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I once stumbled on a question on which someone suggested to consider buying ear protection for the child who was learning violin, because on the long run, playing violin can damage the child's ears.

I have yet to stand next to an individual who is playing violin on their own, so I don't know how loud it truly is.

But during my last visit to the piano store, when one of the piano seller was playing Chopin's Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2 as a demonstration for me on an acoustic upright piano, I was very surprised by how powerful it was, even though it wasn't a grand piano (then again, I was standing right behind him). This makes me wonder how loud it can actually get if the piano seller was playing something loud instead.

This got me to wonder whether or not playing on an acoustic piano for too long without ear protection might cause hearing loss?

I can't seem to find any information online about ear damage due to piano practicing (unlike for the violin), but I might not be searching properly.

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    You can get a digital piano and set the volume as you want.
    – FLUSHER
    Jun 1 '21 at 10:38
  • @sermonionx I actually have a digital piano, but I decided to move on to an acoustic one because I couldn't stand the "digital feeling" anymore. But yeah, that could have been a good idea.
    – Clockwork
    Jun 1 '21 at 10:39
  • @PiedPiper I'm mitigated, the question is something else altogether (as in, I'm neither scared nor do I feel pain from the piano). But the answers are still relevant. I'm surprised I wasn't able to find that question when searching. What were the keywords you searched to find it?
    – Clockwork
    Jun 1 '21 at 18:22
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    @Clockwork The duplicate question turned up as a result for a Google search for piano dynamic levels.
    – PiedPiper
    Jun 2 '21 at 8:00
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Never deafened myself in many thousands of hours practising/playing! None of my students ever went deaf either. So, not a potential problem, unless playing fff for hours on end.

If you are concerned, then use of the soft pedal will help. On studio pianos, it pushes the hammers closer to the strings, but on grands, it moves the whole action sideways. There's also the option of the middle pedal on most pianos to the right of the Atlantic, called appropriately the practice pedal, which brings a curtain across between the hammers and the strings. Or, you could make your own 'semi-permanent' one, out of cloth, experimenting with which material suits you best.

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  • Way too early to decide this is the best answer! Wait a lot longer.
    – Tim
    Jun 1 '21 at 19:41
  • Well, the reason I picked this one is because the question was marked as dupe, and this is the only information that wasn't given in the other question's answers. Edit: Actually, there was your comment mentioning the practice pedal on an acoustic.
    – Clockwork
    Jun 1 '21 at 20:57
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Generally, hearing protection is required at 85 decibels. Hearing damage usually occurs because of a combination of the loudness and the duration of the sound. For example, according to OSHA, 85 dB is acceptable for up to 8 hours whereas 100 dB is only okay for up to 15 minutes. I think a grand piano during normal practice would probably be okay for an extended period, but it might be a good idea to check with a dB meter.

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