Tinnitus: Understanding its impact on singers and musicians

Tinnitus is a common condition that affects millions of people around the world, including singers and musicians. It is characterized by a persistent ringing, buzzing, or humming sound in the ears, which can be distracting and even debilitating in some cases. In this article, we will explore what tinnitus is, how it affects singers and musicians, and what steps you can take to protect your hearing.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition that causes a persistent ringing, buzzing, or humming sound in the ears. It can affect one or both ears and may be constant or intermittent. The severity of the symptoms can vary from person to person, with some people experiencing mild ringing while others are completely incapacitated by the noise.

Tinnitus can be caused by a variety of factors, including exposure to loud noise, age-related hearing loss, ear infections, and other underlying health conditions. It is important to note that tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom of an underlying condition.

How does tinnitus affect singers and musicians?

Singers and musicians are particularly vulnerable to tinnitus because of their exposure to loud music and noise. Repeated exposure to loud noise can cause damage to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear, which can lead to tinnitus and other forms of hearing loss.

For singers and musicians, tinnitus can have a significant impact on their ability to perform. The persistent ringing or buzzing can be distracting and make it difficult to hear oneself or others accurately. It can also make it challenging to distinguish between different notes and frequencies, which can impact the quality of the performance.

What can we do to protect our hearing?

As singers and musicians, it is crucial to take steps to protect our hearing and prevent tinnitus. Some tips for protecting your hearing include:

  • Wear earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones when performing or rehearsing in loud environments.
  • Take regular breaks to give your ears a rest and allow them to recover from exposure to loud noise.
  • Avoid listening to music or other sounds at high volumes for extended periods of time.
  • Get regular hearing tests to monitor your hearing and identify any potential problems early.
  • Consider investing in custom-made earplugs that are specifically designed for musicians and singers. I’ve written about this in this post if you’d like to find out more.

In keeping with my “No BS” policy, I personally invested in two sets of custom-made attenuated earplugs. One of these sets has a 10 dB noise reduction, which I use while coaching singers. The second set has a 21 dB noise reduction, which I use at any event where my ears are going to be subjected to loud noises for sustained periods of time. This includes any event where extreme noise levels could potentially affect my hearing, such as concerts or motor racing events, etc.

Nowadays, earplugs similar to the ones I use are readily available online, like these ones from Eargasm. If you don’t have the time, energy or desire to get some earplugs custom-made (this can take up to four weeks, or possibly longer), then I highly recommend the Eargasm earplugs sold on Amazon. 21 dB noise reduction is ideal for concerts and other events with extreme noise levels.

Disclaimer: If you make a purchase from one of the above links, a tiny commission goes to supporting the site. In keeping with my “No BS” policy, I only ever recommend products that I personally use or know are beneficial to my readers.

Next steps

If you are a singer or musician who has been impacted by tinnitus or any kind of hearing condition, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional.

Paule Enso at Rapid Vocal Results is a trained vocal coach who has 30 years of experience working with singers who have all kinds of hearing loss conditions and challenges, including tinnitus. He can help you develop strategies to manage your symptoms and improve your vocal performance.

Contact Paule Enso at Rapid Vocal Results today to learn more.

4 thoughts on “Tinnitus: Understanding its impact on singers and musicians”

  1. Thanks for this article! You pinpointed some very helpful tips for tinnitus! Seriously, I haven’t even heard of some of these, so I want thank you for your work. How long have you studied this for?

    1. Hi James,

      I have been passionately studying all things voice for over 30 years. Tinnitus can be a debilitating condition for not just musicians, but anybody that makes a living with their voice, like singers, instrumentalists, professional public speakers, actors, etc.

      I have successfully worked with a number of clients who are affected with various levels of tinnitus and have been able to provide them with additional tools and techniques to improve their pitch, their ability to follow melody, etc.


  2. Even when singing with my phone speakers I get ringing in my ears, it’s my own voice volume on high or long notes that seems to trigger it. Wondering if these methods work with “internal” noise or just external?

    1. Hi Bernadette, thank you for your enquiry.

      The short answer is that I would need to speak to you in person to gain a better understanding of your tinnitus condition before being able to make any suggestions to reduce the severity of your tinnitus symptoms.

      Happy to have a chat. Please email me at paule@rapidvocalresults.com to discuss further (confidentially).

      – Paule Enso

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