Our hearing is one of our most precious senses and this is especially the case when you're a DJ. But ironically DJ's put their ears more at risk than anyone. Even though there are many ways to protect your ears, like earplugs!
When you're a DJ, your life revolves around music. And let's face it: almost every kind of music sounds better with the volume turned up. It's also the shortest route to ruining your hearing forever. It's crucial to protect your ears, especially when they're basically your moneymaker.
Four things you need to be aware of when you're a DJ
1. The problem lies in prolonged exposure. Continuous noise for 1-3 hours straight causes the issues.
2. Ears become de-sensitized over time when you're in a club. Our perception of 'loudness' goes down which leads to DJ's to turn things up.
3. DJ's are most sensitive to midrange frequencies of 3-4 kHz, which is where a lot of hearing damage and loss can occur.
4. Crack is no candy. (but that has nothing to do with your ears - in general)
With this in mind, there are different things you can do to make sure you're safe.
The ear can tolerate short bursts of loud noise in 10, 20 or even 30-minute increments (depending on how loud it is) so you need to break up the overall exposure to noise.
1. Before your set, throw in earplugs as soon as you enter the club. This is usually an extra 30 minutes to 1 hour of exposure that can be completely eliminated.
2. During your set, turn down the monitors between mixes. It’s really easy to just leave the monitors on throughout the set, but over time they will sound 'less loud' and your instincts will be to turn them up. By introducing short 2-3 minute breaks, those ear hairs get the chance to reset and know what’s normal again.
3. After your set, go outside and take a break from the sound system entirely and let your ears recover. If you have a lot of ringing in your ears, then avoid another gig the next day. The ears can recover quickly from short-term trauma but successive 'impacts' just like a concussion can lead to permanent hearing loss or tinnitus.
Bonus: less alcohol is another sort of earplugs
Oh and something that isn't fun to hear, but important to keep in mind: easy with the shots. There's a fair amount of medical evidence that the more you drink, the lesser you hear, the more you'll feel the need to turn up the volume even more. So cheers to your ears.