Audiologist Anthony Kovacs understands the hearing dangers of being a musician. Before he began spending his days protecting peoples’ hearing, he put his own at risk. Kovacs sang with punk band Shot Baker—he still performs and records with them occasionally—and worked at live music venues when he wasn’t on stage.
Now he focuses his full-time practice on treating people with tinnitus. He still goes to music festivals and performances, but usually as more than an audience member. Last month he took a group of audiology students from his alma mater—University of Northern Colorado—to the Bohemian Nights festival. The group spent their time fitting performers, stagehands, venue crew, sound engineers and others working the festival with custom earplugs.
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A nonprofit organization called MusiCares sponsored the fittings through its Hearing Health Initiative. Kovacs shares what a big difference a good earplug makes in a radio interview with KUNC, a public radio station in Northern Colorado. Custom earplugs designed for those in the music industry allow a balance of frequencies from bass to treble and dim loudness equally from drums to screaming fans.
“When you rely on your ears for your livelihood,” Kovacs says in the interview, “you really need to protect them.”
Shelley D. Hutchins is content editor/producer for the ASHA Leader. firstname.lastname@example.org.