What Is Ear Fatigue And 5 Ways How Music Producers Can Avoid It
Ear Fatigue is when your ears become strained after producing for an extended period of time. When you are in a state of ear fatigue you forget how things should sound, your ears begin to ache (you may even get headaches) and listening to anything music related can become a chore since it feels as if your mind/ears have been pushed to the breaking point and you can’t comprehend how one can even compose music anymore.
In fact, it’s downright toxic to your music if you are in a SUPER rush because you will not hear the reality of your music. Have you ever had those sessions where you feel your music sounds like an EARGASM of musical heaven? Then, hours later, you listen to the music you excitedly posted to soundcloud/twitter/WHATEVERTHEFUCK and you discover it sounds like the next hot single on “LIVE DUMPSTER HITS, VOLUME 3”. That’s the results of ear fatigue.
So Let’s face it: ear fatigue fucking sucks. Here are some ways to avoid it
I’m not a fan of taking large breaks from my music that last for days or weeks. As I know some music producers that prefer to do it this way, but that’s way too god damn long. And if you know me, I prefer doing things quickly. Therefore, I found diverting my attention to other things actually helps my ears recover rather quickly. This can be by taking a nap, going for a run, writing, video editing or doing SOMETHING that stimulates me or keeps me engaged that isn’t related to creating music. This helps since it gives your brain time to sort itself out, you come back with a fresh set of ears and then you can hear more of the mistakes you made while composing/creating your song, make corrections and add new ideas to them.
I recommend taking a mini break every 15-60 minutes or so after doing 30-60 minute burst of work.
If you aren’t putting the right fuel in your body, how the hell do you expect to last for long on any task you want? Take breaks to eat, drink and nourish your body correctly. Eat the right amount of vegetables, fruits, meats and so on to help give you sustaining energy to last throughout the day. Avoid quick fixes like caffeine since that shit will cause you to crash out and burn and may give you more anxiety than it’s worth. Keep a gallon of water straight on your desk since it can take away tiredness and give you extra energy to last throughout the day when producing music.
Additionally, invest in some vitamins. It may not work for you, but I have seen results to where I feel I can go on for hours when I take my vitamins.
B-Complex: For as much as you spend on two cups of coffee a month, I’d recommend just buying some damn b-complex because it helps give you energy, relaxes anxiety and promotes better mood in my case.
Check it out here:
Thorne Research – Rhodiola: This is something I use for anxiety. I know a lot of creatives struggle with anxiety and mental health issues, so I recommend investing in this since it reduces the amount of tension I feel from my anxiety. And that alone gives me more energy since the more energy I spend worrying about shit, the more energy I have to actual produce shit into the world. So I recommend giving this a try since it cost about as much as a discount video game.
Listening To Music
Oddly enough, in other cases, just listening to music can help ear fatigue. I feel this is a thing because of the fact that when you are creating music you are hyper-focused on every little detail of your song. From the melody, to the sound and how everything flows; it gets taxing on the mind doing this for hours on end. So, when you take a moment to step back and stop that process, your ears can relax and it brings perceptive back into your mind and it helps if you need a bit of breather to get your ears back to where they need to be for creating those spicy beats.
AVOID MAKING YOUR MUSIC AT LOUD VOLUMES
I cannot STRESS this one enough because constantly listening to obnoxiously loud sounds WILL tire your ears out QUICKLY. This is ESPECIALLY true for you folks who use studio headphones because having that enclosed sound that close to your ears will eventually cause them to lose their sense of hearing, induce physical pain and, worse of all, you lose your feel of your music. ANYTHING sounds good when it’s cranked up to 100% and you want to try creating your songs at around 25-75% volume since it gives you a more accurate sense of sound for your mixes. Only turn it up loud if you need to hear your loud end or melodies imo.
Set A Time Limit
In some cases, I find making a time limit actually limits my ear fatigue. This is because I have a set amount of time I have to do a certain task on my song (creating a good bass line, producing a melody, finishing a section of a song etc) and it avoids me spending unneeded time on the song that can result in ear fatigue from working too long in massively drawn out music sessions.