Hearing Protection for Sound Engineers

As a sound engineer at live events, you will often be positioned in or close to the crowd and as a result be exposed to high levels of ambient sound, often exceeding 100dB.

Sound Technician at work in studio

The Risks Behind your Job

Standard broadcast headphones are generally not EN352 (the standard for ambient hearing protection headphones) and may provide you with only 6dB to 8dB of ambient noise reduction. This will mean that, to hear messages clearly, you will be required to listen at around 98dB ( approx 100dB ambient sound, less reduction of say 8dB from the headphones if worn correctly, plus 6dB of additional reproduced sound level to hear clearly) for the duration of the event.

The Noise at Work safe listening period for 98dB is less than 30 minutes in any eight hour period.

In addition, some feeds may come in at unexpectedly high levels.

These working conditions can cause irreversible, but avoidable, Noise Induced Hearing Loss after a while.

Sound man at a concert

Professional Hearing Protection

You should consider using headphones or earpieces with ambient sound exclusion greater than 20dB (such as custom fit IEMs) so that you do not have to listen at such high levels.

If you require a high level of ambient awareness or the ability to communicate acoustically, you might want to consider a product such as the ACS Live Ambient Processor which has excellent isolation and mixable ambient signal.

These headphones and earpieces should be fitted with HDM® Pro which will automatically take account of the longer working days and keep your exposure level safe.

The Rapid Overload Response feature will help to minimise the effects of any unexpected high levels.

Results with Hearing Protection

By following our advice, you will be protected in line with the Noise at Work Act and your employer will have maintained their duty of care. You will possibly delay, or even avoid, NIHL.

Please do get in touch if you’d like to discuss NIHL and hearing protection further. We’d love to hear from you!