As a guitarist, one of your greatest assets is your hearing. Ironically, most guitarists never consider the harmful effects that overexposure to loud music can have over time.
You are at risk for noise induced hearing loss when sound levels are over 90dB. To give some perspective...an average rock concert is around 110-130dB.
It's essential that you do what you can to protect your hearing while you still have it. Once the damage is done, it's irreversible. Just ask Paul Gilbert.
Here are 3 things you can do to keep your ears in good health.
1. Turn it Down - I know. Sometimes it's great to crank your amp, your sound system, your headphones, etc. and jam. But if your only volume is LOUD, you're hurting yourself. When listening to music and practicing guitar, keep the volume at a reasonable level. If you're ears are ringing afterwards, it's too loud.
2. If you can't turn it down, Wear Ear Plugs - I'm not talking about those cheap foam ear plugs. Those take all the joy out of music. Invest in some high quality ear plugs designed for musicians. I wear mine at every rehearsal and gig with my band Empire Pursuit. Even with the hardest hitting drummer in the Southeastern US, I have no ringing in my ears when we're done.
3. Be Smart - Above all else, just be smart about it. In general, it's pretty easy to tell when damage is being done to your ears. Remind yourself as often as necessary of the permanent effects of noise induced hearing loss.
At the end of the day, it's all about enjoying the music that you and others are making. By protecting your ears now, you're ensuring your enjoyment for years to come. Be smart. Play hard.
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