Why Do Singers Wear Earpieces? – One Big Reason

Why do singers wear earpieces when performing on stage?  Let's find out today.

Have you ever been curious to know why do singers wear earpieces when they perform live on stage in front of adoring fans?  Well, if your curiosity has led you here and you’re excited to know the answer, let’s not waste any time getting to the bottom of this mystery.

Why Do Singers Wear Earpieces While on Stage?

A singer wears an earpiece to be able to hear his or her own vocals, as well as stay on rhythm with the music and not sing too loudly or quietly while on stage.

Singers wear earpieces in order to hear themselves through a controlled mix that’s being played in their ears.  These earpieces also block out unwanted sounds, including the noise of an excited audience, thus allowing the singer to perform optimally and without any confusion while on stage.

Do Singers Use Earplugs?

Singers do not need to use earplugs since they have in-ear monitors (or earpieces).  These earpieces fit snugly into your ear, and because they create a strong seal between your ear canal and the earpiece itself, it does a great job of blocking out noise that could distract or disrupt the flow of a singer.

Can Singers Hear the Audience with Earpieces?

It depends on what volume the controlled mix is being played at inside the singer’s ear.  But usually, singers aren’t able to hear much of the audience’s reaction when they wear earpieces.  This is why you will occasionally see a singer remove one earpiece while performing on stage—but leave the other earpiece inside their other ear.

Why Do Singers Take Out Their Earpieces?

A singer will remove one of their earpieces in order to feel a stronger connection to the audience, or to simply hear and enjoy the ambient sound of the room.  

Sometimes a singer wants to connect with their fans while they’re performing on stage, as well.  At the same time, that singer may also want to block out some element of the room noise in order to hear the controlled mix in their ears, or be able to hear themselves singing in order to stay on rhythm with the song. 

So whenever you see a singer remove an earpiece from his or her left ear, but keep the earpiece inside his or her right ear, they are often trying to have the best of both worlds.  While having the controlled mix coming through both earpieces has tremendous benefits to singers, it can make some artists feel disconnected or even claustrophobic while performing live on stage.  This is because in-ear monitor technology has advanced so much (thanks to Jerry Harvey) that it successfully cancels out ambient sounds—including the audience.  

So when a singer performs live on stage in front of an excited audience, and he or she can only hear the music or controlled mix in their ears (and nothing else), it can sometimes feel off-putting to some singers.

It should be noted that there are also other situations when a singer may take out his or her earpiece, as well.  In some cases, there could be a problem that’s gone wrong with he earpiece technology.  Perhaps there is some sort of audio interference that is distorting the music or the vocals coming through the earpiece.  There’s also a possibility that the earpiece isn’t working at all—that no sound is coming through it whatsoever—and the earpiece has simply become nothing more than an earplug.

In scenarios like these, it’s very possible that a singer would decide to remove his or her earpiece because the in-ear monitor no longer serves a purpose. 

Lastly, there are times when the sound one is hearing in an earpiece isn’t properly calibrated to account for other singers’ microphones.  In a scenario such as this, when you have more than one singer on stage, one singer might be hearing another singer at a very uncomfortably loud decibel.  When that happens, and you’re suddenly hearing someone shouting in your ear, it can cause you to want to remove your earpiece in an effort to save yourself from hearing damage or hearing loss.

The best performers, however, are often able to hide earpiece malfunctions like this—to the point where it doesn’t detract from the viewers’ experience.  For example, check out this video below where it certainly appears that Beyonce suffered from an in-ear monitor malfunction, and managed to keep performing without missing a beat.

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