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PROTECT YOUR EARS

 

As a drummer you must read this and take it to heart. The advice here will save your musical life.

 

EAR DAMAGE IS CUMULATIVE

What you do to your ears today will BE ADDED to the damage tomorrow. When you are young you think nothing of this but the damage is accruing.

 

EAR DAMAGE IS PERMANENT

There is no cure. So take it very seriously.

My dad has had tinnitus in his right ear for twenty years. In the beginning tinnitus always goes away after a day and so we are fooled into thinking this is going to be the case forever; that our ears ‘heal’ like a skin sore. This is not so. If you get tinnitus then you are in trouble and need to take immediate and drastic action! The very next time the buzz may be permanent!

 

EAR DAMAGE DOES NOT ALWAYS HURT

Sometimes there is pain and we leave the noisy area but often there is no pain. The damage is just as bad either way.

 

EVERYONE’S EARS ARE AT RISK.

Every now and then you meet a person who thinks they are a super human. They say: ‘loud sounds don’t affect me.’ You wait, in twenty years time they will be saying: ‘what? Sorry? Could you please speak up?’

Earphones are just as damaging. Decibels are measured where they are heard not made. So if it is loud in your ear then it is loud, regardless of whether the speaker is an 18-inch cone or a 3mm earphone diaphragm.

 

FOR US DRUMMERS.

The solution is obviously earplugs. But they are a bother. They cut out vital frequencies and they diminish our ability to hear our volume levels accurately and so control our dynamics. They get dirty or lost easily too.

I have many pairs in various locations. I don't wear them during the set at a gig (as often as I should) but I shove them in as soon as we finish and any other time there is loud music. I also wear them during rehearsals and I avoid ridiculously loud nightclubs. I force myself to play my car and room studio at reasonable levels and, where possible I practice drums on a pad or electric kit rather than an acoustic kit.

 

FURTHER THOUGHTS…

 

It is true. Take the earplugs out and its shocking how loud things are. Ears actually protect themselves by shutting down the loudness but that doesn't stop the damage.

It’s the boiling frog syndrome. Put a frog in a pot of hot water and it will immediately jump out. Put a frog in cool water and then slowly heat it up and the frog will stay and boil to death.

 

J

THE SOLUTION?
 
Here are some examples of ear protection available. Foam plugs are cheap and relatively comfortable but they distort sound so that your cymbals will sound crummy to you. The best ear plugs are designed to lower the decibels across a broad range of frequencies so that volume is lower but accurate. The moulded earplugs can be expensive and require a visit to a doctor to be custom fitted. The ear muffs (cans) are very effective but can look stupid and make head banging impossible. Do a bit of research before buying and beware of purchasing ear plugs designed for swimming use; these are designed to exclude water not sound. Speak to other drummers or your local drum store.

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