Tips for Musicians with Hearing loss

by Rachel Ersoff, AuD

The most common cause of hearing loss is from the natural aging process, and the second most common cause of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss. Musicians are at a high risk for hearing loss, much more so than non-musicians. A 2014 German study showed musicians to be 4 times as likely to suffer from hearing loss and more susceptible to tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. This is certainly a public health issue, as hearing loss is known to cause extreme stress, social isolation, and depression.

Some musicians who have gone public with their hearing loss and tinnitus include Neil Young, Phil Collins, Chris Martin, and Peter Townshend. But amateur and classical musicians are also exposed to the same risky noise levels. In an interview, amateur classical pianist Joyce Morton shares 5 specific tips on being a musician with hearing loss:

1. Accept your hearing loss. Denial is the first stage of grief for people experiencing any kind of loss. Coming to terms with reality helped Joyce create a deeper connection to music and to the people around her.
2. Wear hearing aids, and be diligent about it. There is a “breaking in” period. Be patient.
3. Work with your audiologist to create a custom music program on your hearing aids. Everyone perceives their own instrument differently.
4. Understand the hearing aids will make your instrument sound different.
5. Celebrate the benefit of hearing aids bringing music to life again.

To get started on a formal evaluation of your hearing health, call 505-982-4848 to make an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat physician.
 Jacobs, Tom. New Data Finds High Rate of Hearing Loss among Musicians.
 Rabinowitz, P.M. (2000) Noise-induced Hearing Loss. American Family physician, 61(9), 2759-2760.
 Williams, Nancy M. Top 5 Tips for Wearing Hearing Aids and Making Music.