World Music Day, also known as Fȇte de la Musique,1 is on June 21 and officially began in France in the early 1980’s. Over the decades, it has grown to include over 100 countries and 1000 cities, and each year on June 21, musicians — professionals and amateurs alike — are encouraged to take their instruments to the streets, out into parks and public spaces, to share their gift with the world. If you’re a music lover, this is an exciting day.
This month, help celebrate World Music Day by taking care of music’s greatest tool: your ears. If hearing loss is affecting your ability to hear — or play — your favorite music, then it may be time for scheduling a hearing assessment. If you’re having trouble listening to that song you always liked, it may be time for hearing aids.
Experiencing Music with Hearing Loss
One of the most frustrating aspects of hearing loss is the distance it puts between you and the things you used to enjoy. You may feel like you have to cut certain activities from your life, separate yourself from what you once found to be relaxing, fun, or even constructive. When you have hearing loss, you may feel differently about music than you used to, may have a harder time connecting with the joy you used to feel.
And though it’s only natural to want to move away from something causing so much stress, you should strive to keep music a part of your day-to-day life. Music plays not only an influential role in society and culture (and has done so for many thousands of years), but has also been shown to have a positive effect on one’s overall well-being. Listening regularly — alone or with groups — can improve your mood and even your memory.
You don’t want hearing loss to rob you of the experiences music can create.
Music and Well-Being
It’s no surprise that music can be beneficial to your mental and physical health. We all know the feelings certain songs can produce, the changes in outlook and disposition they can inspire. But what else can music do? Can it really impact your life in such a compelling way?
1. Music can strengthen social bonds
Music affects the areas of the brain involved in trust, cooperation, and empathy. As it has for a very long time,2 music — shared with others, listened to with a group — can quite literally influence your ability to connect with those around you.
2. Music can boost your mood and how you feel
Listening to music can send pleasure signals to the rest of the body.3 The more pleasing the music is to the ear, the more pleasurable the experience is for the body.
3. Music may improve memory
The dopamine release4 that can take place when listening to music is associated with learning and memory. Studies on hospital patients in recovery have shown that patients who listened to music daily during recovery showed significant improvements in memory and attention, especially when compared to groups who did not.
4. Music can help motivate you
Listening to music during a workout can lead to better exercise performance and increased stamina. The workout doesn’t have to be high-powered or intense, either! Just play your favorite song(s) through your earbuds or hearing aids and head out for a walk. At the end, you may even feel like going a little farther!
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Music is fun. It’s important! But if you’re not safe, it can also damage your ears.
The sad fact is, musicians or concertgoers — music lovers — may be more prone to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) than many others. According to the Hearing Health Foundation, “Professional musicians are almost four times as likely to develop noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) as the general public.”5 They are also 57% more likely to develop signs of tinnitus.
Noise-induced hearing loss can be sudden (given a loud-enough noise) or gradual, happening over time. For those who listen to or perform music loudly, they may be nurturing a hearing deficit they don’t notice before it’s too late.
The good news, though, is that NIHL can often be prevented. If you see live shows, HearingLife recommends ear protection or plugs.6 For the casual concertgoer, disposable in-the-ear foam plugs might be your best bet. For musicians, musicians’ earplugs (often custom-made) or in-ear monitors (earbuds that plug into the sound mix while also offering some sound protection/decibel reduction) probably offer the most value.
For custom products, the question is (as always), what brand should you buy? That’s difficult to answer. Since comfort and personalization are a big part of ear protection, you’ll want to talk to your hearing specialist for more information.
Hearing Aids Can Help You Enjoy Music Again
Whether you have hearing loss due to noise, injury, or simply aging, hearing aids can help you enjoy and re-engage with the sounds of life. Modern hearing aids are more advanced than ever before,7 able to more accurately “decipher” the larger range of sound that music produces, and with constant immersion, continual attempts to listen to what you want to listen to, you may help strengthen your brain to pick up — enjoy — the notes, melodies, and tones that make up your favorite songs. With determination and the help of hearing devices, music can absolutely remain a part of your life.
Additionally, modern hearing aids with Bluetooth® technology allow you to stream music directly to your devices, essentially letting you replace your headphones or earbuds. Some aids even have music settings or programmable profiles that your hearing specialist can help you create.8
Enjoy Music, Enjoy the World
World Music Day is an event open to all. It’s free, with no requirements or rules (outside city noise ordinances, of course), and much like music itself, it’s borderless and expansive, a standing invitation to anyone who wants to participate. With music’s almost sacred place in our society, don’t let your hearing loss keep you from listening and taking part. Aids will help, as will continued protection against NIHL.
Benefits, effects, and world holidays aside, the experience of listening to a favorite song or artist simply can’t be beat. Learn more about how hearing aids can help you hear all the important sounds in your life by booking a complimentary hearing assessment today!*9