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Hearing Protection

Hearing protection is one method which can be used by musicians when they need it. However, this is a last resort and only to be looked at after all other avenues to minimise noise levels have been exhausted by employers.

Last updated: 30 October 2020

Musicians have developed various techniques to practically utilise hearing protection. However, employers should not rely on this to free them of their duties towards you.

Given the very specific circumstances facing musicians, which are totally different to those using hearing protection in other industries, we are advising employers that careful planning and thought needs to be given to the best ways of ensuring appropriate use.

In that process the employer has to have regard to the practical needs of players. Where the Regulations stipulate hearing protection is necessary, employers should ensure a process of education and encouragement is in place, rather than take a prescriptive approach.

That is why we are emphasising that employers should explore all other methods of reducing noise exposure before looking at hearing protection.

For those who do need to hearing protection, in particular freelance musicians, the MU provides a Hearing Health Scheme in partnership with Help Musicians UK and Musicians Hearing Services.

Where a musician is employed, we would encourage employers to cover the cost of hearing protection when musicians need it.

If you are exposed to risk

Within the judgement, the option for a musician to remove themselves from a workplace where they believe they are exposed to risk was stated.

If you have any concerns about noise exposure in your working environment, or you believe your employer or engager is failing in their duties towards you, then please contact the Union via your Regional Office.

Similarly, please contact us if you require guidance on dealing with an employer’s approach to hearing protection.

If you are working in an environment, such as the West End or an Orchestra, where there is an MU Steward or Health and Safety Representative in place, then it is advisable to speak to them in the first instance.