I just read an article about the rise in hearing loss among youngsters coinciding with the rise of MP3 players. Rock concerts, of course are always a huge culprit, one to which I have subjected myself oh, so many times. I'm usually pretty mindful of future consequences of certain actions, but for some reason, I'm pretty juvenile when it comes to hearing.
I just fucking LOVE loud music!
Maybe I am a bit old, because there is a point where it becomes too loud, but I usually find this to be the case in small clubs with bands trying to mask their incompetence with extreme volume. They think they can show me they can rock my core by being loud, but I'm not stupid. I know that they stink, and I hate them even more for making my ears hurt. I really hate when certain sounds hit your ear drum like there's a bug in your ear that wont come out. *shudder* I get so angry when that happens!
But when it comes to a band that I love, geez...bring on the deafness. It's so idiotic and self defeating too. If I lose my hearing, I will no longer be able to listen to the music I love. But I just can't help myself. I need it to be loud enough that I can sing along and not be heard or hear myself. I think I tried wearing earplugs at a show I liked show once, but I couldn't keep them in for long because it didn't just reduce the sound, it altered it. It wasn't quieter, it was muffled like the music was just in my head. I hate that. It's like sinus blockage.
I have been to countless shows and seen so many opening acts where I should have worn earplugs because I didn't give a crap about what was on stage, and I still didn't wear them. I really need to make that a priority. I need to budget my hearing loss for more worthy assaults.
I went to a race track a couple on months ago and got to be a passenger in three race cars. They provided us with ear plugs, but again, I didn't wear them because I wanted the full volume of cars. So much awesome engine revving and tyre screeching!
I'm all about EXTREME HEARING!* I should wear a hearing aid to make things even louder!
But yeah, when I think about permanent hearing loss or tinnitus I do wonder if it is worth it. Watching my grandmother grappling with hearing loss in her last few years is nothing I want to have to deal with. It's obviously very isolating when people stop talking to you as much because you can't hear them. When I think about those delicate little hairs in my ear canal, hanging on for dear life while I abuse them to the point of dropping off forever, it does give some perspective. I'm very clingy to everything I own. Those are MY hearing hairs and I want them. As I sit in my workplace, hearing what I believe to be buzzing of lights, I gulp in terror that it's my own ears producing this sound. A taste of what's to come if I don't get my shit together.
As I had to repeat myself to a friend in a bar yesterday, she explained to me that she was a bit deaf from going to too many loud rock shows when she was younger. She says she now wears ear plugs to prevent further damage. I was delighted (not that she was deaf, but had input on this topic) as I had been writing this blog, and asked her if she regretted it. She said as the hearing loss wasn't too bad, so she didn't regret it. I'm glad to hear that!
A musician friend of mine has specially made ear plugs that are moulded to the shape of her ear canals. Those things were pretty stylin' and do well to promote hearing protection.
That article said that not only the volume but the amount of time exposed to high volumes is critical in its impact, so I just need to be more discerning as to which bands deserve my hearing. If I go see your band and I'm wearing earplugs, I've probably decided that they're not very great. Sorry.
I wonder if Bono will come to the shop he named himself after to get his first hearing aid. Bonavox, Dublin.
*I don't know if that remark translates with the level of hilarity I intended, but I think 'eXtreme' this and that is really stupid.