Hearing Damage is 100% permanent and 100% irreversible
As a musician your ears are the most valuable asset that you have, aside from your ability to perform. It’s important for musicians to protect their hearing as well as the general population because the damage to hearing is 100% permanent and 100% irreversible.
Earplugs are important for preventing hearing damage, especially in musicians, because it is the simplest thing for an individual to implement. Custom-made hearing protection is a step up from the generic sized hearing protection that you can get off the shelf, it is better fitted to the individual.
The Musicians’ Hearing Health Scheme is run by Help Musicians and Harley Street Hearing. We have several locations based around the UK, so there is likely to be a clinic running that is near to you.
“As a bassoonist and an audiologist I think it’s great that Help Musicians are making custom made hearing protection accessible and affordable. It’s something that I am really keen to continue promoting to musicians to make sure that they know that they have an option. I think it’s really important to be able to offer something that is subsidised to the musicians who might be a little more uncertain of using hearing protection. It gives them a starting point where maybe they don’t feel it’s as big a financial investment, and gives them the opportunity to try something that is so much more better suited to them.”
If you were asked in however many years time when you have an issue with your ears if you were to pay £50 towards recovering the hearing that you have lost, you absolutely would do that, so why not do it now and protect and prevent that change from happening.
Musicians’ Hearing Health Scheme
Once accepted onto the scheme you can access an audiological assessment. During your appointment, the audiologist will create moulds of your ears, which will be used to create a set of custom pro musicians earplugs which you will receive in the post a few weeks later. These will allow you to protect your hearing effectively in any live music setting without impeding your ability to do your job.
If any concerns for your hearing come up during the appointment, you will receive expert advice on referral routes and next steps to managing any problems in the long term. The cost of your appointment will be heavily subsidised, so you can access all of this for just £50, with a 25% discount available for Musicians’ Union & ISM members.
For further details about the scheme see here
Fiona Butterworth is a senior clinical audiologist at Harley Street Hearing and Musicians’ Hearing Services. See her video on protecting your hearing below.
Fiona joined the team at Harley Street Hearing in 2018 and is one of our senior audiologists. She studied at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (part of the University of Southampton), completing a joint honours undergraduate degree in acoustical engineering and music before starting her masters in audiology. She has a varied clinical workload including selection, fitting and fine tuning of hearing technology specifically for musicians.
Keeping up her musical endeavours in her spare time, Fiona is keen to use her own experiences to inform her work, and is continually broadening her understanding of how hearing, hearing aids, and music are linked. Fiona has given presentations to several London orchestras and organisations in addition to speaking at a number of conferences, raising awareness and educating on the importance of using hearing protection within all musical environments.