Why Do Singers Wear Earpieces?


There’s nothing like seeing a famous singer in a concert. Whether it’s a massive concert hall or a smaller intimate performance, it can be a lot of fun to see a famous singer and enjoy their music. But have you ever wondered why most of them wear earpieces in their ears while they sing and play?

Singers wear earpieces because they need to hear the music as they sing. They need to be able to hear the music without the interference of the crowd or the environment around them to make sure that they’re on tempo. The earpieces block out anything that isn’t the music track.

There’s a lot of history behind the earpieces and why they’re so beneficial to every single musician. Read on to discover how this small earpiece has significantly impacted the music industry!

What Are the Benefits of Using Earpieces?

Earpieces are tiny speakers that play music directly into the singer’s ear. They create a seal in the ear that only allows the sounds from the earpiece to go into the ear canal. 

The benefits of using earpieces include protection for the singer’s ear and vocal health, and it keeps singers on point during performances because they can hear the audio and their cues clearly. Earpieces are also more convenient than the alternative of using large, on-stage speakers.

Earpieces Help Protect the Singer’s Voice and Hearing

Musicians are around loudspeakers all day, making them more likely to experience hearing loss. The earpiece allows them to block out the majority of loud sounds they’d hear on the concert stage. It also keeps the music being played at a reasonable volume level.

Additionally, the earpieces also affect the health of the singer’s voice. Sometimes, if the acoustics are wrong in a concert environment or the singer can’t hear themselves over the music, they’ll try to sing louder to be heard. If the singer tries to sing too loudly, they could damage their voice. The earpiece helps the singer find a healthy volume that would be beneficial in the long run. 

Live band with earpieces

Using Earpieces Helps Keep the Singer on Point

One of the biggest things that earpieces can do is allow the singer to hear things that the audience can’t. When singers are recording or singing a song in the studio, there are lots of cues around them that keep them on track while singing. This could be a backing track that doesn’t make it into the final cut, a metronome, or a piece of the music that’s hard to hear when playing in front of a massive crowd.

Singers need these cues to stay on tempo. The instruments themselves can lead the singer through the song, telling them when to sing, when to pause, and when to raise their voice. If the singer can’t hear the track clearly, complete with all the little cues that keep them on point, sometimes they’ll miss a beat or note.

The earpieces keep them on track and help the singer stay in tempo and on time, especially since an on-stage performance will always be a bit out of sync than a recorded performance in a studio.

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Earpieces Are More Convenient Than Speakers

Earpieces aren’t the only technology that allows the singer to hear the music, but they’re the most convenient. Two earpieces are far more portable when going from gig to gig, rather than using the wedge-shaped speakers that you often see at the front of the stage. 

The earpieces allow singers to listen to both their voices and the music clearly, preventing a strained voice. This helps provide a better concert experience for all. Additionally, from a practical standpoint, they allow the singer to move around the stage without being in front of speakers.

Speakers can do the same thing as most earpieces, but they require the singer to stand in certain places, and the sound they feedback to the band is often a lot less clean than the sound the singer would get in their earpieces.

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Live musician on stage

Why Singers Sometimes Take Their Earpieces Out

Sometimes you see singers fiddling with their earpieces on stage, which eventually leads them to remove the earpieces entirely. If the earpieces are so beneficial, why would a singer remove them?

Well, there are three reasons why a singer would abandon their earpiece.

  • Failed soundcheck. A singer might take out an earpiece because of a failed soundcheck. Soundchecks are meant to help singers get a feel for the venue’s acoustics while singing their songs. This also sets up the monitor levels for their earpiece. However, if the singer and band can’t perform a soundcheck, those levels can hinder the singer rather than help. Singers might choose to take out their earpieces to hear better.
  • The earpieces stopped working. Sometimes the earpieces simply break or stop working, which can be a massive problem in the middle of a performance. If the problem doesn’t fix itself, the singer removes the earpiece and tries to play to the live sound. 
  • Some singers want to hear the crowd’s noise. Earpieces tend to block out everything during a performance, including the sounds of the crowd. In an intimate setting, or if singers just want to get pumped up with the crowd’s energy, they can choose to remove the earpiece. You might even see some have an earpiece in one ear and then nothing in the other. This helps them hear both the crowd and their track simultaneously.

Do Singers Need Earpieces?

Not every musician wears an earpiece for every concert. The benefits of earpieces are great, but sometimes a musician chooses to remove their earpiece mid-performance or to forgo an earpiece entirely. 

Singers don’t always need earpieces, especially for smaller and more intimate performances. These kinds of performances are typically held in concert halls or small venues, not outdoors or in major arenas.

If it’s just a singer, some backup band, and nothing else, the singer will get by on the sounds around them, rather than needing to overcome louder sounds and the roaring of a crowd. 

Additionally, some singers will choose to keep their own rhythm by playing an instrument themselves. If you play an instrument and sing, you naturally follow the song’s rhythm, which negates the need for an earpiece.

If you’re a beginning performer or singer, you may be able to get by without an earpiece for smaller shows and venues, but once you get to the big leagues, you’ll need to grab an earpiece and learn to use it.

Singer singing into microphone

How To Get Started With Earpieces

If you want to start looking at earpieces for your own music career, then start looking for generic ones first. While it might be tempting to get an earpiece that perfectly fits your ears, those are very expensive. Plus, custom earpieces may fit snugly into your ear, so they’re a bit harder to take in and out quickly.

If you end up liking the generic earpieces, you can upgrade to a custom pair once you start doing bigger gigs. Those will have a much better seal, and you also won’t have to worry about them falling out if you’re going around the stage.

While earpieces are beneficial for a musician, you shouldn’t focus on finding the perfect pair of earpieces while you’re just starting out. Instead, focus on creating your sound and finding gigs, and then you can grab earpieces later on.

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Final Thoughts

Those little earpieces you see singers have on their ears are actually a pretty important part of every solo singer’s arsenal. Without them, professional singers would make more mistakes than you might realize! Singers wear earpieces not just for the short-term effects of performing better and working with their audience but also to make sure that they’re protecting both their voice and their ears long-term.

Do you have any experience with an earpiece?

Jayden Smith

Hi, I am Jayden. I have a strong interest in the latest hearing electronics including headphones, earbuds, headsets and speakers. I love to research and write information about them on a part-time basis sharing some tips for beginners looking for the perfect device.

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