International Noise Awareness Day!
On this day I wanted to just write a little bit about noise and how it affects (effects?) me and many other people. I have tinnitus and hyperacusis, which are both things that are not fun to have especially as a musician. I first noticed my tinnitus when I was 20/21 and thought it was maybe just ear wax or something. It wasn’t. It’s not terrible but sometimes it stops me sleeping and it’s all I can focus on. If I notice it I dwell on it, making it worse and then it’s hard to forget about. Honestly though, hyperacusis is worse. Some sounds are verging on unbearable. If someone beeps a horn next to me, if someone throws keys on the table, my dog squeaking his ball, certain notes on the piano...
I wear ear plugs when I’m hoovering, when I’m drying my hair, when I’m at the cinema, in pubs, at gigs. I know it was purely my own fault for never taking care of my ears and assuming that they would be grand but I also feel like it's something we are not remotely educated on. After visiting an ENT and finally being told that I had mild hearing loss, I was gutted. Unfortunately some people are more likely to get and notice tinnitus than others, especially if, like me, you also have OCD. So, I just wanted to write this to maybe convince one person to reconsider their ear health. For example, cinemas and concerts are above the decibel level that will damage your hearing, even busy bars without music, your hair dryer, your hoover. None of this was ever mentioned to me until the damage was already done. Who knew you should be wearing ear plugs for all these things?!
So if you want to avoid getting tinnitus or hyperacusis, both of which are incurable, here are two ear plug companies I’d recommend:
If you are concerned you may have damaged your hearing or want to do some research, here are some helpful links: