Learn from Musical Heroes & Protect Your Ears this Summer
Similar to how the bodies of professional athletes suffer immense physical strain, the ears of musicians and other professionals in the music industry have to endure unnaturally loud sounds for extended periods of time. In many famous cases, this has lead to permanent hearing damage, highlighting how important it is for musicians, or even avid concert goers, to protect their hearing. We’ve highlighted three famous examples of musicians and music professionals with hearing damage or loss over the space of three centuries.
Neil Young is arguably one of the most acclaimed musicians of our modern time, having been elected twice to the rock ‘n roll hall of fame and having produced over thirty different albums. His music was varied, ranging from rousing protest songs to more gentle ballads, highlighting his versatility and true musical talent. Unfortunately, Neil Young suffered with tinnitus throughout the majority of his career. The hearing condition is characterised by a constant ringing in the ears, often the result of persistently loud music. Fans suspect that his music became softer in his later years because of his condition.
Proving that not only on-stage musicians are vulnerable to hearing damage, music producer George Martin also suffered with his hearing in later years. He shot to fame as the producer of the Beatles, and had much influence over the creation of their music. After a long and successful career with the Beatles and other world class musicians, he retired after his hearing lost its accuracy.
Perhaps one of the most famous examples of hearing loss by a musical professional is the case of composer Ludwig Beethoven. What makes his story so unique is that despite the very obvious challenges of being completely deaf, the German composer still managed to produce some of the greatest pieces of classical music this world has ever heard. Historians are still unsure of what exactly caused his deafness, but possible theories include the high amount of lead in his body or his habit of dousing himself with freezing cold water to keep him awake and alert.
We’ve seen here that musicians on the stage, as well as other musical professionals, are vulnerable to hearing damage. However, fans and avid concert goers often share similar environments to their rock star heroes, and are encouraged to take precautions to protect their hearing. Music levels at concerts and festivals can reach a shattering 130 decibels, which is way above the recommended 85, highlighting the need for ear protection.