How to Protect Your Hearing as a DJ?
Every DJ is aware that their "ear is your gear." It is nearly impossible to create the ideal mix and get a packed dance floor of clubgoers dancing to your sounds without regular hearing.
There is true hearing loss. It isn't hip. It is not amusing. You can still develop hearing loss, and once it's gone, it's gone, regardless of how old, crusty, or jaded you are.
Use professional-grade hearing protection wherever possible (earplugs). That, however, is not sufficient. To counteract all the advantages that good plugs provide you with, you must actively adjust your listening and monitoring volumes.
DJs need to develop their mixing skills while minimizing environmental noise (such as booth monitors and club sound at parties) in order to preserve their hearing. Mix at the lowest headphone volume possible while wearing your isolation headphones and earplugs.
Keep in mind that exposure duration is just as important to hearing damage as exposure volume. By cycling at the lowest volume possible, you may rest your ears.
How DJing differs from other common types of noise?
Decibels are used to measure sound (dB). A motorcycle motor operating is roughly 95 dB louder than typical talk (60 dB), breathing, and normal speech. Your hearing may start to suffer if exposed to noise over 70 dB for a lengthy period of time. Your hearing can get immediately harmed by loud noises over 120 dB.
The table that follows shows dB levels and how noise from common sources can harm your ears.
Based on the 3 dB NIOSH exchange rate, the time measurements in the "Typical Response" column are displayed. Go to the NIOSH website for further information.
How to Keep Your Ears Safe While DJing
I've been a DJ (for local events) for ten years, and my hearing is still nearly fine. Before I started DJing, I also developed tinnitus, but that is almost completely gone today. The method I used and the lessons my "ear physicians" taught me are detailed below.
- In-ear training for mixing
I've learned how to play with my headphones and on any monitor, which has saved my ears a ton of time. It's easy to turn up the volume when the booth is noisy, but you usually want to do the opposite. Interpreting broken sound is more difficult.
I typically use the Pioneer DJM's master out with other channel cues while wearing headphones in one ear and a monitor in the other, switching between them as needed. In order to keep the volume down but eliminate the noise, I cover both of my ears if the noise is too loud (HD-25 or other brands with sufficient shielding).
When monitors malfunction or are poor quality, my ability to blend in the headphones well has also come in handy frequently. I can deliver my set without relying on anyone else!
How to DJ using only headphones - When the DJ booth monitors are inadequate or nonexistent or you want to DJ with in-ear monitors, DJing without speakers can help you practice mixing quietly and get ready for performances.
- After a loud night, give your ears some rest.
Since the 1990s, I have been using headphones to listen to music. I've also attended countless events, raves, and clubs.
I also have a lot of contacts in the DJing and music production industries.
What I discovered is that:
- Tinnitus (ear ringing) is a genuine condition.
- It can be contracted by repeatedly being around noisy environments, such as those created by car wash compressors, construction equipment, club or stereo speakers, etc.
- It can also be acquired through recurrent ear infections and other ear or sinus-related issues.
- Once you have it, you can only learn to live with it or, at most, make it less noticeable.
- Another issue is stress, which can make it worse.
After a long, loud night, it's best to keep the peace as long as you exposed them to the noise.
- Always wear quality earplugs. BUT utilize them properly.
In fact, how you utilize earplugs is the key to keeping your ears safe! Never enter the club without putting them on. If you don't, your ears will begin to muffle the sound, requiring double-up suppression when you insert the earplugs. For the finest sound quality, you want your ears to get used to the volume in the earplugs.
If you want to stick around for the long haul, invest in a good pair of earplugs! In addition to the benefit of protecting your hearing, I find that they enhance the audio quality and listening experience on typical PA systems. I've also discovered that using earplugs at night makes me feel less worn out.
There is no excuse not to when a pair of Etymotic high fidelity plugs costs less than $20. See the information regarding earplugs below.
- Incorporating earplugs
I've never felt constrained in the mixing because the earplugs for musicians have a lower volume but don't produce the same muffled and lifeless sound as conventional plugs (or if you put them on at the club). The reverse is actually true because they greatly reduce background noise.
I focus a little more on the high frequencies and overall volume since you might not feel the pain of a loud volume, but the audience would. If you don't have much expertise, check the levels on the mixer the DJ is using before you use it and ask your dancing companions (always good anyway).
Red levels on the mixer should be avoided. DJs that are deaf or partially deaf dominate those levels significantly more than I do.
- Exhaustion worsens the damage to your hearing.
I learned Your office's noisy air conditioner or the overly compressed mp3s on the in-ear headphones you wear all day can ruin you instead of the gig and music. (Same here; dynamic sound is generally preferable; always give your ears a break.)
Natural defenses deteriorate when we are worn out, which causes damage to you. Your ears are better able to withstand the volume while you are at the event and full of energy.
- Even though they may appear pricy, investing in good headphones can be beneficial.
- There is a reason why a top-notch set of DJ headphones costs $150+ whereas a typical set of headphones for the home can be purchased for as little as $30.
- When noise cancellation from the earcups is combined with more precise frequency response rates, it suggests that the sound quality is improved. This allows you to achieve the same results at a lower volume, preventing your hearing from suffering every time you perform as a DJ.
- What sets DJ Headphones apart? Everything that goes into creating DJ headphones is listed here.
A Guide to Earplugs
Since the early 2000s, whether I was a dancer, DJ, or stage or sound technician, I always wore earplugs to noisy gatherings.
If it's too loud, I either use the earplugs I brought, find some, or make some, even if I have to wrap up paper towels, soak them, and pour them in my ears for some protection.
All except the smallest venues should have free or inexpensive earplugs available. Even low dB speaker stacks that are too near to you can cause ear injury. I can drive professionally tuned speakers at less than 2500 watts and over 120 dB.
Ever come across any images of vintage raver or house head putting their head into speakers? Or adoring and cuddling speakers up close?
The majority of them used earplugs. At raves, people would either privately distribute them or sell them for a very low price at vendor booths. (Basically, at price or less.)
The performance of earplugs
The Noise Reduction Rating of earplugs serves as a gauge of their efficiency (NRR). The NRR will provide more safety the higher it is.
There is a simple mathematical equation that you can use to determine how many decibels they will block. The highest NRR for earplugs is 33. NRR> Deduct 7 > Divide by 2
Calculating the Noise Reduction Rating
After deducting 9, you have 24 if the noise reduction rating is 33. The number of decibels that are left after multiplying that number by two is the amount that they will truly block. The decibel limit in this situation would be 12.
A nightclub's average decibel output might range from 80 to 135 dB. In light of that, even a basic set of earplugs could reduce your exposure by at least 15%.
The degree of protection will be significantly greater if you perform and wear earplugs and keep your headphones over your ears.
How can you tell if it is too loud? It seems excessively loud and you should be wearing earplugs if you have to shout or raise your voice above a whisper to have a conversation.
Which earplugs should I buy?
To purchase excellent ear protection, you DO NOT need to reach far into your wallet. Lower volume doesn't have to mean lower sound quality! There are items referred to as "musician's earplugs."
In essence, they function as earplugs that lower the "volume" of all sounds around you while maintaining crystal-clear sound quality.
As I've already stated, I STRONGLY advise these (as do hundreds of others who have conducted even the most basic research): Universal Musician's Earplugs Etymotic ER-20.
They are available on Amazon and at your neighborhood DJ or musical instrument store for less than $20. The difference between ringing in your ears when you're lying down after a night of clubbing and the sound volume around you will be reduced by around 20 dB. (a manifestation of your hearing being exposed to too loud sound).
When you wear these in a noisy environment, music and conversations really sound better and clearer since the noise level around you is reduced.
You won't have to worry about hearing discomfort after that night out if you can scrape together the spare change to buy a pair of them. You can reuse them and don't need to wash them. Maybe just a quick wipe with a tissue or towel to remove any extra earwax buildup.
The most of the time, I keep them with me and try to remember to take them with me even when I'm going out for a drink, just in case I suddenly find myself at a party.
Being from a city with a vibrant music scene, I frequently run upon free outdoor events. And I've never felt bad for packing earplugs. I've only ever wished I had them when I needed or wanted earplugs.