Hearing is very important for our lives and not least for us who regularly deal with sound and music. Bengt Falkedal is a product specialist in hearing protection and a trained engineer and economist. Together with the licensed audiologist Lena Bäck, he owns the company Hörselexperten, which has cared for many musicians with hearing impairments and tinnitus over the years.
Is your view that music producers in general are careful to protect their hearing?
– Both yes and no. We notice that younger people in their twenties often do not understand how harmful high volume is and therefore rarely protect themselves. Those who have been around for a while usually realize that something needs to be done – but often only after they have started to get in trouble.
What hearing damage is common in music producers and why?
– Hearing loss, sensitivity to sound, tinnitus, distortion and diplacusis (double sound) are more or less common in everyone who works with music. The reason for this is high noise levels when listening. Depending on how long the ears are exposed, all sounds above 85 dBA are more or less harmful to hearing. The higher the noise level, the more damage occurs. What happens is that the cilia in the cochlea die. They must stand up to be able to receive and conduct sounds from different frequencies, but when they fall down they cannot pick up and conduct sounds between each other. Much like a wilting flower.
– Another big culprit in the drama is listening in headphones and in-ear headphones. Then the sound comes directly to the eardrum and the acceptance is increased, which leads to you raising the sound more and more without thinking about it.
What is a good first step to take better care of your ears?
– A good first step is to get hearing protection and to check your hearing at a hearing clinic regularly, preferably once a year.
And aids if you have failed to protect your ears?
– If you miss hearing protection, it usually becomes a hearing aid over time. Tinnitus cannot be cured at present but can be masked with the help of a hearing aid.
In addition to using hearing protection, do you have any tips on how music producers can set up their work day to protect their hearing?
– Mix from speakers, not in lures. And not for too long at a time because time is very important. According to the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s investigations, 80 dB is harmful to stay for longer than 4 hours.
– Check the sound volume with a noise meter. There are apps to download to your mobile that measure noise.
– Avoid as much as possible exposing your ears to other noise, for example if you carpentry in your country house, be sure to protect your hearing.
– Take breaks and create an opportunity where it is possible to have a total rest during or after the working day.
At horsellinjen.se you can find even more useful information about hearing, listening sound-smart, various aids for hearing impairments and it is also possible to test your hearing with the Hearing Tester.
The Monday interview is a new series where @Lotta Fahlen interviews interesting people about various topics in music creation, and is published every other Monday.