A sore throat can be a nuisance, which is why you always want to stay hydrated, well-rested, and have CLYOR formulas by your side. But when it comes to sore ears, we’re talking about the potential for permanent damage, which can be bad news for anyone and a devastating situation for musicians and vocalists. It’s called tinnitus, and it’s as scary as it sounds (or doesn’t sound, as the case may be.)
However, the reasons for wearing earplugs as a vocalist can actually go beyond just avoiding damage, and we’re not referring to a weird fashion accessory (although matching your earrings to your earplugs might be a good move for a live show.)
Avoiding damage isn’t the only reason to wear them, but it’s the best one. Tinnitus is a ringing in the ears that can seriously disturb your sense of voice and pitch, and it can also simply reduce your hearing ability, which negatively affects both of those as well. When you’re at a party, a concert, doing a radio interview, about to get into a yell match with a significant other, etc., pop those earplugs in. It can seriously pay off down the road. With no cure for tinnitus in sight (or within earshot?), you don’t want to slack on keeping a pair of earplugs handy. They’re super transportable too, so you can keep them cozied up next to your bottles of CLYOR.
You Can Hear Yourself Better
We’re not talking about inner ear microphones. When you wear earplugs, you can actually hear your pitch more clearly when there’s backup vocals and/or musical instruments behind you. In fact, being able to muffle out the other instruments a bit can actually help you hear your pitch more distinctly. And, as a bonus, your ears can be damaged by drums and horns and other instruments that are such good friends with tinnitus that they go on vacation together and watch each other’s kids. Wearing earplugs during a live performance protects from damage too.
You’ll Be Able to Distinguish the Instruments More Easily
We know that we just said that putting in earplugs during a performance can muffle out the instruments a bit, but this is a good thing for multiple reasons beyond damage and pitch focus. When you dull out the sound a bit, you can actually distinguish between the other instruments, hear their distinct melodies better, and use the newfound sensory amplification to your advantage. It’ll be odd at first, but after a few times, you’ll begin to see what we mean.
Helps Avoid Vocal Cord Damage
So much damage avoided in such a small package! (Or a big package if you frugally buy in bulk.) You can actually feel your voice going overboard and the difference of an overused throat when you have earplugs in more easily than if you didn’t. Think of earplugs like an extra dose of mind-body connection, where you can hear your pitch more easily AND when your pitch is starting to sound and feel a bit off. Wham, bam, merci m’dame.
The only real downside to earplugs is that you’ll look like a bit of a square at rock shows, but if you’re a musician, audio engineer, or vocalist (and some of us are all three), looking like a square in front of the cool kids is the least of your concerns. Plus, you can crack out your sleek bottle of CLYOR and everyone in the venue will turn and nod at you, impressed. They won’t even see the earplugs when you’re CLYOR peacocking.