Why Do Drummers wear Headphones?

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We commonly see drummers wearing headphones when they are practicing, rehearsing with their band, recording, or when they are performing. But, why do drummers wear headphones? And why are the headphones so much famous among people? It can be said there is something very special about headphones that makes them much more important and superior to other drivers.

Drummers always see to wear headphones while they are performing on stage, they wear them for different reasons. Here in this article, we include the main reasons why drummers wear headphones.

Following is the list of the main causes, of why do drummers wear headphones, so let’s start!

1. Click Track for Live Performances

It is very important and crucial for drummers to keep up with the rhythm. As the music started or is being played, then at the same tempo a click track records a click sound. That’s why the drummers are in sync with the beat and rhythm.

Nowadays click track is used by many touring bands. As the musicians start to play their instruments, the music of the instruments is filled with extra and no-need sounds that have already been recorded before.

 When the bands perform live they need to play at the same tempo as the recordings to perfectly match with it. So, they have to play at the same metronome click-through:

  • Headphones
  • Or IEMs (in-ear monitors)

When the bands recorded the songs in the first place then they play with the ones they have used in the studio. 

If we talk about Conventional monitors, then it can be said these are better known as the speakers, which are placed at the front of the musician, for the purpose that the audience can hear a click, which will mess up fully with the sound mix.

With the use of headphones or IEMs, musicians can hear the click without being audible to the audience. Any other process would result in the audience hearing these clicks; so, for this reason, headphones became very necessary to wear.

2. Track the Monitoring Mix

During the performance, the artists commonly choose to wear those earphones that are too smaller in size than their studio headphones. These headphones look like tiny buds that can easily fit in the ear instead of being worn over the head. More, those small headphones also provide monitor mixes.

As a drummer, it will be very difficult for you to hear your bandmates and also tuff to kick the drum simultaneously. So, don’t worry there is a solution to this difficulty.

For performance, the speakers must all face forward and straight while placing the speakers of the kick drum away from you. Moreover, you’ll have a big problem not hearing your kick drum.

Headphones will make it very easy to understand and hear what’s happening on the stage, by pumping the monitor feed directly into the ear of the drummer. At the same time, the headphones will reduce the drum noise for improved clarity.

3. Protect the Hearing

There is also another reason, why drummers wear headphones. The drum headphones, used by drummers during performance provide them with hearing protection, which means it absorbs at least 20 decibels of sound.

However, if you try to consider how loud drums are, then definitely you can never listen to any part or section of them for even more than a minute and will experience damage to your ears.

Perform for hours with drums, cymbals, and monitor speakers together, and you can experience severe hearing damage.

As this saying is true, your first crash is enough to gravely damage your hearing.

Therefore, drummers prefer to wear these headphones to avoid and minimize their drum noise. The use of those headphones also allows you to play the monitor mix safely and rightly on stage, letting hear by the drummer and the band without compromising their hearing.

You might now wonder how they can simultaneously play the drums and block the sounds they emit.

The drummer always hears the sounds that they are playing during performance or practice because the earpieces just block sounds with high frequency.

4. An Alternative to Loud Stage Noise

The main aim of headphone drummers is to act just as an alternative to fulfill the need for a high-pitch and loud stage.

The stage gets loud in this situation when both large-scale amplifiers, as well as conventional monitors, are used by the band. But on the other side if all bands go switched to in-ears, then the stage monitors would be a little noisy. So, it can be said that in-ears are not here only for protecting the ears, but they are also used as an alternative to a far louder solution perfectly.

5. Onstage Instructions and Directions

It would be very challenging to communicate instructions clearly because of the ruckus that appears on stage. Headphones would help to make it much more reachable.

One reason, why drummers wear headphones, is that they allow the drummer to hear both the instructions and directions that have been recorded in advance. These effectively support and help the drummers in their drumming.

6. Listening to a Backing Track

It is commonly used by drummers when they practice before performances. They would listen carefully to a track they have to drum along to and they use their headphones for the purpose to block out the drum sounds to hear the music they were playing to.

It is especially used for solo gigs but not used mostly for live performances. When they go to doing live shows and performances, it’s mainly only a click track and also a couple of helping and support tracks.

7. A Better Recording Session

When you are in your studio and you start recording a session, the most important thing that you want and need is a microphone that nicely captures sounds other than the drums.

When you choose to play a piece of music on your speakers, then the microphones will at once pick up the sound of the speakers and also interfere with the recording.


So, hopefully, now you have to be clear about why drummers wear headphones, rightly they wear the headphones so they can listen to the metronome while playing without any disturbing sound. You must need to keep the tempo with the whole band when you start with the band as drummer.

Therefore, it is very important to keep the beat as flawlessly and perfectly as possible, so, it is required to use all the tools available. It must include wearing headphones. Commonly, the drummers have to listen on their headphones to something that is called “click sound,” that we already mentioned and explained above.

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