Photo: Daniel Mendoza/Recording Academy
MusiCares Heads To 2017 ACL To Promote Hearing Health
MusiCares’ Hearing Health Initiative is all about drawing awareness to how important it is for music people to protect their most valuable asset: their hearing.
Artists and crew working at major music festivals are particularly at risk. Long hours and repeated sonic punishment from months of working on stages with extremely powerful sound reinforcement can take a terrible toll on hearing health — something which many in our industry fail to realize.
Luckily, MusiCares is on hand at many major American music festivals — including this year’s Austin City Limits — to educate artists and crew about the real damage that sustained exposure to high decibel level sound can exact on our ears. To help combat that damage, MusiCares also provides professional quality custom-molded ear plugs to qualifying music people who can demonstrate at least five years continued experience working in the industry.
“We know that 15 percent of all Americans between the ages for 20 and 69 suffer from hearing loss, and that goes double for the music community, so if we can save a few more, we’re so happy.” — Erica Krusen, MusiCares
These custom earplugs are available in three reduction levels — 10, 17 and 26 dB — and molded casts of participants’ ears are taken right onsite at the festival each day while supplies last.
"The most rewarding thing about running the Hearing Health Initiative at festival such as ACL is that we get to help so many artists and crew who wouldn't normally know how to protect their hearing," says Erica Krusen, Senior Director of Health and Human Services for MusiCares. " [We] give them the education and earplugs they need to protect their hearing."
What are some helpful tips from the clinicians on site helping MusiCares provide custom earplugs? First, always wear your hearing protection. Rest your ears between shows and practices, because the longer your ears are exposed, the more damage is being done.
“We work in this industry, and we’re always at shows and festivals. It’s really important to protect your hearing!” — Aristotle, MusiCares client
Be aware of your surroundings, whether in the crowd, onstage or backstage. Make sure you’re never too close to the sound reinforcement speakers. Finally, make sure you’re practicing at a reasonable volume level to minimize damage done to your ears between shows and performances.