ACS doesn't only work with musicians at the top of their game, in fact we realise perhaps more than anyone that today's student is tomorrow's professional as we've seen it happen for so many of our customers. We invest time and money into making our knowledge and products accessible for studying musicians.
Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is very common within musicians. Many do not take the necessary precautions throughout their music careers leaving them with hearing loss commonly between 6-8khz. Hearing loss is based on the duration of time exposed to loud noise.
Research says that at 85dB you can listen for 8 hours safely without doing any damage to your hearing. Above that, every 3dB increase in volume halves the safe exposure time so 88dB means 4 hours of safe listening, 91dB means 2 hours safe listening, 94dB means 1 hour safe listening time and so forth. When the volume gets to 110dB you are doing damage to your hearing almost straight away.
The most important thing to know about hearing loss is that once it is gone, it is gone. Unlike other parts of the human body that will repair, your hearing isn’t blessed with the same recovery so it is vital that you give yourself the best protection if you are in high noise level environments continuously.
Tinnitus – the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound
Hyperacusis – a collapsed tolerance to normal environmental sound
Hearing loss – full or partial decrease in the ability to detect or understand sounds
Since the late 1970’s, when a massive noise trauma in a rehearsal studio instantly finished his music career, Andy Shiach, our founder and managing director, has been on a crusade to heighten our general awareness to the harmful effects that noise has on our precious hearing mechanism. Andy has turned what he describes as the most devastating experience of his life into a lifelong mission to stop what happened to him, happening to others. He is almost ‘evangelical’ about educating people, particularly musicians, to look after their hearing. Over 30 years, he has gained a level of expertise and understanding that, if asked to, he will willingly share.
When music so rapidly went out of the window, Andy entered the world of audiology and he spent the next 15 years trying to help people stimulate what was left of their impaired hearing. The links between noise and hearing damage soon became obvious. Veterans from all the 20th Century conflicts, and a whole cross section of individuals, from pilots to factory workers, who had worked in noise, presented themselves at his practice to seek help with their hearing. In the late 80’s, 30 years after the introduction of amplified music, along came the musicians – in their droves!
The discovery of Etymotic Research, a US based Hearing Research and Development Company changed the direction of Andy’s focus. Etymotic (true to the ear) had developed the ER musician’s earplug, which for the first time offered musicians a viable solution to protecting their hearing without changing the fidelity of their music. In-Ear Monitoring was also in its infancy and Andy saw an opportunity to make a difference by offering preventative products, rather than trying to deal with the problems after the damage has been done. Music still provides the heartbeat to ACS, but by adopting the same principles he has applied to helping musicians, Andy
continues to take his company into other areas where noise is a major problem. His ambition now, is to get the world listening to portable music players safely. His take on noise is thought provoking;
'Noise takes no prisoners. It doesn’t care whose hearing it damages and it pays no mind to the devastating social and economic consequences it inflicts on those unfortunate enough to cross its path. Rarely, except in cases like mine, will it damage instantly, but slowly over time, will permanently destroy parts of the complex nerve system that allows us to perceive sound. It won’t kill you, but it will reap misery and social disablement without discrimination. The sad fact remains that noise induced hearing damage is an avoidable condition’