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You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that drums are very loud instruments, but just exactly how loud are they? Send Home Our method Usage examples Index Contact StatisticsWe do not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content in this site. If you must raise your voice to speak with someone only 3 feet away, you are in high (hazardous) noise. The hair cells can be worn out by long periods of loud sounds (or short blasts of extremely loud sounds). Hearing protectors reduce the wear on the hair cells by blocking noise and reducing it to a safe level, without preventing you from hearing sounds around you. There are four basic types of hearing protection listed below; each offers different advantages and options. Fit is very important for all types of hearing protectors: no one wants to wear shoes that don't fit well. Custom-molded plugs are made especially for you so are already shaped like your ear (rather than conforming to your ear).

The graphic points out that the four main ways people lose their ears are through listening to loud music, spending too much time in an industrial work place with power drills and the like, being exposed to the sounds of a racetrack, and being exposed to the sounds of guns firing for long periods of time. I conducted some research on my own when I was in high school and found that our drumline was averaging approximately 100-120 decibels of sound. This is why it is absolutely fundamental for a drummer (or any musician really) to wear earplugs on a regular basis. It only hinders your ability to hear a small degree, but you can train yourself to pay closer attention which essentially cancels out any effect the earplugs might have. Below are links to sample audiograms showing one example of a normal audiogram, as well as an example of an audiogram demonstrating hearing loss from noise exposure. The tiny hair cells lining the cochlea respond to vibrations (amplified by the ear drum and the middle ear bones) and send signals to the brain, alerting us to sounds.
With all of these choices, you need to try different types until you find one that feels comfortable, properly blocks out noise, and works for your activities.
Otolaryngologists (ear doctors) recommend limiting the exposure of any noise levels greater than 85 decibels, the longer and louder the exposure, the greater the risk for permanent hearing loss.

Then the cells lay over like wet grass, demonstrating a fairly long exposure to loud sound.
Because the exposure is so long (relatively), the cells do not bounce back to their normal position, but instead become damaged.
We have 15,000 hair cells, but they can deteriorate rapidly if people consistently place themselves in situations where hazardous noise is present. Over 50 million Americans suffer from a disease called Tinnitus, which is a non-stop ringing in the ears that results from prolonged exposure to loud sounds.The right bar of the graphic discusses how to protect your ears.

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