Good hearing is very important to a singer, but we don’t often think about it. Unfortunately, you may not realize your hearing is compromised until the damage is irreversible. Prevention is the best and perhaps only tool to keep your ears in good shape.
Exposure to very loud noises, even briefly, can be very dangerous, but even moderately loud noise or music over a period of time can spell trouble. If you play in a rock band (or even a concert band) you may be at risk. Hearing protection is called for if you use machinery like a power saw, lawnmower, motorcycle or air compressor. Working in a noisy environment such as a bar or factory can cause damage that adds up over time. Do you play piccolo? How about hearing protection on you right side, at least when you practice. And headphones are a common source of hearing damage. It’s entirely too easy to crank up the volume to a dangerous level. (Don’t trust the manufacturer to limit the upper end for you.) Warning signs are when you need to turn the volume up to get the same thrill as previously and when the people around you can hear what you are listening to.
You may not be aware of any signs that your hearing is failing, but you’ve gotten into a dangerous zone if things sound muffled after a rock concert or party. If you value your hearing you will not stand close to the speakers. If you have to shout to the person next to you, you should probably move farther away from the sound source.
And lastly, you probably know that you shouldn’t put anything into your ears. You could harm the eardrum. But even something as innocent as tissue can easily leave bits behind that end up causing a blockage. If your ear itches or gives you other problems, you should see a doctor. Your family physician may be able to help, or your may be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist.