College marching bands are full of risk of hearing loss. This is thanks to the duration of sporting events, their practices and rehearsals, and the instruments that are being played.
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), there are maximum daily allowable exposures to decibels in a day. For instance, you can only be exposed to 90 decibels for 8 hours a day, 92 decibels for 6 hours a day, 95 decibels for four hours a day, 97 decibels for 3 hours a day, 100 decibels for 2 hours a day, 102 decibels for one and half hours a day, 105 decibels for one hour a day, 100 decibels for only a half hour a day, and 115 decibels for less than a half hour a day.
When compared to sporting events, practices and rehearsals, and the instruments that are part of a marching band, the average marching band performer is getting exposed to decibels that are beyond OSHA’s recommended limits. This means that their hearing can and will be damaged, often permanently.
The average length of a college football game is three hours. That means that you cannot be playing anything that is over 97 decibels or else your hearing could be damaged. When you add in a warmup time of about an hour and a half before the game, that means you can only be exposed to 95 decibels.
Further, these college bands are playing in at least one event a week, and this does not count any appearance at non-collegiate sports events. There is also usually a two-hour rehearsal done multiple times a day, which limits those rehearsals to 100 decibels, though they will often exceed this amount.
If you play any of the most recognizable college fight songs, you are likely playing one of 35 instruments. Of these instruments, the cymbals are the loudest, at 121 decibels. This surpasses OSHA’s recommended limits at rehearsals, practices, and at sporting events. Simply playing this instrument for any longer than a half hour will damage your hearing. The cymbal player is easily at risk for damaging their hearing.
The second loudest instrument is the flugelhorn, which tops off at about 120 decibels. This will, again, surpass OSHA’s recommended daily decibel limit. It surpasses the amount of time playing a sporting events, rehearsals, and practices. Without hearing protection, the flugelhorn player is at risk for damaging his or her hearing.
In fact, there are only three instruments in a regular college marching band that will not injure your hearing. These instruments are the sousaphone, the guitar, and the bassoon. Of those, the instrument that is safest to play is the bassoon, but we know of no marching band that only consists of bassoons, guitars, and sousaphones.
If you don’t play an instrument and are instead part of the color guard, then you might be a baton twirler or perform with flags, sabers, rifles, air blades, or might be a golden girl, girl in black, or silver twin. While rehearsing by themselves, they don’t make a lot of noise, on the field for a half-hour halftime show, the color guard is often very close to the best musicians earplugs, often within five feet.
This means that a 120-decibel flugelhorn will sound even louder. Thus, there is a huge risk of permanent and sustained hearing damage is very large. Even a half-hour show is too much noise exposure according to OSHA.
With all of these decibel concerns, how are you supposed to protect yourself while still following the passion that you love? After all, most hearing products will either occlude your hearing, leaving your head feeling stuffy, or drown out too much of the music, causing your performance to suffer. How is it possible for you to both enjoy your marching band performances while also protecting your hearing? Is there such a product?
Fortunately, yes there is. Hearing protection here to help. If your hearing protection has dualfilters, you can still play your instrument while also not damaging your hearing. These filters will block out the loudest of the noise, while still allowing you to hear the sounds around you and enabling you to perform with your marching band with no discomfort.
Because our earplugs are tailored to fit the shape of your own ears, you won’t have to worry about the earplugs shifting while you are playing, and neither will you feel an occlusion, or clogged feeling, in your ears. Most importantly, you will be able to hear the sounds of the band safely and you will not have any problems when performing as far as the ear plugs are concerned.
The process to get these tailored-fit earplugs is usually simply. All you have to do is make an impression of your ear using the kit sent to you in the mail. After 21 days, you will have your earplugs, tailor-made and custom fit just for your ears so you can play your instrument with pride and not have a distraction from the way earplugs poorly fit your ears.
A good earplug manufacturer also has a warranty. If you don’t like the fit of your earplug, you can send it back to them and you can exchange it for another set. Musician hearing protection is there for you so you can have solace in the fact that you will not damage your hearing every single day while practicing and honing your craft, and then putting it on display to show the students of the college you belong to. You can show off your skill while not worrying about damaging your ear’s health.
With a correctly fitted earplug, your hearing will be safe and protected. You can participate effectively in your college marching band. Finally, you will not have to worry about having your performance suffer in the name of protecting your hearing.
So, what are you waiting for? Invest in hearing protection today!