Everyone knows it can be dangerous to your hearing to go to noisy concerts or blast music in the car, but did you know it can also be harmful to the one playing the music, as well? According to the American Hearing Research Foundation, the most damage comes from high-frequency sounds, such as those produced by violins and violas. This is especially true for the left ear because it is held close to the instrument during performances. Many violinists face a conundrum because they need to have excellent hearing to adjust the instrument’s pitch levels while playing, yet their hearing is gradually damaged by playing.
For non-string instruments like trumpets, experts recommend musicians use mutes to muffle the sound and protect their hearing. Other musicians, including violinists, have the option of wearing special “vented” ear plugs that help protect the ears without distorting the musician’s perception of the pitch. A doctor on your hearing plan can make specialized recommendations to fit your instrument and situation, so protect your hearing by scheduling an appointment before your next performance.