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How sensitive is your hearing?  Believe it or not many singers find that certain sounds/noises are extremely irritating and sometimes painful to listen to.  Personally I find anyone singing off key makes me feel physically sick, some singers find certain frequencies and decibels irritating like high pitched laughter, screams and loud noises, some to such an extent that the ears experience a 'ringing' sound, ear popping or stuffiness for some time afterwards or more severly cause bleeding of the ears.

If you have auditory problems or sensitive hearing you can take a few precautions to avoid irritation.

  • Wherever possible - avoid the noise that irritates!

  • Use Earplugs to lessen the sound

  • When rehearsing use a large room with an open window to allow the sound to dissapate

  • If you have to use a small room try and deaden the walls so that the sound does not 'bounce' (egg boxes, carpet tiles or foam are suitable).

  • Avoid aspirin--it causes tinnitus.

  • Avoid practising your singing after Swimming and make sure you dry your ears thoroughly

  • Don't sing with a viral infection unless absolutely necessary

  • Avoid drinking Alcohol

If this is an ongoing problem and you are encountering regular occurances of tinnitus, stuffines, ear popping, intense pressure, or bleeding from the ears make an appointment to see your Ear Nose & Throat Doctor as soon as possible.  You may need a TYMPANOGRAM which is a test to see how the ear responds to pressure.

Question: What Type of Earplugs Are Available?
There are basically 2 types of earplugs,the basic cheap foam ones that you squeeze smaller and put in your ear then they expand to the size of your ear. These give you very good protection but can make the sound muffled and bassy, but are very good for very loud gigs over long periods, they are also cheap. The better ones for musicians are nylon and sometimes joined together by string so less easy to lose.

Question: What Earplugs Can You Recommend?
The Elacin 20 Ear Defenders are a good place to start at around ₤10.00, or Alpine music safe earplugs at ₤20.00 which you can customise to vary the amount of ear protection they offer.

There are also companies that custom make ear protection to your individual needs but they can be expensive (₤100 or more)
Ear Plugs
Protect your hearing at rehearsals and concerts with a set of ear plugs designed with musicians in mind!
Ear Plugs for Singers at Amazon UK
Ear Plugs for Singers at Amazon USA

Ensure you can hear your voice and the music with a quality In Ear Montoring System!
Ear Plugs
In Ear Monitors at Amazon UK
In Ear Monitors at Amazon USA

Also Read
Singing With Hearing Loss
Things Singers Should Avoid.
Throat Tension
Vocal Health
Vocal Health Q & A available on the FAQ

Health Links

These are just a small example of the extensive links to online information and resources we have available in the Vocal Health Links section, which contains links to anatomical and health related articles, organisations and advice for singers. (All links open in a new window).

Excessive Noise Levels
FAQ by Douglas Yeo (bass trombonist, Boston Symphony Orchestra) on excessive noise levels on stage

Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers

L'Atelier du Chanteur's Singers FAQ
extensive Singers Health FAQ.

Digital DIY - Protecting Your Hearing
A word in your ear by Clive Williamson (Sound on Sound writer).

Royal National Institute for Deaf People provides information for tinnitus sufferers, hard of hearing and deaf people. Their site includes a searchable directory of uk services and a host of free factsheets and leaflets on all aspects of hearing loss, tinnitus and deafness available for download.

Vocal Acoustics in the Theater
article available at VoiceTeacher