How to... protect your hearing

Damaged vocal cords or debilitated hands are obvious problems for singers and musicians. But too many of us fail to understand the importance of hearing conservation. Check out these top tips from Kevin Ironside of Ultimate Ear.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 29 Jan 2013
  • min read
So we asked Kevin Ironside of Ultimate Ears to give us some advice on this issue. ‘Having good ears is extremely important; these are the instruments that tell you when you are square on the note, they enable you to perform and they help determine how you sound. They are as important as a singer’s voice or a decent pair of studio monitors,’ he explains.

‘Frequent, prolonged exposure to loud noise increases the risk of damaging your ears or getting tinnitus and hearing loss. So taking care to avoid very loud sounds, or protect your ears against them, is essential for all musicians.’

You can read our guide to typical noise levels, measured in decibels or dB, to help you get a sense of the frequencies you are exposing your ears to. The information was provided by the Health and Safety Executive.

Kevin’s top facts and tips for conserving your hearing:

  • The Control of Noise at Work Regulations determine that if you experience peaks of 140dB of noise you should be wearing hearing protection

  • Exposure to 110dB of noise for more than half hour can permanently damage your hearing

  • Turn the volume down; even with the use of in-ear monitors you should be in control of what noise levels you expose your ears to

  • Don't put up with excessive noise at work; make sure your workplace operates within the government-approved noise limits and approach your manager for advice on reducing the noise and getting hearing protection

  • Wearing hearing protection can increase how long you can safely be exposed to loud noise for

  • See your audiologist for routine hearings tests; this will help determine that the measures you have put in place to protect your ears are working

  • Wearing hearing protection does not mean you have to sacrifice what you can hear; it means you can listen safely

  • Use common sense: keeping your ears healthy will prevent you from being one of the many musicians who, after years of overexposure to noise, wish they had made better choices

Ultimate Ear was established in 2003 and offers a range of certified ear protection products especially designed for musicians and those working within the music industry. The company’s solutions range from custom gloves or tips for your in-ear headphones, flat response passive plugs for live performers and bespoke electronic in-ear monitors for professional music performers who need live monitoring products.

We have teamed up with the company to offer one lucky reader a pair of bespoke ear protectors worth £170. The SoundEar protector is a single driver in-ear monitor which offers a safe and convenient solution for those who require a clear sound with high levels of attenuation.  Enter our competition here.

Visit to learn more.