There is little doubt that we all love music and are always eager to listen to something new. Our excitement about that new single, or that long awaited show from that group we dearly love always remains high.
However, have we thought about some of the effects of listening to loud music or listening to loud music over prolonged periods? Well, we probably don’t even want to hear about such. So is listening to loud music something that we should worry about?
As a matter of fact, as music creators it is definitely something that we should be worried about. The volume at which we listen while creating, often takes a back seat because we want to hear the music blasting. It helps in the creative process.
However, health is always at stake. Individuals used to constant music playing in the ears beyond the OSHA recommended decibel level are at a high risk of ear fatigue. Ear fatigue is a serious problem that many music producers overlook at their peril. Here are some tips that you can follow as you mix your music to prevent the undesirable effects of ear fatigue.
Keep your volume under check
If there is a main culprit to ear fatigue, then volume tops the list. Your ears are tuned to operate perfectly well at talking volumes and therefore any volume that exceeds this threshold by a wider margin is a threat to your ears. Fortunately, OSHA is aware and recommends 90dB exposure for not more than eight hours. Your mixing system may easily go beyond 100dB and therefore keeping an ear out for the volume is a good tip. If this proves elusive, then equip yourself with a decibel gauge to inform you when the volume exceeds the 90dB limit.
Make breaks a priority in all your sessions
If you’ve been producing for any length of time, then you know what it’s like to get into an intense production session – you become one with the beat. During these intense moments it’s super easy to get ear fatigue – A because your not giving you ears a chance to rest; and B – you’re more than likely turning the volume up more and more as you are producing.
You can curb this by taking breaks every 30-45 mins. I also suggest that every break you should hydrate yourself with some water and every 3-4 breaks you should have something to eat to keep your energy level up so you can keep working. Since I choose to live a cruelty-free lifestyle, I like to grab a Clif Bar, which is one of my favorite vegan protein bars. I’ll usually do that during the 3rd or 4th break as it’s a great source of protein and keeps my energy levels up for the next 3-4 breaks. The next time around I usually go for a more hearty meal before finishing my session. You don’t have to follow exactly what I do but anything is better than nothing.
Cap Your Working Time for the Day
Time is of the essence in the long run and therefore productivity per unit time has to be at its best.
To achieve this, restrict the number of hours that you are available for mixing before you can get off studio and plan for the next day. It is crucial to understand that beyond eight hours of engaging your ear in mixing different sounds, ear fatigue sets in very fast and you may end up lowering your productivity. Eight hours is a good span of time to stick to your work and then retire for the day. Remember OSHA’s recommendations is within an eight time frame. Sticking to these recommendations will surely benefit you and your clients.