Hearing Safety 101: Protect Your Ears When DJing

March 28, 2017

For most music-listening crowds, louder is always better. For DJs, loudness and increasing decibels can, ironically, be a silent kiss of death for your ears. As a DJ, your ears are your most valued resources. The question is: are you taking care of them as you should? Too often DJs focus on crowd satisfaction over their own hearing safety. That should change immediately. Here are some tips to consider if you want to protect your ears when DJing.

Silent Killers

Here’s the scary fact that many new DJs don’t think about seriously enough: hearing damage is irreversible. That ringing in your ears after the best night you’ve ever had behind the decks may go away by the time you wake up, but one day it might not. It should be of utmost importance to protect your access to sound at all costs.

From monitors to stage speakers and even some headphones, your ears get a workout when you spin publicly. The results of hearing damage, or hearing loss, may not happen immediately. For many, the ringing in the ears, usually a symptom of tinnitus, happens gradually over time and never goes away. The condition may worsen and cause mental or psychological side effects.

Ear Plugs Are Your Friends

To protect your inner ears and hearing (and quite possibly your sanity later on), it is a good idea to start using ear plugs when DJing live or while listening to loud music for extended amounts of time. Ear plugs help relieve and avoid audio stress on the inner ear. The options range from regular foam ear plugs that can be purchased in convenience stores worldwide, to custom fit ear plugs that are created to form to your ear and filter sound much better than generic ones. Used regularly, ear plugs will provide a barrier between your ear canal and louder sounds. This will provide much better protection than exposing your ears to direct, loud sounds from speakers and monitors.

Better Gear and Listening Habits

Aside from ear plugs, there are several options for headphones that can provide proper ear protection. Noise-cancelling headphones help dampen outside noise, and headphones that have memory foam help even more and alleviate noise shifting while DJing. There are also headphone options that limit volumes to 85 decibels, the recommended limit from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

It is also a good idea to consider where your DJ setup is with respect to the booth monitors. Pay attention to your meters more than louder sounds as your guide. There are some great decibel meter apps that can be used on your phone to help you gauge how much sound your ears are being subjected to.

Choosing better equipment is only half the battle. You should also consider modifying your DJing habits to proactively impact your hearing, as well.  Do your best to give your ears time to rest between gigs. This will allow an opportunity for your ears and ear follicles to recuperate and recover from the exposure to loud sounds and music. If you can, give your ears some time right after your gig to rest; find a quiet place without sound, and let your ears chill for a bit.

You only have one set of ears, so you should guard them with your life—and other tools that are available. Remember that your ear is your gear, and you should do all that you can to protect them as the valuable assets they are.

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About Mixcity Inc

Mixcity Inc was founded in 2008 with the mission of creating innovative software solutions and engagement tools for the working DJ. The team's first DJ product, KueIt, was groundbreaking when it was introduced years ago, and still remains an industry standard software solution to this day. Mixcity's latest innovation, JammText, is a revolutionary text to screen software solution that allows DJs to reach exciting new levels of crowd interaction and audience engagement.