If you are a drummer, you are probably well aware of how loud drums are when you play them. It is hard to ignore the loud bangs and clangs that come with playing drums, and perhaps you are worried about your drums messing with your ears or causing damage to them.
Luckily, if you do your research, you can keep your ears from becoming damaged when playing your drums. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about protecting your ears while drumming and how you can best avoid tinnitus and damage to your ears.
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Long answer short, yes. If you play drums and do not take the proper precautions, you can be certain that your ears will get damaged. This is the unfortunate part of drum playing, and it is one of the few instruments that lead to physical damage if the musician does not take proper precautions.
The damage that comes with drum playing can be minor or major depending on how much you play, how often you play, and how loud you are playing your drums. Another thing that can factor into the amount of damage that playing drums deals to your ears is the type of location you are in.
If you are within an enclosed building, the sounds will reverberate, and more damage may be dealt to your unprotected ears. On the other hand, if you are playing in an open field or another large open space, then the amount of damage that your ears will take will be greatly reduced since the sound will not echo back into your ears.
One of the best ways to protect your ears from drumming is using different types of hearing protection. There are many types of hearing protection that you can use for protecting your ears from becoming damaged while you are playing your drums, and all of them are easy to find and typically pretty cheap.
If you can find any of these types of hearing protection, you should be purchasing at least one of them to help protect your ears while you are drumming. Without the proper ear protection, you will be likely to suffer from ear damage, and if you are a full-time drummer, you can expect a lot of ear damage to be coming your way.
Many of the options that exist out there are different types of earplugs. Many people do not like the feel of earplugs which is understandable. They are placed inside your ears, and they often feel uncomfortable as you are trying to go about your normal day-to-day tasks.
Luckily, there are now hearing protection options that are not earplugs. So, if you are one of those who can not handle earplugs, you no longer have to worry. There are now such things as noise-canceling headphones and simple earmuffs that you can use to cancel out the loud noise that comes with drumming.
Simple foam earplugs tend to be a common option amongst most drummers when it comes to ear protection for several reasons. These are not the most fantastic form of hearing protection, but if you can handle the feeling of earplugs and do not need anything fancy, these simple foam earplugs will work great for you.
Simple Foam Earplug Usage:
- Foam earplugs tend to be a cheap type of hearing protection to purchase. You can find them at nearly every local hardware store, and often they are sold at other stores such as grocery stores or even gas stations. Make sure to stock up on them since they are typically one use only.
- Another great thing about the simple foam earplugs is that one size tends to fit everyone. You no longer have to worry about finding the perfect size of earplug to fit your ear. Just pick up a pack of foam earplugs, and there is a 97% chance that they can fit your ear.
- Even though they are simple foam earplugs, they can reduce noise by around twenty to thirty-three decibels. Most drums play at about 100 decibels of noise, so using foam earplugs will easily lower you below the max decibel level you should be playing without earplugs.
Another great earplug style to go with when you want good hearing protection is the triple-flanged earplug. These would be considered around third-tier hearing protection, right above the foam earplugs. If you want better hearing protection than the simple foam earplugs but still do not want to go fancy, triple-flanged is the route to take.
Triple-flanged earplugs are not as cheap as simple foam earplugs, but that is because they are made from silicone, and you can reuse them as many times as you wish. You no longer have to throw out your earplugs after each usage, which is good for your wallet and the environment.
They are easy to insert into your ears, which is something that they have over the simple foam earplugs. Those can be quite difficult to insert into your ears, and sometimes they just do not want to go in at all. However, triple-flanged earplugs are not guaranteed to be one size fits all, so you will need to take that into consideration.
Triple-flanged earplugs tend to lower noise by between 12 – 29 decibels. This is slightly less than the simple foam earplugs, but you get a much clearer sound with the triple-flanged earplugs, even with the noise reduction. Some triple-flanged earplugs, though, do not provide clear sound, so check the packaging before purchase.
A route that many drummers prefer to go with when it comes to wearing hearing protection and keeping their ears from becoming damaged during drumming is to purchase custom-molded earplugs. There are several reasons why this tends to be the standard route and why it may be best for you as well.
- Custom-molded earplugs are crafted to fit your ear perfectly. You do not have to try to find an earplug that fits your ear canal if you get custom-molded earplugs since you have to go for an ear fitting when you purchase them. This means that it will take some time to get your earplugs, but it tends to be the best.
- You can get custom-molded earplugs that only cut out specific frequencies that way, which can decrease the loudest noises and allow you to hear your music still as you play. It tends to make drumming much easier since you need to be able to hear your music as you play, but you need those loud noises decreased.
The only downside that comes with getting a pair of custom-molded earplugs is that they tend to be much more expensive than most options you can go with. However, they will be the best type of hearing protection you can get, which typically makes them well worth the extra money you have to put down to purchase a pair.
Another great route to go when you are trying to prevent hearing damage while drumming is to get a pair of noise-canceling headphones. These are also an excellent idea for anyone that does not like wearing earplugs for some reason. The noise-canceling headphones also tend to be more comfortable all around.
Noise-canceling headphones tend to be one of the more expensive options that you can go with when it comes to protecting your ears from taking damage. They typically fall right between the range of the triple-flanged earplugs and getting a custom-molded pair of earplugs.
The great thing about noise-canceling headphones, though, is they allow you to hear music tracks still that you are listening to as you are playing. Not many other options you can use to protect your ears from hearing damage that comes with drumming allow for this.
Just keep in mind that noise-canceling headphones may not always be an option for you, especially if you do not want headphones in the way while you are trying to play. It can be best to go with a pair of earplugs for concerts or other live music events, as those will not get in your way while you are trying to play.
The final type of hearing protection that can prevent hearing damage is to get a pair of special earmuffs. The earmuffs do not need to be anything fancy, and the most common type that drummers use is construction earmuffs designed to cancel all noise.
Earmuffs are only good for when you are practicing by yourself, and you do not need any external sound to get into your ears. This limits the useability of earmuffs for drummers, but if you have nothing else and need to decrease the noise, then the earmuffs can be an okay option.
If you plan on trying to listen to music or a track you are trying to practice, do not use earmuffs. You cannot get external music into your ears when using earmuffs unless you use a second set of earphones to listen to the music inside your earmuffs.
However, when it comes to pure noise reduction, earmuffs are the best in the market since they cancel out all noise whatsoever. If that is what you are looking for, then, by all means, use the earmuffs when you are playing. If you plan on playing in concerts or other live events, you should not be using earmuffs to protect your ears.
Another great idea when trying to protect your ears from suffering damage from playing drums is to just practice with noise-reducing equipment. This can sometimes be easier than trying to use hearing protection, but it tends to be a much more expensive route to take.
You should only be considering noise-reducing equipment if you can not get your hands on good hearing protection. Hearing protection will be a lot cheaper, and it will not be as challenging to use. Not only that, but you can use hearing protection regardless of where you go, but you can not always do the same for equipment.
Benefits Of Noise Reducing Equipment:
- Noise-reducing equipment cuts back a lot on the noise levels that come with drumming, and thus, it can allow you to practice more if you have neighbors. You will not have to worry about making them upset when you are up at all hours practicing your drumming skills.
- Hearing protection only affects you, which is sometimes all you want, but if you live with other people or people listen to you a lot, using noise-reducing equipment can be a great idea. This way, the people listening to you play will not have to worry about your playing being too loud.
A great option when it comes to purchasing noise-reduction equipment is to get some low-volume cymbals. These cymbals help to minimize high-level frequencies when you are playing drums, which can help decrease hearing damage. They are also great for reducing volume in general when you are playing your drums.
You can use low-volume cymbals whenever you want for the most part, so if you own them, you should make use of them as often as you can. Whenever you can decrease the amount of noise around you when you are playing the drums, it will go a long way in helping keep your ears safe from damage.
Low-volume cymbals are not always the best option for when you are playing live since you want that high level of noise, but at the very least, always use them when you are practicing. You will sacrifice nothing and help keep your hearing safe from being damaged from your drumming.
Another excellent type of equipment to help decrease drumming noise and prevent hearing damage is quiet drumheads. These are not as common all the time amongst most drummers, but they can go a long way in helping prevent that hearing damage without sacrificing the sounds of your drumming.
Quiet drum heads are made of a unique material, and it tends to be a flexible mesh that helps deafen a lot of the noise of your playing. That is not always the best thing to have, but if you are focused more on just practice and not killing your ears, then quiet drum heads can be a great idea.
If you are planning on playing a live performance, you should not be using quiet drumheads. You will not get a good sound, and all around, the playing will be pretty bad. Only use quiet drum heads when you are practicing alone since you do not need them to be loud, and you can still get in your necessary practice to be a good drummer.
There are many good options out there when it comes to quiet drumheads, so just take some time to do a quick search to find the brand that will work just right for you. Nearly all of them are great options for reducing noise when you are drumming, but not all will be right for your drums in particular.
If you want the ultimate low noise experience, you can not beat going with a set of electronic drums over classical drums. We've actually compiled a list of the best quiet drum sets, so check that out if you're interested in this.
They are not always the most popular option, though, but if electronic-sounding music is up your alley, then a set of electronic drums can keep your ears safe from hearing damage all around.
Electronic Drum Sets:
- Electronic drum sets typically come with drum and cymbal sets that are created out of rubber or the mesh-type material that comes with quiet drumheads. This helps decrease the noise on these sets all the way down to almost non-existent if that is what you are looking for.
- This type of drum set can even be cheaper than standard sets of drums. Also, since electronic drum sets do not require extra materials to reduce their noise, you save even more money that way. Electronic drum sets tend to be great for beginners because of their cost-efficiency.
- The final great thing about electronic drum sets is that you can often find ones in whatever style you prefer. They are much more customizable than the standard drum set, so if you want drums that are more pertinent to your personality, then an electronic drum set is suitable for you.
There is a large assortment of ways to prevent damage to your ears when you are playing the drums. None of them are free ways, but if you put in the money for the best options, then you will be set to go for a long time. In the end, all that matters is that you go with the route and option that works best for you personally.