Whether you’re at a concert, watching a singer rehearse, or watching a musician perform on TV, you’ll always see them wearing earpieces. They are not normal earpieces. These are referred to as in-ear monitors.
In this article, we will explain why singers wear earpieces and what they are used for. We also provide some useful tips on how to find good quality earplugs.
What Are In-Ear Monitors (IEMs)?
When singers wear earpieces during live performances or rehearsals, they are usually not wearing normal earplugs. The most common type of earplug for singers is the in-ear monitor, which is an in-ear headphone.
In contrast to ordinary headphones, which are worn over the head, the in-ear monitor can be worn comfortably over the ears, behind the neck, and under the chin. That way, they can still sing while wearing these headphones, but at the same time, they don’t have to listen to their own voices too loudly, therefore saving their voices from damage.
Related: Best IEM under $200
Why Do Musicians Wear Earpieces When Playing in Concerts
Earpieces are used to reduce the level of ambient sound that reaches the eardrums of the performer. The sound waves from an instrument or voice enter the ear canal and travel to the eardrum and inner ear, where they cause the drum to vibrate. As the drum vibrates, the vibrations travel through the bones of the skull, through the teeth, into the jaw, and down the neck to the shoulder.
The eardrum is a delicate membrane that is easily damaged by high-intensity sounds, which can result in hearing loss. To protect the eardrum, musicians wear earpieces. Earpieces help prevent the sound from entering the eardrum and damaging it.
Earplugs are another option. They can be placed inside the ear canal before a performance. Placing earplugs in the ear canal is more effective than using earpieces, but they are not as common as they once were.
Musicians often perform with headphones, and they are also available for use with wireless microphones. While playing, the musician can listen to music through headphones. Some musicians prefer to play with earplugs, while others feel that headphones keep them focused on the music.
Earplugs or headphones are good options for musicians who plan to play with other musicians. The sound from their instruments will be reduced, making it easier for the other musicians to hear each other.
What Are Singers Listening To Through Their Earphones?
The unmistakable look of a singer performing with an earpiece may not be as seamless as you think.
From the outside, it looks like singers are just listening to their own voices, but they’re actually hearing a ton more.
Unlike musicians, who can hear their bandmates and the audience, singers need something to follow along with onstage. So they wear tiny monitors in their ears that pipe in the sound they need to stay on track.
For mega-stars like Adele or Beyoncé, who perform in huge stadiums and amphitheaters, the mix is especially crucial. They can’t hear what’s coming out of the loudspeakers in front of them, so there’s always someone backstage mixing all of the audio for them. This person is called a monitor engineer, and their job is crucial for providing each artist with exactly what they need to hear, like an instrument or another vocal, at just the right volume to sing along with.
The mix could be different from artist to artist and even from song to song within a performance. For example, one song might be all about vocals, while another might feature more instruments. The mix is also tailored specifically for each singer, depending on what helps them perform best.
That’s why it sometimes looks like singers are just listening to their own voices when they’re onstage.
Earplugs or headphones can be used by singers in place of monitors. In fact, it’s more common for singers to wear earplugs than for musicians.
Earplugs and headphones are also helpful for singers who perform in small venues, like coffeehouses or clubs. They’re less noticeable than earpieces, and they can also be worn discreetly if the singer wants to hear their own voice without having to listen to the sound of the other instruments onstage.
Why Do Singers Take Out Their Earpieces on Stage?
If you’ve ever watched a Grammy Awards performance, you’ve likely noticed the artists’ odd habit of pulling out their earpieces mid-performance. It’s become a trend so ubiquitous that it’s hard to imagine a singer performing with earbuds in place. But why?
The answer has little to do with making performers feel like rockstars and more to do with safety. The practice is called “hot micing,” according to the Recording Academy, and the tradition dates back to the early days of radio broadcasting.
Because the singer’s microphone is live during performances, any noise picked up through the headphones — including feedback — can be broadcast to millions worldwide. Additionally, if there is a small delay on the live feed, the singer could end up singing off key or out of sync with his or her instrumentation.
During rehearsals, artists are encouraged to wear their earpieces so they can hear themselves sing along with the other instruments and make sure everything sounds as it should before going live at showtime.
Then, during the actual performance, they take them out because they know the microphones are already live.
This helps artists feel more comfortable, since they’re able to hear their voices as they sing along with the music.
It also helps the band members, since they can hear their singer’s voice clearly.
It’s not unusual for artists to take their earpieces out on stage, but it’s also not a universal practice. In fact, most of the time, musicians don’t wear their earpieces on stage, since they don’t need to hear themselves while they’re performing.
How To Find Good Quality Earplugs
Whether you are a singer or just someone who finds themselves in busy places, having a good pair of earplugs can be the difference between hearing the world around you and being frozen out by the noise.
Of course, it is important to find earpieces that help you to hear better rather than block everything out and leave you feeling isolated.
Look at reviews of products that have been tried and tested by other people. This is something that should be easy enough to find online, especially on websites such as Amazon. Reading reviews carefully will allow you to understand how well a product works and how good it is, as well as whether it is worth the money. If a product has lots of positive reviews, then it is likely to be something that you should consider purchasing.
The type of earpieces that you need might depend on whether you are going to use them all the time or just occasionally. There are different types available, and it is important that you make sure you find one that suits your needs. For example, there are foam earplugs that are disposable and others that are reusable. You might also want to look at the size of the plug that would work best for you.
It is important that you don’t just buy any earpieces that you see. Instead, you should look at the type of material that they are made from. Look at the label and make sure that it has been certified by an independent agency to ensure that it is safe for use.
If you are going to be wearing earplugs on a regular basis, then you should look for ones that are comfortable and won’t irritate your ears. You should also make sure that they are going to fit your ears properly. This is something that you can check by holding the earplugs in your hand and then trying them on.
You should also look at the price of the earplugs to ensure that they are not too expensive. You don’t want to end up spending more than you need to.
We can see that wearing earpieces reduces the effect of loud sounds on an individual’s overall performance and helps prevent hearing loss. For singers, however, they are absolutely necessary to use.
We recommend that all singers understand their role in protecting their ears and, as a result, themselves as well as their future. In addition, we recommend that they wear hearing protection when practicing or performing without amplifiers.