Why Do Drummers Wear Headphones When They Play Live Concerts?

Updated on December 19, 2019

Why Do Drummers Wear Headphones When They Play Live Concerts?

If you’ve ever been to a concert, there’s a good chance you’ve noticed the drummer wearing headphones while playing. But why do they do this? Let’s figure out.

It is quite common for entire bands to use in ear monitor systems to hear a clear mix of what’s going on. Concerts tend to be extremely loud – especially rock concerts and the volumous audience can make sound hard to hear. Therefore, it’s common to use in-ear monitors for drummers especially, as it helps them play in a live setting.

Drummers will generally have a hard time hearing their fellow bandmates as well as their own kick drum, but with the drummers in ear monitors, everything can be balanced so levels match their needs. This is the main purpose.

The drummer headphones also cancel out external noise from the audience, ensuring they can only hear what’s going on onstage.

What do drummers hear in their earpieces?

It’s a reasonable question. As previously explained, they most oftenly hear a mix of the entire band with everything balanced so they can hear what’s playing.

Another thing that makes a monitor for drummers crucial is click tracks. The majority of bands use click tracks live to enhance their performance. A click track works much like a metronome which helps the drummer maintain the tempo throughout the song. It’s basically just a click sound maintaining the beat. Every musician knows the struggle of dragging or speeding, but a click track helps to keep the music on time.

Obviously the click track has to be inside the drummers’ headphones as playing it through the main speakers would mean that the audience would be hearing a metronome… Not so nice.

Drums are an integral part of keeping the beat in a band hence the drummer is hearing the click track at most times. The click track matches the studio recording to keep them all in sync on the stage. It may sound easy, but when the volume is blasting at full, musicians tend to struggle to maintain the beats.

Do drummers wear earplugs?

Some drummers do wear earplugs. This serves as further protection against high-volume sound in live concerts. Whether it’s in-ears or headphones, the ensures the drummer’s ear remains intact.


So, why do drummers wear headphones? Because it helps them and the other instruments stay on time during concerts (notoriously hard for rock bands) and also it serves as protection for their ears. Whether it be headphones or in-ear monitors, this is most likely the reason why drummers wear headphones on-stage.