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Music production and hearing damages : how to be in the safe side ?
Old 17th February 2019
Gear Nut

Music production and hearing damages : how to be in the safe side ?


After getting a noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus on both ears because of earbuds use, I want to go back to music production.

However, I am still worrying about making my situation worst than it is now, in the short term as well as in the long term.

I would like to get your advice, especially if you had tinnitus and/or hearing loss and you continued music without worsening your situation. (or if it worsened, please explain what made it worst)

Here are my decisions :

1.So, I decided to stop all earbuds and headphones.

2.I would not go to any festivals or nightclub. I am not particularily interested in that kind of thing, so it is not something that I would miss.
Anyway, if I had to go to a loud event, I would use earplug of at least 30db of reduction, and I would keep care to ne be in front of the monitors.

3. When I go outside, I always have some earplugs in my pockets. I would use that for example in public transports when it is loud (like the subway) or in any loud place.
I work in high school, so sometime there is some area that can be loud because of people talking etc. So I use my earplugs in this situation.

4. For any use of loud devices for "daily" task, like using a mower, I use ears protections too.

5. When doing music, I only use electronic instruments, I don't have to manage any loud instruments, like real drums etc.

I use Adam A5X monitors, and a Adam Sub7 sub (I don't use the sub often, it is more for checking the low end).

All my work would be mixed and mastered by a sound engineer, not by me. It means I will not have to spend hours and hours in front of my monitors to mix elements etc.
I don't know if it is important but I prefer to mention it too.

I would never go loud with my monitors, but again, I have a deep fear of damaging my ears unconsciously, because when hearing damage come, you don't notice it at first, you notice it when it's too late.

So, any advice, any opinions on my "process" ?

Thank you !
Old 17th February 2019
It sounds like you got it covered with hearing conservation. Hats off to you for making the decision to protect your hearing from further loss.

I too use ear plugs for mowing the lawn or using any power tools. I even use them when vacuuming the house.

Headphones and earbuds have the potential for causing serious damage and many don't realize how they are slowly damaging their hearing over the course of months and years.
Old 27th March 2019
Gear Maniac

I stopped music production for about 8 years after developing tinnitus. Not out of fear of worsening the problem but from depression brought on by the tinnitus (the hearing damage I could live with, the tinnitus was annoyingly loud.) I started again about 2 years ago. I'm not aware of any worsening of either my hearing damage or my tinnitus (difficult to tell with either, though, especially the tinnitus which has volume fluctuations no matter what I do, but which is overall a little better than when it started.)

I sometimes wear earplugs when I go to concerts, sometimes not. Depends on how far from the stage I am, how loud the concert is. My hearing damage is such that my mid-range perception is poor and this combined with the curve of the earplug volume adjustment has the potential to completely ruin the experience, making the music sound dull and flat, so I'd rather buy the cheap tickets and stand in the back where the band look like ants and get decent sound. Never noticed increased ringing on going home. But again, hard to tell. Sometimes exposure to loud-ish music makes the tinnitus quieter for some time after!

I don't recommend following this behavior. Yours is more sensible.

In EDM clubs and at EDM festivals I wear them. Somehow that music still sounds nice and well balanced with the earplugs in where rock often suffers.

I don't bother in public as rarely is there something loud enough. I don't think loud conversation can harm you and have never found the subway to be loud (in the limited time I've spend in places which have them.) If I walk past a construction area I cross the road to be as far away as possible, even take a different route if it's not too far out of my way. Probably I should start carrying my earplugs for this, good idea .

When producing I find I rarely want the volume very high anyway so I am not concerned about that at all. It's more a problem when listening to other people's music, there I like to turn it up. I just have to try not to do it too much and when I recognize I may have pushed it too high I turn it down - this usually happens quickly as I have hightened sensitivity to volume in both headphones and on small speakers since the damage (oddly not on good quality club/concert/festival speakers.) I adjust the listening volume regularly based on my current feeling of how loud it is.
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