Why do singers wear earpieces?

+83 votes
asked Aug 4 in Entertainment by Stefanie (790 points)
edited Aug 13
I see singers on stage always wearing an earpiece. Is this for hearing protection or is the song playing in the earpiece so the singer doesn’t mess up? Or is it for some other reason altogether?

2 Answers

+14 votes
answered Aug 13 by KeAunte (950 points)
edited Aug 14

You are correct! Singers wear earpieces so they can choose what they hear. If they want to hear the lyrics, they can. If they want to hear themselves sing, they can. Earpieces help drown out the background noises, such as the instruments from the band or even the crowd. These noises can be distracting for the singers.

With earpieces in, the singer reduces background noises to an average of 30 decibels. This is extremely helpful for the singer.

These earpieces are custom made to fit the singer perfectly and also are made in different colors and styles so the singer can choose one to fit his or her outfit on stage.

+2 votes
answered Aug 13 by liliana (510 points)
edited Aug 14

Why do singers wear earpieces? They use them for a lot of reasons:

  • One main reason is to eliminate or reduce echo. When on stage, the singer generally stands behind the speakers. In an auditorium built for concerts, sound will radiate through the building. This is a bonus for the audience but when the music echoes back to the stage, the singer can become confused, because by the time the music bounces back to the stage, the sound coming back can be a second or two off from what the singer is currently singing.
  • Another reason is to block the sound from the band. These instruments are very loud, especially the instruments which use electric amplifiers. The background noise can make it very hard for the singer to hear themselves sing.
  • Previously (and currently in some venues where cover bands do gigs: bars, private parties, etc.), stage monitors were used to help the singer hear only what he or she is currently singing. These stage monitors are small speakers aimed directly at the singer, so the singer will hear themselves in “real” time. My dad (a one man band) uses stage monitors. This works fine for him as the only background noises are the audience and his own instruments/machines. Stage machines do not work very well in today's amped up concert venues. Musicians and singers move around a lot on stage, so the standard stage monitors would not work (unless they created them to move with the singer…which I do not see happening). 
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