transcribing music.  We need to listen closely to harmonic intervals and frequencies when playing and tuning our instruments and we need to hear discrepancies in a mix if we are also engaged in the recording industry, as I am.

So our ears are important.  I last had an official test about 20 years ago when I realised I had a ringing sound in my ears.  The years in the rock band had taken its toll and I was told I have tinnitus.  The hearing test was surprising, I had above average hearing but I was down in the high mid range frequencies.  Still above the average at the time, but I perceived it as a loss – at least my brain did.  So I learned to live with the tinnitus, which is not easy but that’s another post for the future.

Since I started my blog, the posts I have written about hearing have generated a lot of interest and so I was very pleased to come across Action for Hearing Loss.  I took the test not because I have problems with my hearing, but the tinnitus seems to have worsened over time and I wanted to see if it was affecting my real hearing, or the sound that is coming into my ears as opposed to the ringing noises already in my head.  I was pleased to see the following result.



I will stress again, this is NOT a medical check.  I emailed Action On Hearing Loss to ask permission to use the above screen shot and they make it very clear;

Our hearing check is to encourage people to take these necessary steps to take action on their hearing loss.

It was painless, interesting and very simple to do and the reason for writing this is to encourage you to take the test if only to plant a seed that you may need some medical advice. The whole thing took less than 15 minutes and I am confident that the results were correct.  I used my best headphones, or at least my favourite headphones, a pair of bright pink Urban Ears, like these


and just plugged in to the laptop, they allow you to adjust the volume and then off you go.  I know my ears are not too bad because I often record things that go on TV and I have never had anything sent back for major sonic disasters, mostly editing of lengths or adding and taking away of instruments – sonically I’ve stayed in the clear so far, but it’s no big deal to at least sit back and assess one of your most valuable assets as a musician.

There are LOADS of free downloadable fact sheets, leaflets and other information on the Action On Hearing Loss website so be sure to have a good rummage around.  They have have more than 1,000 staff, 1,092 volunteers and more than 20,000 members supporting them and their work across the UK. I gained lots of extra knowledge about hearing in general from their site and I hope you do the same and maybe pass on the information to other musicians who may benefit. You could even go on and support them in some way if you fine their work useful.

The Action On Hearing Loss website is HERE

And the test is here at http://www.hearinglosscheck.org/hearingcheck/check/


Other Articles relating to musical health

Ear Care 101

Tinnitus Awarenes



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