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Why Do Singers Wear Earpieces In Their Ears? [4 Reasons]

There’s a lot of buzz about musicians wearing earpieces, so I have decided to highlight four different reasons to answer the question: why do singers wear earpieces? in this updated guide.

I have tested and rated different reasons on a score of 1 to 10 so that you can know the exact reason behind singers like Beyoncé using IEMs. 

I have also researched why singers take out their earpieces after music concerts end, so you’ll know about this typical musician’s custom.

📃 Why Do Singers Wear Earpieces in Concert [The Quick Cheat-Sheet]

Before we dive into the details, let’s glance at this scorecard to know the exact reasons behind singers wearing in-ears: 

ReasonsHow it benefitsIf not used Importance Score
On-Stage AwarenessSingers can hear the voice of their band during live concerts Musicians will not be able to hear their vocal sounds and match the rhythm of their band8/10
“Click-Track” Use It helps singers maintain the tempo of a song during live concerts.Singers will risk starting a song in a live show with the wrong rhythm. 7/10
Lip-syncing Use It helps singers sync their lip movements following the song track.They may miss the song track, and the audience will know about “fake singing.”6.5/10
Protect your ears It helps singers block external noise during live concerts.Singers will not be able to listen in detail at safe volume limits. 7.5/10

I’ll explain my importance score in my detailed explanation here: 

1️⃣ Reason #1: Singers Can Know What’s Going On!

Singers Can Know What’s Going On!

You are a famous singer, Mr. Adams. You have just got a big-ticket concert in Los Angeles. You and your band, The Amazing Five, are excited about the show, but there’s just one catch: 

The concert will take place in a jam-packed auditorium. Its noise levels often break safe limits, but the show’s organizer has promised to handle the noise levels.

Your concerns are different. They include: 

  • Whether I’ll be able to hear my vocal sounds (Mr. Adams is the main singer)
  • Whether I’ll be able to hear the musical instruments played by fellow band members.
  • Whether I’ll stay in tune with the band’s tempo so that the concert synchronizes perfectly.

And here is where in-ear monitors (also called earpieces) come to the rescue. They will help Mr. Adams listen to his vocal cords and band members correctly to execute the big-ticket concert smoothly.

Hence, the importance score of 8/10 [highest].

2️⃣ Reason #2: Never Get A Wrong Tempo Thanks To “Click-Track”

Never Get A Wrong Tempo Thanks To “Click-Track”

You are an ordinary singer, Mr. Smith. Your music career never kicked off, and you could hardly meet your ends with a few odd signing contracts. 

Mr. Smith’s problems (in particular) include: 

  • You lose your nerves at a big concert with a loud cheering audience.
  • As a result, you often end up slowing down or speeding up the tempo of the song (in the middle)
  • Your wrong tempo selection makes your singing unprofessional (mediocre performance).

Mr. Smith never improved, but you can overcome his problems using a metronome. 

Here’s how: 
This device produces a “click” sound at a predetermined tempo, and you can hear it with a reasonable degree of clarity.

Where are IEMs here, I hear you ask?

Ask the audience. Anyone can hear “click-tracks,” including your audience. But it’s unprofessional to let the audience hear such “clicks.”.” Hence, you should have earpieces so that only you can listen to such click tracks. Even drummers can wear earpieces to add that extra “jazz” to their performance.

This reason gets an importance score of 7/10. 

Want to steal my references? Here's a quick video to get started!

3️⃣ Reason #3: You Want To Execute “Fake Singing” Perfectly

You Want To Execute “Fake Singing” Perfectly

You are an aged (but experienced) singer, Ms. Emma. You have long retired from singing, but a big concert organizer requested you to perform in their much-hyped live event.

It’s a tricky situation as Ms. Emma: 

  • You are no longer confident singing live [age takes a toll]
  • You don’t want to sing out of tune [and lose your credibility in the music industry]

The solution to this tricky situation is: lip-syncing. It’s the art of pretending to sing to match the song’s tune and tempo. The live audience should not know that the singer is not actually singing from her vocals; I call it “fake singing.”

IEMs can help singers precisely listen to the pre-recorded tunes to perfectly lip-sync and execute the live concert without mishap.

This reason isn’t for most singers (because top singers prefer to sing live with their natural voice ;)), so I am giving the importance score of 6.5/10 [lowest].

4️⃣ Reason #4: Singers Want To Protect Their Ears [Health Comes First!]

Singers Want To Protect Their Ears

Meet the new music sensation, Ms. Isabella. She’s young, and energetic, but health-conscious. Though talented, she accepts low pay-check offers as avoiding loud concerts is her priority #1. 

So, using IEMs is a no-brainer for her as they fit into her ears perfectly and help her avoid unnecessary external sounds. 

Hopefully, music concert organizers will learn about the ill-effects of loud noise exposure soon 🙂

References For Reddit Nerds:

🎧 What Do Singers Hear In Their Earpieces? [Secret Revealed!]


IEMs help singers hear extra-terrestrial sounds, which give them the power to entertain and excite the audience at full capacity. In short, the Big Bang

I was just kidding.

Singers don’t hear anything; they monitor the mix of individual instruments and vocals and customize beats to compose a brilliant presentation.

Also Read: Here Are The Best IEMs For Singers and Music Professionals [2023]!

👂 Why Do Singers Take Out Their Earpieces [Researched]

👉 There are two main reasons

  • Musicians can take out their IEMs to correct the music mix. When you wear IEMs for a long, you get habituated to restrained sound entering your ears. It can disturb your mix; musicians need to pull them out (just for a second) to get things right. Experienced musicians, however, can manage IEMs for a long period. 
  • IEMs are way more effective than typical earplugs because they are custom-molded to fit into a singer’s ears. It protects the musicians from loud noise exposure. But on the other hand, they make things too quiet for a singer. A true musician’s heart always wants to enjoy with the audience, so they pull out the earplugs to get the music vibes. 

🎯 What Are The Different IEM Types Used By Singers [Both Beginners and Expert Musicians]

Different IEM Types

There are two main IEM types that are used by musicians worldwide:

Generic IEMs:

They are budget IEMs and are popular among budding singers who want a variety of ear-tip sizes but don’t have special requirements for a perfect ear fit.

However, there is a caveat:

They don’t offer the powerful noise isolation you might want for extra-loud music shows. They are also known as “Universal IEMs.”

Custom-Fit IEMs:

As the name suggests, custom-fit earpieces are designed for the perfect fit you can’t get in Generic IEMs. It offers better noise isolation, so buy them to avoid loud noise.

But you’ll face a peculiar problem with them: they are harder to return (because they are custom-molded to fit into a particular person’s ear, and the ears of no two humans are the same).

Custom-fit IEMs are expensive because they cater to the specific requirements of individual singers. 

🎶 Why Not Wear Earpieces During Music Shows? [Singer Woes Revealed!]


Not everything is good with In-ear monitors. Here are the discomforts (and disadvantages) of using IEMs:

🔰 Reason #1: Singers Get Exposed To Audio Malfunctions

The year was 2016. Red velvet member Joy reportedly experienced pain in his ears and went offstage. People suspect he was shocked by the earpieces he was wearing.

K-pop fans know that this is a real accident, but instances of audio malfunctioning of IEMs are rare. 

Search In-Ear Monitors Fails Compilation on YouTube, and you’ll find dozens of videos where singers have experienced trouble wearing the same earpiece devices they love to wear.

So, always check if your IEMs are working correctly before the concert and change your IEMs if they get old or damaged. 

🔰 Reason #2: Singers Can’t Enjoy Themselves With The Audience

I discussed this situation in my research on why singers take out their earpieces (point 2). 

Imagine this:

You are singing in a live show beaming with youngsters. You are in the best of emotions, and your tunes fall into place. Your audience is cheering for your brilliant performance. Wouldn’t you like to put your IEMs off and hear your audience enjoying your song?

IEMs are super-earplugs, so wearing them for a long time will make you feel strange. You only see the dancing faces of your audience but can’t hear them that well to help you correlate with their faces.

Energetic singers know what I mean here 😉

🔰 Reason #3: IEMs Come At An Extra Cost!

If you want more comfort and custom fit for your ears, you need to get custom-fit IEMs which are expensive for any beginner-level singer. It’s very relatable.

You will look to attend more music shows and stabilize your income source or wait for ages for a custom-fit IEM which can’t be returned easily.

I’ll advise any budding singer reading this guide to go for universal IEMs. They provide decent hearing protection and come at a budget price. 

💡 Singers Using Earpieces FAQs


1. How much do IEMs cost?

Universal IEMs cost around $100-200, whereas custom-molded IEMs can cost over $300. Note that custom-molded IEMs take time to get delivered and are difficult to replace. 

2. Why do singers close their eyes when singing in concerts?

When you close one of your senses, the other senses get the much-needed space to focus. Closing your eyes allow you to focus on the pre-made tunes and vocal cords for a brilliant performance.

3. Do musicians hear music differently from us?

As per NPR, musicians don’t hear music differently from non-musicians, but they can improve their auditory senses to hear better through proper music training. 

4. What do idols listen to in their earpieces?

Idols sing in very loud environments, so In-ear monitors help keep track of instrumental sounds and hear their vocals as they put up the music show.

5. What do drummers hear in their headphones?

Drummers use headphones to keep track of the song’s beat to avoid going out of tune in live shows. What they hear is commonly referred to as “click sound.” 

💭 What Do You Think? [Closing Comments]

Here’s a fun fact: Singers have better Intelligent Quotient than non-singers because of the magical effect of music on their brains. 

Let’s discuss the contents of this updated guide in the comment box for a “brilliant” discussion. 

All music lovers are invited!

About the Author

Why Do Singers Wear Earpieces

Rach Wellard

Rach Wellard is the driving force behind Sound & Solitude. Her mission is to help you discover the profound impact of sound in your daily life and to explore the beauty of solitude. With a deep passion for the connection between soundscapes and emotions, she brings a unique blend of expertise and personal dedication to our platform.

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