Music induced hearing disorders

Musicians are small muscle athletes. Most musicians don't stop playing due to hearing loss but stop playing due to constant ringing in their ears, hypersensitivity to loud sound, and sound distortion.



Ringing in the ears. Tinnitus can be temporary- like when you get home after a concert and your ears are ringing, or permanent- when the ringing sound is present all of the time, regardless of whether you have been around loud sound recently or not. It is typically thought of as a symptom of hearing loss caused by exposure to loud sound. 

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Injuries to our hearing from loud sound always show the same profile of hearing loss. It does not matter if the sound to which we are listening to is a rock concert, EDM festival, or jack hammer- the profile is the same. Your ear canal is a tube that resonates at a specific pitch, generally between 2000Hz and 6000Hz. When you are listening to loud sound, that pitch is amplified by your ear canal and middle ear cavity which injures your ear's ability to hear in that frequency range. 


Hyperacusis & Recruitment

Once our hearing system is injured, our ability to tolerate loud sound decreases. Recruitment causes your perception of sound to be affected. A small increase in sound level (ex. 5dB) can sound like a 20dB increase. Hyperacusis is when sound levels that used to be tolerable now are painfully uncomfortable to listen to.