Music & Life

Ears still reeling from the latest Godsmack, Black Eyed Peas, or Lady Gaga concert? Jam out to your fave artists Disturbed, Audioslave, Rihanna, and Kanye West 24/7 on your iPod? Do you love your music LOUD? Keep it up and you might end up as deaf as your Granny by age 30! If you want to keep listening to your favorite music, you have to protect your ears.

It’s not rocket science. Save your ears from total hearing annihilation by following a few simple steps like using the iPhone app “NoiseLevel” between songs next time you’re at a concert and stand a bit further back if the needle’s off the chart! Keep reading to find out more easy ways to reduce hearing loss… like special earplugs just for drummers!

Teens and young adults experience severe hearing loss at faster rates than ever before.[1] [2] In the United States, recent studies have shown that 1 in 5 American teens have suffered hearing loss, with an increase in hearing loss occurring in low income brackets.[3] Much of this hearing loss has been attributed to noise exposure like rock concerts, but noisy music events aren’t the only culprit.

While bands like AC/DC, Gallows,  and Manowar earned a reputation for “turning it up to 11,” today overuse of personal mp3 players and cell phones contribute just as much to the problem of hearing loss in teens and young adults. Add the exponential growth of personal gadgets and music devices like the iPad, and Bluetooth headsets to the growing hearing loss epidemic, and you can see why today’s Millennial Generation seems doomed to a deaf future.

Try these simple ways to reduce hearing loss.

1. Reduce Noise

High levels of noise and sound are the leading causes of hearing loss globally, especially for young people. You can reduce the amount of noise by listening to your iPod less and by limiting your exposure to excessively loud noise, like rock concerts. Don’t know what the noise level is? Try out the iPhone app “NoiseLevel” which let’s you know the loudness of your surroundings in decibels  or the WideNoise app  which gives you realtime noise detection from around the world and lets you report your own noise levels through an interactive map.

2. Earplugs

Use special musicians' earplugs to defend your ears and hear perfectlyWhile earplugs are not the trendiest fashion statements around, you can reduce damage to your ears significantly by using earplugs on a regular basis, like during band practice. Even though earplugs muffle the sound, you can still hear the music and feel the beat in your bones. Westonemakes special ear plugs for musicians, especially drummers! I wish I had used those when I was jamming at sixteen!

3. Take a Break

Whether you are mixing your next project or just chatting with your friends on the phone, give your ears a break. Audio engineers are especially susceptible to hearing loss because of the long hours spent listening to music. Ears fatigue and repeated overuse can lead to hearing loss.

4. Get the Fear

Experience hearing damage - Play it down app can 'auto-old' your music

Experience hearing damage - Play it down app can 'auto-old' your music

If you have doubts about how serious a problem hearing damage is, and how much you should bother trying to prevent it, try the new Play It Down iOS app which “auto-olds” your music so you can hear what it sounds like to someone with age-related hearing loss. It also lets you test your high frequency sensitivity and measure the noise level around you so you can really get a sense of how your hearing’s holding up and when you need to protect it.

5. Listen to Your Buds

If you want to learn more about hearing loss in teens, check out Listen to Your Buds. This website provides excellent resources on hearing loss in the young, ways to reduce hearing loss, and a helpful pledge to reduce hearing loss in the next generation.

Believe it or not, preventing hearing loss can be as easy as turning the volume down on your iPod or choosing to talk your BFF in person.

You can prevent drastic hearing loss and live to enjoy a lifetime of sound!

Share your own experiences with hearing loss and noise with us in the comments below. Give us your tips on reducing noise exposure or ask us questions.

Show article sources


  1. GAVISH, E. (2009). Break out the earplugs: Loud concerts, iPods cause hearing damage at a younger age. Retrieved from>.
  2. Seppa, N. (2010). Teen hearing loss rate worsens. Science News for Kids, 178(6), 74
  3. Moore, M. (2010). Teens at Risk: “We’re on the Edge of an Epidemic” Series #1. ASHA Leader, 15(11), 1-38.