why do drummers wear headphones

Why Do Drummers Wear Headphones?

Ever wonder why drummers need to wear headphones? A good quality pair of headphones can make all the difference when rocking out to a song at home or in the studio. Finding the right sound quality, fit and style is important but the most important thing is finding a pair of headphones that protect your ears. Hearing loss is unfortunately common amongst drummers and other musicians. Finding the right pair of headphones is key when you’re a drummer. 

Hearing the click track

drum set

In order to stay in time and on the beat of a song, drummers use a click track. A click track is basically a recording of a clicking noise that matches the speed of the song being played. Playing the click track at the same tempo as the song recording is key. It is pretty common to see almost every musician in a live band use IEMs–in-ear monitors, in order to hear the click track. In order to hear this track, drummers use in-ear monitor headphones. It’s important to use headphones when playing a click track so that the audience doesn’t hear. 

Listening to a backing track

Backing tracks are used for drummers to play along with a certain song. For example, many drummers on YouTube use backing tracks in order to record covers. Simply put, for drummers, backing tracks are all the other instruments you hear in the background– the guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals, etc. Drummers not only use backing tracks to record their own covers but they also use them for solo gigs as well. 

Hearing the entire monitor mix

Playing on-stage with an acoustic kit can be stressful without the proper equipment like a good pair of headphones. Without in-ear monitors, it can be pretty difficult for drummers to hear their bandmates or even their own kick drum. In-ear monitor headphones are a great solution to this problem because they can be used to hear the monitor mix. A monitor mix allows the drummer to hear each of their bandmates’ instruments playing through the amps or monitors. A good monitor mix lets the drummer hear each individual instrument well enough so that they do not fall off the beat or miss important cues during songs. It’s important for drummers before a show to speak with the soundboard engineer so that they can adjust each instrument to their liking in order to hear each of their bandmates clearly.

Listening to stage directions

stage lights

Being on-stage can be overwhelming for any musician. The loud music and the noise of the crowd can make it difficult to hear important instructions. Using headphones on-stage allows a drummer to hear any directions being given to them by the stage crew. The audience wants to feel like the band they are seeing is prepared and ready to put on a great show. Using headphones allows the band to be able to hear helpful instructions or cues from behind the scenes without the audience hearing them.

Protecting your hearing


Every drummer needs a good pair of headphones in order to protect their hearing. As a drummer, there are many factors that can lead to hearing loss. Whether it’s practicing on your kit at home or playing on-stage with a band, hearing loss can occur. Without the right precautions, the mix between playing for an extended period of time, hitting cymbals and hearing amps and monitors from other instruments can lead to severe auditory damage. Many studies have shown that drumming has been linked to hearing loss because of these things. On a positive note, using headphones can reduce damage to one’s ears. Using headphones can help block out high-pitched noises which are very damaging to the ears. A good way to avoid severe damage is by investing in a protective pair of headphones. A protective pair of headphones can make such a huge difference in your future auditory health. 

Headphones are so important for musicians to use, especially drummers. Drummers are often referred to as the “glue” that holds the band together. Without a drummer’s ability to keep the tempo going, the band can get offbeat and mess up the song they are playing. Using in-ear monitors and headphones is a great way for drummers to improve their playing on stage and off. Headphones help protect a drummer’s hearing, can be used to hear stage directions, or even hear a track whether that’s a click or backing.  

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