Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a worry to all gigging musicians, after many years of playing gigs I have a constant ringing in my ears, on investigation I realise I have tinnitus.  See below for an article on tinnitus and here's a link to a website that I have found most useful http://www.tinnitus.org.uk/ .  The best thing to do is to be aware of the dangers and make changes to the way you work before this happens to you, Here's a link to a quite comprehensive tinnitus E-book that I've found and currently working through (a review of this e-book "Tinnitus Miracle" can be found at the bottom of the page).
I've recently started using earplugs at rehearsals after I started to get sharp stabbing pains in my ears, the difference it has made is amazing, and has probably saved my hearing from further damage.

Here's a link to the ones I'm now using, they may not be the cheapest on the market, but I prefer them to any others I've tried. there are three sets of filters included so you can vary what you use according to noise levels
Be Well, Play Safe

Best Wishes


Tinnitus Miracle E-book Link (see bottom of this page for a review)

The word 'tinnitus' comes from the Latin word for 'ringing' and is the perception of sound in the absence of any corresponding external sound. This noise may be heard in one ear, in both ears or in the middle of the head or it may be difficult to pinpoint its exact location. The noise may be low, medium or high‑pitched. There may be a single noise or two or more components. The noise may be continuous or it may come and go.
What causes tinnitus?
Tinnitus is not a disease or an illness, it is a symptom generated within a person's own auditory pathways. Although it is often assumed that tinnitus occurs as a result of disease of the ears, this is often not the case. The precise cause of tinnitus is still not fully understood.

Who gets tinnitus?
Experiences of tinnitus are very common in all age groups, especially following exposure to loud noise; however, it is unusual for it to be a major problem. There is a widely held misconception that tinnitus is confined to the elderly, but various studies have shown that it can occur at any age, even in quite young children. Mild tinnitus is common ‑ about 10 per cent of the population have it all the time and, in up to one per cent of adults, this may affect the quality of their life.

What to do if you think you have tinnitus?
Tinnitus is rarely an indication of a serious disorder, but it is wise to see your doctor if you think you might have it. Should something treatable be causing it, you may be referred to a specialist.

Try not to worry

The noises may seem worse if you are anxious or stressed. When tinnitus starts, particularly if it's sudden, you may naturally be frightened and your concentration or your sleep may be disturbed. You may get angry and frustrated because no‑one else understands, or you may live alone and not have anyone to talk to about it ‑ that's where the BTA can help. You can contact the BTA office in Sheffield and speak to one of the helpline advisers who have years of experience talking to people with tinnitus, we can also put you in touch with a support group or contact if there is one in your area. Groups are run by people who are living with tinnitus ‑ personal contact and shared experience are very useful for many people with tinnitus.

Many people say they notice tinnitus less when they are doing something. Keeping your mind occupied helps (but don't overdo things). If the noises seem louder at quiet times, particularly during the night, it may help to have soothing music or some other environmental or natural sound quietly on in the background.

Practising relaxation and taking time out for yourself can also be a great help.

Join the British Tinnitus Association
The Association was founded 30 years ago by people with tinnitus. When you join you will receive free information leaflets and our quarterly magazine, Quiet.

Your membership will strengthen the voice of people with tinnitus. You will be helping us to work for better medical services, more research and to raise awareness about the risks from exposure to loud noise.

Source: http://www.tinnitus.org.uk/what-is-tinnitus accessed 1st March 2014


Ear Plugs

Here's an article I found from June 2005, most of the things mentioned here are still relevant today.

Q What kind of ear plugs should I get for wearing at gigs?
Published in SOS June 2005

 I've been coming home from gigs recently with my ears ringing and I'm worried about damaging my hearing. I think it's definitely time to invest in some kind of (preferably unobtrusive) ear protection, but what kind of ear plugs should I be looking at? I still want to be able to hear what's going on but keep my ears out of danger at the same time. I guess I can't wear earplugs when I'm actually performing, but at least I can reduce the chances of permanent damage when I'm watching the other bands. What's your advice?
Patrick Bailey

Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns replies: You are very wise to be concerned and to want to do something about it. A set of ear plugs needn't cost a lot and, if you play or go to loud gigs regularly, should be considered a necessity.

Hearing damage is directly related to both sound level and length of exposure. So, even if you don't want to wear ear plugs when you're performing, consider wearing them when you're rehearsing, as well as at gigs — it has been suggested that musicians often do more damage to their ears during the many hours of rehearsal than in the comparatively short time they spend on stage.

I would recommend investigating the options for good-quality ear plugs that reduce the overall level of sound but maintain an even spectral balance so that you can still hear everything clearly, although the overall level is reduced. Disposable solid-foam ear plugs won't give you this even balance and will adversely affect your enjoyment of the music. You can often find suitable generic ear plugs in the good musical instrument and equipment retailers, sold as 'musicians' earplugs', and available in different strengths (amounts of attenuation). Obviously, the greater the number of dBs of attenuation, the better overall protection they offer.

However, for a really comfortable and long-lasting solution, I would recommend making an appointment with a good audiologist who will be able to take ear moulds and make earplugs to your precise specifications that will be comfortable to wear for long periods and easy to clean and look after. Custom-made earplugs will cost more, but considering that hearing damage is irreversible, if you value your ears the cost should be irrelevant!

More information and advice is available from the RNID (www.rnid.org.uk). The web site of their ongoing 'Don't Lose The Music' campaign (www.dontlosethemusic.com) is aimed specifically at musicians, DJs, clubbers and concert-goers and is linked with two hearing protection specialists — Advanced Communication Solutions, or ACS for short (www.hearingprotection.co.uk), and Sensorcom (www.sensorcom.com) — who can produce custom-fitted ear plugs

Source: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun05/articles/qa0605_2.htm accessed 17th May 2013

Action Hearing Loss

Why does loud music damage hearing?

Listening to music at a loud volume for long periods of time, or on a regular basis will damage your hearing.

Ringing in your ears can be an early warning sign of damage. Continuing to listen to music at high levels could result in permanent hearing loss or tinnitus.

Worried you might be doing damage? Find out 5 ways to protect your hearing right now.

What’s a dangerous level for loud music?

Loudness of a sound is measured in decibels (dB). Experts agree that exposure to noise at or above 85 dB can damage hearing over time.

•An average nightclub has a noise level of 110dB.
•The maximum volume of some MP3 players is the same noise level as a pneumatic drill (90dB)
. Wow, that’s intense!
Sound intensity doubles with every 3dB. Sounds at 88dB are twice as intense as sounds at 85dB, although this won’t be obvious to the listener.

That means that for every 3dB increase in volume, damage can occur in half the time.

Respect the experts

“Hearing loss caused by noise is completely avoidable,” says Abby Davies, our Senior Audiologist

“Once your hearing is damaged by noise it can’t be repaired. The best thing to do is to protect your hearing now, so the damage doesn’t occur in the first place. This will reduce your chances of noise induced hearing loss in the future.”

How do you know you have hearing loss?

Your hearing loss won’t seem obvious right away. But over time, you may notice that it’s harder to hear things like a friend talking to you when the TV is on in the background, or find you have to put your mobile on speaker just to hear someone who talks quietly.

Need more info or worried you may already have hearing loss?

•Visit our Noise induced hearing loss section
•Read our Noise exposure factsheet
•Take our quick and free online hearing check
•Contact our Information Line on telephone: 0808 808 0123
•Speak to your GP

Source: http://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/loud-music/hearing-loss-from-loud-music.aspx accessed 17th May 2013

Tinnitus Treatment