Why do Drummers Wear Headphones?

When choosing headphones, most people are guided by the purposes for which they will be used. Any music producer will opt for the best headphones for music production, for example. Drummers need specific headphones as well. However, you may wonder, why do drummers wear headphones?

If the rest of the band uses headphones to hear the monitor mix clearly, drummers rely on them to block out external noises. The audience makes a lot of noise at a concert, but the drummers should only hear what’s going on on stage. Our post explains about three particularly important reasons why it’s necessary for a drummer to wear headphones.

Click Track

It’s impossible for musicians to hear a song beat during a live performance clearly. To ensure that the drummer keeps up with the song’s tempo, a click track is required. Basically, it’s a recording of a click sound that helps maintain the rhythm and ensure accurate timing. Apparently, to hear a click track, the drummer needs headphones. This allows perfect synchronization in noisy environments. Click track is also played to the musicians during the song recording process. The same track is then played in their in-ear monitors during concerts.

To Hear the Band

The drum set is usually placed off to the side of the main stage. For this reason, a drummer is isolated from the bandmates in some regard. However, just as the other band members need to hear the sound of drums, a drummer needs to hear the sound of other instruments and the vocalists’ voice.

Headphones don’t mute all ambient sounds. They just block high-pitch sounds (considered as a noise) without drowning out the surrounding sounds completely. This allows a drummer to hear his/her playing, as well as most on-stage sounds, just at a lower volume. During on-stage performances, musicians may use headphones to hear instructions and directions from concert managers.

To Protect the Hearing

Studies show that about 57% of professional drummers suffer from hearing diseases. It’s no surprise that the drums are the loudest instrument in any band’s arsenal. That is why drummers have more problems with hearing than other musicians. The hearing ability of a person who plays drums without wearing protective headphones will inevitably become permanently damaged.

Professional drummers, of course, are at a higher risk of developing tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss. Using headphones, on the other hand, can greatly reduce the risk of this. That is why both amateurs who just practice in drumming and on-stage performers wear headphones.

Headphones can reduce the noise level by at least 20 dB. So, hearing protection is probably the most obvious answer to the question, “Why do drummers wear headphones?”. Some models even have different noise-cancellation levels. The drummer can alternate them depending on the level of noise.