How MusiCares Helps The Music Community Protect Their Hearing Year-Round
Proper hearing is vital for a career in music, arguably more so than in any other career. But the constant exposure to loud noise that often accompanies a career in the industry frequently leads to serious hearing damage.
According to a study of the health insurance records of nearly 7 million people, professional musicians are almost four times more likely to suffer noise-induced hearing loss than other people.
The study also shows that music professionals are 57 percent more likely to experience tinnitus because of their jobs. What's more, hearing damage is irreversible—so preventing hearing loss in the first place is crucial for career longevity in music.
This idea is central to the work of MusiCares, a safety net for the music industry that provides preventative, emergency, and recovery programs to support the health and welfare of music people. This October, MusiCares is celebrating "Protect Your Hearing Month" with a series of events focused on hearing health and damage prevention.
Although the organization is dedicating this month to the topic, supporting hearing protection for music people is an ongoing effort for the MusiCares team—365 days a year.
In 2014, MusiCares launched a new initiative to help prevent hearing loss in the music community by providing free custom-fit earplugs to music industry professionals across the country. MusiCares set up a series of clinics at festivals, concert venues, and music companies, where hearing professionals created molds of participants' ears, which are then used to create custom earplugs.
The process takes no more than 10 minutes, so busy crew members, musicians, and artists can get fitted for their earplugs and quickly return to their work. The molds are then sent to one of MusiCares' partners, such as 1 of 1 Custom, who create the custom-fit earplugs and ship them directly to each music industry professional.
Since the program's inception, MusiCares has provided complimentary custom-fit earplugs to 23,912 music industry professionals at 479 clinics throughout the country. The program's cost to date is more than $3,910,596, meaning MusiCares has spent almost $4 million dollars on hearing damage prevention for the music industry.
In addition to its Hearing Clinics, MusiCares also provides monetary support for hearing health via medical grants. Music professionals can use these grants to purchase hearing aids, buy hearing protection, or visit an audiologist.
One of our MusiCares clients, a 57-year-old professional drummer, said it best: "This is amazing and so helpful. Having hearing trouble as a musician, or anyone for that matter, can be scary and a real challenge. [Hearing aids are] such a tremendous help, [and] I can't thank you enough...I really appreciate all you do."
*For more information on our hearing clinics or medical grants, visit our Get Help section.