WhisperRoom™, Author at WhisperRoom, Inc.™
8 Ways Musicians Can Protect Their Hearing

As a musician, your hearing is one of your most valuable assets. Exposure to loud music and noise can lead to permanent hearing damage, significantly impacting your ability to create and enjoy music. Here are eight ways musicians can protect their hearing and maintain their auditory health.

1. Limit Exposure to Loud Music and Noise

One of the most effective ways to protect your hearing is to limit your exposure to loud sounds. Whether you’re attending a concert, rehearsing with your band, or even listening to music through headphones, be mindful of the volume levels.

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) occurs when the sensitive structures in the inner ear are damaged by loud sounds. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss.

Image the depicts "Level of Noise in Decibels (dB)" to categorize various noise levels between 20 dB and 140 dB

As noise levels increase by 3 decibels, the safe listening duration is halved. For instance, you can listen to sounds at 85 decibels for up to 8 hours. If the volume rises to 88 decibels, the safe listening time drops to 4 hours. At 91 decibels, the safe exposure time reduces further to just 2 hours. To prevent NIHL, take breaks and lower the volume when possible.

2. Use Ear Protection in Loud Environments

When you’re in loud environments, such as concerts, clubs, or even when using power tools or motorized lawn equipment, it’s essential to use ear protection. Earplugs and earmuffs can significantly reduce the volume of loud noises and protect your ears from potential damage.

An image of 3 earplug sets with a light blue background to illustrate the importance of wearing ear protection in loud environments.

Custom-fitted earplugs are a great option for musicians as they provide a comfortable fit and effective noise reduction. According to ASHA, wearing earplugs or earmuffs can lower noise exposure levels by 15 to 40 decibels. The reduction can make a substantial difference in preventing hearing damage over time. Additionally, high-fidelity earplugs are available, which reduce noise levels evenly across frequencies, preserving the quality of music while protecting your hearing.

3. Wear In-Ear Monitors (IEMs) When Performing Live

In-ear monitors (IEMs) are a crucial tool for musicians who perform live, offering one of the best ways musicians can protect their hearing during performances.

IEMs allow you to hear a mix of music at a lower volume than traditional stage monitors. This not only helps you perform better but also protects your ears from the high decibel levels on stage. Investing in quality IEMs can make a significant difference in preserving your hearing.

Pro Fit Hearing discusses why musicians need in-ear monitors to protect their hearing.

4. Listen to Your Devices at Lower Volumes

It’s not just live performances that can damage your hearing. Listening to your TV, stereo, smartphone, or other devices at high volumes can also contribute to hearing loss over time. Make a conscious effort to keep the volume at a safe level and take breaks to give your ears a rest. Do yourself a favor and turn it down.

Note: iPhones and Androids have settings to allow volume limits on headphones and connected devices. On iPhone, navigate to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Headphone Safety. Turn on “Reduce Loud Audio” and set your maximum volume to a desired limit.

DIY Pinto demonstrates how to limit volume on an iPhone

5. Let Your Ears Rest After a Concert or Rehearsal

After exposure to loud music, whether it’s a concert or a rehearsal, give your ears some time to recover. Extended periods of loud noise can fatigue your ears, and taking a break can help prevent long-term damage. Aim to spend some quiet time in a peaceful environment to allow your ears to recuperate.

6. Avoid Using Cotton Swabs to Clean Your Ears

It may seem like a good idea to use cotton swabs to clean wax out of your ear canal, but this practice can be harmful. Cotton swabs can push the wax further into the ear, increasing the risk of damaging your eardrum or causing an infection.

Image of man cleaning his ear with a cotton swab and making a wincing facial expression due to discomfort.

Additionally, your ears have a natural cleaning mechanism that helps move wax out of the ear canal, and interfering with this process can cause more harm than good. For safer ear cleaning, consider using ear drops designed to soften earwax or consult with a healthcare professional.

7. Manage Stress to Alleviate Tinnitus

Tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing in the ears, can be exacerbated by stress. Finding ways to manage stress, such as physical exercise, meditation, or hobbies, can help alleviate the effects of tinnitus. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can improve your overall well-being and help protect your hearing.

8. Have Your Hearing Evaluated Regularly

Periodic hearing evaluations are recommended for musicians. Early detection of hearing loss can help you take steps to prevent further damage. Schedule regular check-ups with an audiologist to monitor your hearing health and address any issues as soon as they arise.

Image of a female audiologist and male patient during a hearing exam.

By incorporating these habits into your routine, you can protect your hearing and continue to enjoy making music without compromise. Your ears are vital to your craft, so take the necessary steps to help them stay healthy throughout the years.

The Musician’s Guide to Home Studio Construction

If you’re an independent musician, you probably don’t want to spend thousands of dollars renting a studio for a few weeks to cut a few songs, or even longer to record a whole album. But, how can you get your work out there for people to hear unless it sounds professional and high-quality?

The best solution might be to create your studio at home. It’s easier than you think to transform your property into a personal music haven with a custom-built studio.

A home studio can fit your needs and budget and allow you to record whenever inspiration strikes. But, there are a few things to keep in mind as you go on this renovation journey, from knowing the basics of construction to adhering to building codes and regulations.

Planning Ahead

Before you start constructing a home studio, there are a few crucial decisions to make. First, you have to decide which area of your home you want to transform. You could consider transforming your garage, attic, or den, especially if they aren’t getting much use otherwise. Try to choose a room that has four walls, rather than a large open space. If the room already has furniture and carpet, that’s a plus, as it will help with sound absorption. But, those are also things you can add later.

An image of a man recording in a small home studio setup. The room features a simple setup with a bass guitar hanging on the wall, a recording computer on a desk where the man is working, and a keyboard positioned next to the desk. This minimalist home studio provides all the essentials for music production within the comfort of a residential space.

Once you know where you want to build your studio, you have to consider the essentials. Doing so will help you create a budget. Some of the basic necessities for a home recording studio include:

  • A computer
  • Digital audio workstation (DAW)
  • Pre-amps
  • An audio interface
  • MIDI controller
  • Headphones
  • Monitors
  • Microphones and cables

You’ll also need to consider any “extras” you might want to purchase to make the room more acoustic-friendly. We’ll touch more on what you can do to soundproof your studio later, depending on your budget. A home recording studio can cost a few hundred dollars or a few thousand dollars. But, it’s often worth it to make bigger investments when it comes to quality equipment and construction. Not only will your recordings be better, but you can consider renting out your studio to other musicians to make some of your money back.

Planning ahead also means knowing what you’re getting into from a construction standpoint. While it’s your home, there still might be specific building codes you have to adhere to to keep things safe and legal. This is especially true if you plan on putting an addition on your home for the studio or transforming your shed. Some home additions and renovations require special permits. It’s a good rule of thumb to review local regulations and talk with your area government about what’s needed before you start swinging a hammer.

Staying Safe Throughout Construction

There’s no question that building a studio from scratch requires quite a bit of electrical work. While there are a lot of things that allow you to just plug and play, if you invest in the right equipment, you’ll want to make sure your home’s electrical system can handle it.

If you choose to rewire your garage or whatever room you choose for your studio, it’s important to be aware of common electrical hazards, including the potential for a fire, or experiencing a high-voltage shock.

When it comes to rewiring, including installing additional outlets, it’s best to work with a professional. At the very least, make sure you go through an electrical inspection if you do the work yourself. Before you plug anything in, make sure an expert has looked it over. An electrical fire could destroy all of your hard work and quickly spread to other areas of your home.

An image of a man wearing safety glasses and safety yellow clothing as he works on electrical wires during a home studio buildout. This demonstrates the importance of electrical safety in setting up a home studio, ensuring proper wiring and minimizing the risk of hazards such as electrical shocks or fires.

Soundproofing Your Studio

One of the most important things you can do to make your studio sound clean and professional is to soundproof it. Some of the biggest benefits of soundproofing include:

  • Better sound quality
  • Enhanced productivity
  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased home value

Soundproofing can be as simple or as complicated as you want. The easiest and quickest way to absorb sound in your studio is to add carpet or rugs and attach foam padding to the walls. If you don’t want the entire studio to be soundproof, consider building a recording booth within the studio and using your soundproofing techniques there. It will save you a bit of time and money.

But, your goal should be to create a studio that is soundproof from the moment you walk in. It’s not just about getting a clean recording, it’s about being able to hear your mixes clearly, so you can listen for any mistakes before you put your work into the world.

Minimizing Unnecessary Expenses

You don’t want to skimp on the soundproofing and recording supplies, but you might want to consider lowering your energy bill, in general. Throughout construction and after the space is built, you’ll be spending a lot on electricity. Cut down on your other expenses by turning down the temperature on your water heater, changing air filters, installing a programmable thermostat, and updating your home’s insulation. This way, you can put your energy money where it matters and spare no expense on your studio.

An image of a man wearing a yellow vest and hardhat as he installs insulation between wooden frames. This illustrates the process of soundproofing a home studio, ensuring optimal acoustics and reducing external noise for a professional recording environment.

Conclusion

Home studio construction takes time, and if you don’t have any renovation or electrical experience, you should consider budgeting for professional help. There are plenty of ways to DIY small aspects of studio creation, but if you’re going to do it right, make sure you’re working with people who will create a quality space for you.

Nomadic Notes: Elevating Creativity Through Music Production on the Road

Music at its core is simply an expression of life. It captures moments, memories, emotions, people, places, patterns, and experiences. As such, ongoing music production requires a broad awareness of life and its intricacies.

While conceptually this seems simple, it is quite stretching for musicians and producers to continually expand their focus to create new expressions of their lives and the lives of those around them. Travel can be the key to unlocking this new creativity in music production.

Travel opens us to new perspectives, emotions, and rhythms. Learn how to harness the inspirational power of travel in your music production by utilizing these practical tips for fostering creativity and getting out on the road.

Get Creative

Creativity is a human characteristic or trait that is largely linked to personality and personal interests. It is defined as the ability to bring into existence something new or valuable. Recent studies indicate that creativity is not only something people are born with but also something they can foster.

Research from a team of scientists published in the Journal of Personality suggests that openness to new experiences generates creative thought. Lead researcher on the study, Dr. Gosia Goclowska explained, “Our study suggests that using the right set of instructions, one that encourages people to embrace novelty and challenge, can lead to increased creativity in nearly everyone.” In this way, embracing newness or novelty can shape our thinking in a way that results in increased creativity.

Travel naturally leads to new and novel things or experiences which makes it an ideal avenue for stimulating creative thought. As a musician or producer, focus on getting creative when touring by having fun and embracing the uniqueness of your surroundings. Take in new cultural, environmental, political, or economic nuances and send them out in a musical expression of the world around you.

Assemble Your Equipment

To embrace the musical benefits of travel, you must start by assembling your gear. Using mobility as the focal point, assess your current music-producing equipment and determine what kind of travel you would like to do. Your goal for traveling, regardless of whether it’s for personal recreation or music touring, will shape how you travel and thereby what kind of production gear you can support.

Assembling the right production equipment for your travels often hinges on buying the right vehicle for touring. There are many pros and cons to consider; you could buy or rent a van or bus. Or as a smaller option, you could modify a truck into your workspace by adding specialized storage units in the bed for production equipment and onboard Wi-Fi for on-the-go music creation. Regardless of what suits your needs best, the size and make of the vehicle you choose will naturally determine what kind of production gear you can transport.

You will need to assemble a version of the following production equipment:

  • Computer
  • Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
  • Audio Interface
  • Monitor Speakers
  • Headphones
  • Microphones
  • MIDI Controller
  • Cables & Plugins

All of this equipment ranges in size, capability, and mobility. Some music producers have found choosing a small, light setup for recording around the world is the way to go while others prefer a semi-stationary setup for music production on the road. In the end, the ideal gear for music production is the gear that best suits you and your style of travel.

Plan for the Unexpected

All travel experiences revolve around managing the unknown and its variables. Exposure to new places and different weather patterns naturally creates more risk than staying in one more predictable location. So, before you start your on-the-road music production, take time to prioritize safety and security.

Pack your vehicle with safety in mind. Have a plan for getting stranded or breaking down outside of cell service or city limits. Some road trip essentials include:

  • Spare Tire
  • Jumper Cables
  • Flashlight
  • Water & Snacks
  • Blanket
  • First Aid Kit
  • Roadside Emergency Kit with Flares or Reflectors
  • Phone Charger
  • Road Map

It is important to note that along with carrying these travel essentials, you should take the time to understand how to use them properly. Familiarize yourself with first aid tips and life hacks such as dressing a wound or reducing swelling and make certain you know where the spare tire is on your current vehicle and how to replace it. Small precautions like these will ensure you have more time and space to enjoy your travels rather than worrying about what to do in an emergency.

In addition to personal safety, you should also consider how you will secure your music and production equipment. Travel with adequate locks and places to conceal expensive production gear out of sight. Also, plan to back up your music on external hard drives that are stored in a safe place away from the elements.

Hit the Road

Finally, get out there and hit the open road. The inspiration that comes through travel can truly only be experienced by taking a risk, getting out there, and experiencing all that this world has to offer.

As a music producer, be sure to stay open to new experiences, assemble the right equipment for the type of music you wish to capture, prepare for the unknown by prioritizing safety, and then simply plunge into a world of new expression and creativity.

Harmonizing Safety with Sound: When Your DIY Music Studio Needs a Professional

DIYing your music studio is a great way to improve the quality of your practice and final product. A great studio can help you achieve excellent acoustic performance that eliminates reverberation and echo. This means your recordings will sound as crisp and clear as professional-grade audio productions.

However, depending on how much you need to alter the space, creating your DIY studio from scratch could be dangerous if you don’t bring in the right support. You’ll need to work closely with an electrician throughout the process to reduce the risk of fire and should have the risk assessed by folks who understand the importance of airflow and pollution.

This will keep you safe from harm while tracking live takes with bandmates or recording overdubs. A professional approach will increase the security of your DIY sound studio and minimize the risk of a break-in, too.

Electrical Hazards

Modern music studios are filled with expensive electrical and cutting-edge tech. This means that, when building your DIY music studio, you’ll need to install essential recording equipment like soundboards, digital audio workstations, and microphones.

A professional electrician's hand expertly working on a circuit box with testing equipment to ensure safe electrical setup in a music studio.

However, if you’re planning to convert a spare room or garage into a home studio, you may need to rewire your home. This ensures you have enough outlets, can help prevent power surges, and will properly connect your control room to your tracking room. If you do decide to rewire your home, be sure to work with a professional electrician as common electrical hazards include:

  • Residential Fire: A faulty switch or broken cable can lie dormant for weeks before causing a fire in your DIY studio.
  • Shocks: High voltage shocks are extremely painful and can become lethal. That’s why professional electricians go through years of training to identify live wires and reduce risk.
  • Inspection Failure: Your new home studio may look great, but failing to bring in a pro to install your electrics can result in an inspection failure when you decide to sell the house. This is a costly headache you want to avoid.

Working with a professional electrician may cost more upfront, but is sure to save you money in the long run. If you’re planning on DIYing your studio and do not have electrical experience, get in touch with a specialist who can do all the wiring and soldering for you. This will give you peace of mind and minimize the risk of your beautiful new studio going up in flames.

Air Flow

Prefabricated music studios are easy to assemble and offer rock-solid silence. This can make a world of difference if you’re used to having your band practices interrupted by nosey neighbors or frustrated family members. However, sealing the cracks around your space and adding mass to your walls can create air-flow issues. This can quickly become a health issue, as poor ventilation can lead to problems like mold growth, condensation, increased spread of respiratory infections, and poor air quality.

Finding a balance between sealing your site for soundproofing purposes and maintaining proper airflow can be tricky. That’s why it’s almost always best to work with a professional team when designing your sound isolation enclosure. They’ll make sure your room is up to specification and will offer solutions like ventilation systems and dead vents.

A music producer seated at a mixing board with a vocalist in a soundproofed, ventilated vocal booth, highlighting the importance of airflow in studio design.

Resilient Spaces

Properly securing your new home studio deters burglars and keeps you safe while you record. This is crucial if you live in an area with high storm activity, as you’ll need to invest in tech to prevent storm damage if you want your studio to weather high winds and tornadoes. Today, many home improvement specialists offer products like storm-resistant doors and windows that can protect your studio from inclement weather and reduce the risk of debris destroying your workspace.

Taking a proactive approach to storm safety is particularly important if you’re converting an existing space, like a garage, into a DIY music studio. Retrofitting the shell of your studio with hurricane straps or hurricane ties ensures that the roof won’t blow off in high winds and can improve your entire home’s structural integrity if leveraged correctly.

Bringing in a professional to install these upgrades can increase the value of your home, too. A weather-resistant, professional-grade home music studio can be a real boon if you live in an area with high tornado activity or are seeing an uptick in high winds. Other musicians may pay a premium for your space when you try to sell, as they’ll see your high-quality space as a secure investment.

A music producer seated at a mixing board with a female musical artist standing next to him while listening to the mix, highlighting the importance of having a resilient space for recording.

Conclusion

Taking your safety seriously is crucial when creating your DIY home studio. You cannot afford to make a mistake when installing electrical wiring and should consult with a professional when ventilating your space. This will improve the quality of your acoustics, reduce the risk of an accident, and help make the most of your space with peace of mind.

Cultivating Discipline and Focus in Music Production

They always say you can’t rush art, but dragging your feet and getting bogged down by distraction is a surefire way to end up with an unfinished project and a ton of stress when producing music. Whether you’re struggling with a lack of inspiration or can’t seem to bring your vision to fruition, task avoidance and subsequent delays in production can be avoided with a firm set of proactive solutions. Below, you will find a few ways to become more disciplined both in and out of the studio, increasing focus and leading to a final product you’re proud of.

Get Organized

Compartmentalization is essential for music production. Creating a schedule, setting goals for your day or week, and setting it up noticeably around your living space will keep your tasks front and center, reducing opportunities to slack. You don’t have to crown yourself with tasks to be disciplined either – checking off simple, but relevant items, like creating one beat each day or responding to inquiries, phone calls, and emails by noon will boost your sense of accomplishment. It will also inspire you to do more, making it easier to stick to your daily goals.

Process mapping is another way to organize and delegate tasks throughout the day to increase productivity. Since many people are primarily visual learners, it can be easier to stay on track by using a map outlined with shapes, symbols, colors, and directions. Keep things simple and leave room for deviation and redirection so you do not become overwhelmed by shame or self-doubt when your schedule for the day gets a bit off track.

Process map for studio organization, showing steps such as equipment setup, track labeling, session scheduling, workspace maintenance, and recording backup.

Decluttering your environment is also incredibly helpful. Clearing off your desk, removing trash, and creating a set area for everything in your space alleviates stress and confusion, giving you less reason to shut down and seek distractions. Do this routinely, ideally at the beginning or end of each day. You want to start the creative process in a clean space so feelings of discomfort or aggravation don’t cloud your mind.

Make Health and Wellness a Priority

It is almost impossible to work when you’re feeling mentally or physically unwell. As a music producer, you’re likely working long hours, often well into the night. Lack of sleep has a huge effect on your body – it creates brain fog, slows down your metabolism, increases blood pressure, and can lead to depression and anxiety. Make space for rest, even if you have to fit in a midday nap to feel refreshed.

Woman experiencing studio fatigue, sitting at a keyboard looking exhausted during a recording session.

Eating well is a major part of physical health that is often neglected by creatives. Spending hours at your desk can mean lengthy periods of snacking or skipping meals altogether, increasing fatigue among other common health issues. Replenish your body by consuming plenty of protein — at least 30 grams per meal — to feel properly satiated and energized throughout your day. Increase your water intake to 2.5 to 4 liters of water per day and decrease your sodium intake to less than 2,300 daily to prevent headaches, bloating, and other distracting physical discomforts.

Reduce Substance Dependence for Boosting Creativity

The music industry is saturated with substance abuse problems — a topic that is often glossed over and glamorized. Drugs and alcohol have been misconstrued as creativity-enhancing agents, lowering performance anxiety or providing artificial energy necessary to produce music quickly.

Though it’s easy to get lost in the idea that these substances improve your work, the reality of the matter is that drugs and alcohol simply affect your perception of your work. You may feel a sense of euphoria that makes you more satisfied with your latest studio session, something that tricks you into believing these substances are the key to incredible work.

At the end of the day, substance abuse is not the reason why your work is successful. Though drugs and alcohol may have been a source of inspiration for many creatives, they are not a cure-all for lack of discipline and being stuck in an artistic rut. Once the high wears off, you’ll be left with lasting mental health issues, impaired cognitive function, and addiction issues that can ruin your career.

Alcohol is one legal substance that can be quite easy to abuse and has some of the most debilitating effects on the mind and body. Long-term alcohol abuse depresses your central nervous system, manipulating your feelings in a way that will distract from the creative process. Other health issues include acid reflux, heart disease, immunodeficiency, and nutrient deficiencies that lead to reproductive troubles. If you are spending an excessive amount of time trying to repair these issues caused by drinking and substance abuse, you’ll have less time to work on improving your craft and completing projects.

Seek Inspiration

As mentioned previously, some creatives have found themselves depending heavily on drugs and alcohol to conjure inspiration for their work. In reality, there are so many other ways to get inspired that don’t include multiple cocktails and a medley of unprescribed medications.

One way is to eliminate all sources of excessive noise so you can truly be alone with your thoughts. Sometimes, the inspiration we’re looking for is within us, buried inside of our own experiences. Getting rid of noise, such as unnecessary people in the studio or background television, can really get the creative juices flowing and help you determine what the real source of inspiration you’re looking for is.

Another way to get inspired is by going to shows or connecting with other producers to gain some insight into their process. Examining success makes you want to be successful, and often what you need is to see someone else’s working method and environment so you can enhance your own.

You can also engage in artistic hobbies outside of music to get inspired. Write a story, paint on a canvas, or create a sculpture. Ultimately, your talent and artistry being applied to areas that come to you with ease can be just what you need to get motivated and become musically creative again.

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