why do singers wear ear pieces

Why Do Singers Wear An Earpiece When They Perform?

Singers have always sounded in tune with the music. That’s even when it gets noisy and loud around them while performing. Why could that be? This is because of the earpiece or in-ear buds they use. It’s his thing out of their ears that you notice them wearing. It may not be always visible to spot, but it’s there. Why do singers wear an earpiece and then benefit from them?

Even back in the 1850s, doctors used to insert ivory earpieces connected to a long metal tube. This is what we know now as a stethoscope. Similarly, this application is used in modern-day headphones. These in-ear monitors or earpieces used as listening devices have been around for over a century. It helped many branches of society to progress, from medicine to the entertainment industry.

But why do singers wear an earpiece when they perform? What’s the purpose of it and how does it affect the way they perform at the stage? Read on from this article so you may find out why and how.

What are in-ear monitors or earpiece for singers?

Simply known as earpieces, in-ear monitors (IEM) are widely used by artists doing live performances on stage. Singers can listen to music on this audio device. Stage performances, especially a live one can be really noisy. And this challenges the singer to hear the sound coming from the band playing in the background. This is the main reason why singers wear an earpiece on stage. Without it, their ears will be drowning in noise and most usually be performing and singing off the tune.

An in-ear monitor is custom-made or custom-fitted for the user’s ear most of the time. This allows them better comfort and provides a higher level of noise reduction from the surrounding. In the 1980s, the use of this monitor was first used in a live performance of Stevie Wonder.

For every transmitter, technically there is one receiver for it. And for every receiver is an IEM. Through a wireless system of signals from the transmitter to the receiver is how in-ear monitors work. The performer usually wore a receiver about the same size as a pack of cards. To complete the process, the receiver then transmits the audio signal to the IEM. To transmit audio wirelessly, very High frequency (VHF) or Ultra High Frequency (UHF) radio signals are used. The most preferred by users is the UHF because it’s likely to get ant frequency interference. This makes the sound quality better. It is also more affordable compared to VHF.

Why do singers wear an earpiece?

We guess that we’ve already answered your question why do singers wear an earpiece. But you may probably want to know the top reason for using an earpiece, too.

Do you ever notice singers can reach a very high note? If they already have earpieces on, why would they over it while hitting a high note?

Try it out. Cup your hands over one of your ears and sing a note. What do you notice? Do you hear yourself clearer compared to when you weren’t doing it? Yep, that’s the reason singers would sometimes hold a finger to their ears over the earpiece.

There are times that even with an earpiece on, performers aren’t able to hear themselves. To fix that on the spot, they hold a finger on to cover one of their ears. By doing that the vibrations coming from their throat are amplified towards the ear. It makes their voices much clearer. This is also an easy fix when earpieces go nuts on them. As you know, the show must go on.

Why do singers take in-ears out at times?

Another thing you might notice is artists removing their IEM’s mid-way a performance. And remember that these are electronic devices, to begin with. That means these aren’t perfect and not 100% will work all the time. There are times that these devices would go haywire. It could ruin the ability of the artist to perform well.

One famous instance was during Beyonce’s performance of the Star-Spangled Banner during Obama’s Presidential Inauguration. No one exactly knows what happened, which makes a mystery to the entire music industry. One theory is that the IEM’s were canceling too much noise. This causes too much sound of the band delivered in her ears that she was not able to hear herself. This makes it hard to gauge how high or low you should go with the notes you’re singing. Unfortunately, you’ll just end up guessing in between or go all over the place with it. There could have been rehearsals done to avoid it. But actual live singing in front of hundreds of thousands of people is different from singing in space. Good thing singers like Beyonce are professional. They can think quickly on their feet when struggles like these come.


No matter what thinking they may have, the reason why do singers wear earpieces is pretty much straightforward. They just want to perform their best on stage or anywhere they’re performing live. Being able to sing live is a feat some artists would be scared to do on such a big scale. Singing live is such hard work, and that we can all say kudos to all who go through the process.

There are IEM’s available online that can be custom made for your purpose. You may want to try it out for yourselves if you are curious. It could give you a different experience compared to using the usual headphones. You’ll be able to enjoy the same noiseless environment these singers experience all the time when doing live performances.

Remember that listening too loud for such a long period can start to take a toll on your eardrums. So go easy on it. Do also what singers do to protect their ears with the use of this important device. It does not only protect one’s hearing but also allows them to perform well. They are like the kind of star everyone admires in the sky.

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