Every job comes with its hazards. If you’re a music performer, there could be a number of health risks to look out for. Here are just some of the common health dangers that musicians face.
RSIs (repetitive strain injuries) are injuries caused by repeated movements. Office workers can get them from typing, supermarket workers can get them from scanning items on a conveyor belt and musicians can often get them from playing instruments.
Guitarists can sometimes suffer from tendonitis in the wrist or fingers, while drummers can suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist. Both injuries can be painful and may affect one’s ability to play.
Such injuries form as a result of overexerting oneself. Listen to your body and give it a break if you’re starting to develop aches that won’t shift (they may heal by themselves). The correct technique can sometimes prevent such injuries.
Singers can sometimes suffer vocal fatigue. This is when the vocal cords become injured, which could lead to croakiness or pain when singing. In some regards, this itself is an RSI.
The best way to treat vocal fatigue is to rest your voice. This will allow your laryngeal muscles to heal. Vocal fatigue can often occur when pushing one’s voice to its limits. While you should push the limits of your voice, don’t continue to sing even when you’re in pain as you’ll just be prolonging the recovery time. Breathing exercises may be able to help prevent injuries by strengthening your vocal cords.
Musicians often find themselves in loud environments. This prolonged noise exposure can cause damage to the ears – which could include tinnitus or partial deafness.
Earplugs may be able to prevent this damage by muffling the sound. If it’s too late for this, it may be possible to look into hearing aids. An expert will be able to test you and find the right hearing aid for you based on your audiogram – click here to learn more about audiograms. Special hearing aids may be necessary for those with ringing in the ears.
Saxophone lung is a condition that many woodwind players can get. It’s an allergic pulmonary disease caused by fungus in instruments that is then breathed in. This can lead to inflammation of the lung and breathing difficulty.
You can avoid saxophone lung by cleaning your instrument. Fungi like mold are attracted to damp and warm places and will grow in your instrument unless you keep it clean.
Mental health issues
A study of independent musicians found that 73% suffered from mental health problems of some kind. Such mental health problems can occur for various reasons: they could include anxiety as a result of stage fright or depression from writer’s block.
You can overcome these mental health issues by surrounding yourself with supportive people and by realizing when it’s time to take a break. Music may be a passion, but both the songwriting and performance process can still have its highs and lows.