Ever wondered what Ludwig van Beethoven has in common with Alice Cooper? 

Both musicians have (or had) some form of hearing loss that famously affected their musical careers. (Alice Cooper actually wears Starkey hearing aids— excellent choice.) 

As many as 30 million people—many of whom are musicians—have some form of hearing loss. While hearing loss has a few different causes, one that’s more common is noise-induced hearing loss, caused by exposure to loud noise for a long period of time. 

Of course, for musicians, this is all part of the job. Many musicians remember the first time they heard that telltale “ringing” in their ears after a concert. Tinnitus is an unfortunate side effect of noise exposure that is irreversible—but easily treatable.  

Whether it’s classical orchestral or loud, hard rock, noise-induced hearing loss is a very real risk; thankfully, there are a few ways to help protect your ears from hearing loss without sacrificing the sound of music. 

Hearing Protection and Hearing Aids for Musicians 

Over the years, I’ve seen several musicians about hearing loss challenges, from mild to severe. Thankfully, musicians realize quickly when their music doesn’t sound right, so they’ll come to see a hearing care professional to see what the problem is—and find ways to alleviate it. 

These days, musicians take good care of their ears and their hearing, thanks to ear monitors, ear protection and earplugs. With a custom fit that ensures a tight acoustic seal, musicians can hear their music properly without sacrificing their hearing. 

For more severe hearing loss problems, or frustrating tinnitus symptoms, hearing aids can also help musicians get their music back on track. While some musicians, and most not-musically inclined people, shy away from hearing aids out of fear of looking “uncool,” wearing them on a regular basis is a small price to pay to continue to hear the music they love. 

Natural sound is crucial for musicians to hear their music well; while some conventional models offer sound compression, which many people prefer, other models can deactivate compression and make the audio processing more linear and natural for a musician’s ear. 

Tinnitus sound therapy can help mask that ringing or buzzing sound, thanks to more advanced technology built into some hearing aid models. Adjustable hearing aids with independent volume control are also available, so musicians can hear a fuller range of sound. 

Advanced hearing aid technology has come far from the negative image that some people associate them with. Modern hearing aids are not only significantly more powerful, but much more discreet, and for musicians, there are some special perks that can help them, on stage and off. 

What Will “Hearing Aid Mode” Be Like, and How Will It Impact Hearing Care? 

There are multiple apps that can turn your smartphone and earphones into something akin to a personal sound amplifier product (PSAP), but it’s looking like “Hearing Aid Mode” will be more sophisticated, especially when paired with the AirPods Pro 3. 

“Hearing Aid Mode,” according to speculation, will introduce self-assessment features to test your hearing, and then utilize the earphones’ microphone to help in difficult listening environments.  

This immediately made us remember when over-the-counter hearing aid regulations were finalized by the FDA back in 2022; media jumped on the story, people bought them expecting more than they got, and the response was mixed. 

While Apple is taking a different approach by building “Hearing Aid Mode” into their already existing hardware, we’re predicting something similar, especially given Apple’s status as a major technology mogul. 

Concerned for Your Hearing? 

Whether they’re playing in an orchestra hall or jamming on stage, musicians need to protect and care for their ears and their hearing so they can continue to do their job. 

Curious about hearing care? We’re here to help. Feel free to request a callback and a member of our team will reach out with answers to your questions or advice for your concerns. 

Don’t want to wait? Find your closest clinic and call us at: 

Thousand Oaks: (805) 379-0824
Simi Valley: (805) 583-8698
Oxnard: (805) 983-4214
Camarillo: (805) 484-5951

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Gregory PhD, AuD, CCC-A, ABA, NBC-HIS

Dr. Gregory Frazer entered private practice Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensing in 1982. For 14 years he owned and operated Hearing Care Associates, which had 23 offices and was one of the largest audiology private practices in the U.S. Dr. Frazer is a well-known clinician and teacher, and was the first audiologist to obtain dual doctorates in Audiology, both a PhD. in Audiology as well as the new Clinical Doctorate of Audiology, the AuD.