Misconceptions have convoluted the realities of hearing wellness. Misconceptions and a lack of understanding of hearing loss pushes hearing wellness to a back-of-mind priority for users in the music industry
Inevitability – Users felt that hearing loss was an inevitability and thus useless to address.
“A lot of people have a defeatist attitude; ‘I could get protection but I’ve already lost a ton of hearing’”
Wealthy privilege – With the view that custom earplugs were only for the wealthy, users shied away from using them and associating with them.
“Just the perception of someone with custom ear plugs would be ’wow, this guys isn’t one of us’”
Music professionals fear the consequences of hearing loss. Users have a fear of the social and professional consequences of experiencing hearing loss, which discourages hearing wellness care
Decrease in professional value – Professionals have a fear that they will lose their industry value in the instance that they experiencing even the slightest of hearing loss.
“It’s like this hidden deficiency that nobody talks about, but it’s there because you’re exposing your ear to much sound”
Ignorance is bliss – User would rather live in risk than know the know the reality of their current state of hearing wellness to avoid know the reality of their situation.
“They will verbalize that they fear it -it’s one of your senses and you don’t want to lose that, but there is no tangible threat”
There’s stigma around using hearing protection. Although there are efforts to raise hearing wellness awareness in the music industry, the negative stigma of using hearing protection is very present.
Shame culture – Users of hearing protection occasionally faced persecution when using hearing protection while performing or listening to live music.
“If you can’t take the volume, what’s wrong with you?”
Badge of honor – The older generation saw hearing loss more as a badge of honor and a result of working in the industry rather than a valid health concern.
“Dudes in old metal bands see it as a badge of honor… They celebrate the fact that people’s ears are going to get destroyed”
There’s a disconnect between the audiology industry and the music industry. Audiology is not regarded as an industry where people seek help and resources.
Lack of emphasis on hearing prevention – With more more money on the hearing loss treatment side, there aren’t many audiologist focusing on hearing loss protection.
“Your regular audiologist focus more on post hearing loss rather than hearing loss prevention”
Hard to access the right resources – Users have difficulty getting themselves in front of an audiologist, especially one with specialized skills.
“This isn’t a secret. The important thing is to let people know there’s something they can do about their hearing loss”
Lack of advocacy and promotion – There just isn’t any means of education or advocacy for hearing wellness in the industry, especially from audiologists.
“I hear more about changing my oil in my car than checking my hearing”
With these key insights, we saw that people in the music industry all ended on a commonality.
This statement drove our team to question the implications behind this user state and ultimately pose the question: Why are they content in their ignorance? This drove us to dig deeper to see if there were any underlying causes for this, and what we found was that all these insights stemmed from a single mindset.
Mega Key Takeaway
Hearing wellness is not seen as a lifestyle, but simply just as a product.
“Hearing wellness is not perceived as an industry but rather just a pair of earplugs” - Logan
This contradicted our assumptions we made in the beginning, that most music industry professionals were unaware of hearing wellness. We found that nearly everyone knew about earplugs or in-ear monitors, and that hearing loss was a possible consequence of their lifestyles. They however weren’t wary enough to make any changes in their lives.