1. Welcome to TalkBass 2014! If you're new here, we just went through a major site upgrade. Please post all concerns and bugs to the Forum Usage Issues forum. We will be monitoring that forum. Thank you for all of your feedback.

    The TB Android app is working, you may need to uninstall/reinstall. The iPhone app is now updated and should work after you upgrade. TalkBass is responsive to any screen size, so we recommend using your mobile browser for full functionality.

    Please read the TalkBass 2014 FAQ for lots of great info on the new software.

Musicians and tinnitus. Ear protection

Discussion in 'Ask Justin Meldal-Johnsen' started by remigiozampa, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. remigiozampa

    remigiozampa

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Justin (and everyone!) i don´t want to abuse your time in these days. You must be super busy with the flood of your studio. I hope the things are resolved soon... but i would be very grateful if you can give me any information about this thing.

    My question is about monitoring systems and ear protection during a tour and music performance in general.
    Unfortunately for me i´m affected by tinnitus since last month ;-( and i´m ****ed. It´s painful... but despite of this, i can feel lucky because it´s not very strong. I have close friends who are very ****ed by this illness.

    I know that some of musicians that worked with you in the last years are affected by this illness (Trent Reznor or Will I. Am.) and I´m sure that you know many others. Do you have any idea about how they use their monitoring system ("in ears", i guess) in order to protect their ears in loud stages? I know that the use of headphones at certain levels it´s dangerous to the ear, so i´m surprised by the fact of musicians affected by tinnitus using "in ears".

    By the way, what are your weapons to fight against hearing damage? Take care about this my friend...

    Any thought will be welcomed

    Sorry for my bad English


    Thanks Justin. Good luck with the studio
  2. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2005
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't know anything about this. So sorry you have been afflicted by this. Earplugs are as fancy as I get, and using them sometimes is really pleasant. Overall I avoid them, though. Probably to my detriment.
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Likes Received:
    83
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sorry you are affected so bad by tinnitus, dude. Hope it eases up on you eventually. I am definitely in favor of playing at volumes that won't give you tinnitus. I'm starting to believe, however, that there are some people predisposed to getting tinnitus and other forms of hearing loss, though I would never recommend taking the chance. But I attended a buttload of insanely loud concerts and never wore earplugs, worked in a factory where the noise level exceeded acceptable levels, I've stood next to some very loud drummers and guitarists and didn't wear earplugs (though I did sometimes and hated it), and I still like to listen to loud music. If I have any hearing loss at all, it's minimal. Might have lost some of my highest highs at the most.

    So now I wonder if there aren't certain people who can take more eardrum abuse than others. Some people can take a hard punch to the gut, some people can break bricks with their hands, some people can hang by hooks stuck into their backs, and in the same way, I believe some people can withstand loud noises better than others.

    But I'm 50 now and not dumb enough to believe that it can last forever, so I'm way more cautious now. I still don't wear earplugs unless it's at a level that I know is pressing my luck, but for the most part, I let the PA do the heavy lifting, and I play quietly enough onstage now that I can use a 25w B-15 on most of my gigs.

    Also, I don't think in ears do a thing to prevent you from getting hearing damage that you can't do with monitors. They're plenty capable of delivering SPL's that can give you tinnitus or deafness.

    Anyway, I'm not recommending that folks take the chances that I did, but I really do believe that some have more tolerance for it than others.
  4. Mister_argentum

    Mister_argentum Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi everybody,

    I'm 26, I've been playing since I was 13 and I started wearing earplugs 6 years ago. Unfortunately we all figure out how ear damage is important after our first big acoustic trauma.

    I have tinnutus, not very bad but I think is bad enough.

    I advise you to not use in ear monitors, because the presence of a constant noise (like a drum kick) can cause tinnitus as well.

    Best thing to do is to have a reasonable volume at stage (let the PA do the Job for the audience) and wear custom earplugs.

    Here in Europe the pianissimo -25db are quite popular and I can recommend them to everybody, the sound is actually the same (linear reduction) but 25db quieter.

    Best weapon is prevention, wear the earplugs any time you play.

    There is no replacement to your ears and there is no best piece of gear than them.

    Cheers,

    Mauro
  5. remigiozampa

    remigiozampa

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi guys

    Thanks for your responses. I use earplugs on stage and are fine... but my surprise comes with the fact of seeing a bunch of musicians affected by tinnitus using "in ears". In fact my hearing damage is caused by the abuse of headphones more than any other thing, i guess.
    I´m afraid of this because i´m producer and i depend of my ears to put food on the table...

    Best

    I.
  6. plasson

    plasson

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2005
    Likes Received:
    0
    the use of in-ears can be useful in preventing ear loss, since you can control the volume going through your ears, while stopping any bleeding coming from the stage or amps thanks to the earplugs (in-ears are literally plugged into a hole left open in custom molded earplugs).

    I did long and deep researches on the matter, and found out that hearing loss (and any earing-related desease) is a much more dangerous enemy than we all think.
    you've got to consider the fact that earing loss is a function of time and sound pressure level: give a look at these graphs Hearing Conservation

    JimmyM, what you say about people being predisposed to earing damage is true to some extent (my mother has a slight tinnitus, and she's definitely is not the hard-rock type :D. her mother before her suffered from earing loss too), but unfortunately the Time/SPL graph I showed you is true for everyone: at 120dB there's a pain threshold; at 100dB, after 15 minutes, damage arises.

    I really wish music pros would try and sensibilize people on the subject, but unfortunately there's not much education on the matter.

    hope that helped a bit.
  7. remigiozampa

    remigiozampa

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you very much plasson ;)

    I appreciate very much your thoughts. I´ll go to research.

    There is a coincidence: My mother also suffers tinnitus... and of course she is not rocking at loud stages :D
  8. brad houser

    brad houser

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Likes Received:
    0
    gingko has helped my tinnitus. it increases blood flow to the head. also, it improves my mood. drinking lots of water and staying hydrated seems to help. too much coffee/ caffeine seems to aggravate it.
  9. skychief

    skychief Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wise move, Jimmy. ^ ^ ^ ^

    I was 52 when i got slammed with the big T bomb. The onset can occur any time, without warning. My hearing was near-perfect prior to that.

    Imagine trying to sleep with an 2840Hz tone in your left ear, and 3420Hz tone in your right. (i think its an "F dim" chord).. And those tones WONT GO AWAY.

    Lost my pilot's license because i cant pass the FAA medical exam with my hearing loss.

    The best thing to do is minimizing exposure to loud noises/music with some form of hearing protection .
  10. lowendfriend

    lowendfriend Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    Likes Received:
    0
    I recommend custom molded earplugs with attenuation disks. I use the 15dB disk.

    I can hear remarkably well all things considered with them in. I wear them to any gig that I'd use my 700RB-II with.

    What is a Custom Earpiece? | Westone
  11. nsh50a

    nsh50a Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2004
    Likes Received:
    0
    Agree with lowendfriend. The key to good IEM is that they need to completely seal (or at least have adjustable attenuation. If you can keep external noise out, you can now set whatever level of intstrumentation/vocals you need. That said, nothing is keeping players from turning the volume to 11 and wrecking their ears even more. Another common killer is continually turning up. Ears naturally attenuate to loud sound and people feel the need to gradually turn up the volume to compensate. This tendancy causes people to end a session/set with much higher volumes than they probably would have been comfortable at the start. Its best to set it and forget it during each use do to this. The unfortunate part is that once tinnitus or hearing loss occurs, there is little that can be done to turn the other direction. It is a result in PERMANENT damage to the inner-ear hair sensory neurons. Once they are gone, the brain is expecting some signal but none is being sent b/c its toast. It's therefor a brain problem that tries to fill in the missing sensory data with white noise which is the high-pitched ringing or roaring that you have
  12. GreggBummer

    GreggBummer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Likes Received:
    3
    I've talked about his in other threads about hearing protection. You only have one set of ears, and there is no real cure for hearing loss. For most people, once it's gone, it's gone forever.

    To the OP: If you are having any kind of hearing problems, you should seek medical attention. Preferably a hearing specialist. If you want to be playing music at my age, or ever better at JimmyM's ripe old age, than you need to get your issues addressed by a doctor and develop a plan to protect your hearing.

    For those of you who don't have the bank to buy yourself a real nice (and expensive) set of molded in-ears... I suggest these:

    Vater Earplugs: Shop Accessories & Other Musical Instruments | Musician's Friend

    I keep a few sets of them around. One in my instrument case, a set in my tool box, and one in the car, etc.

    I don't wear them every time I play... but I do wear them most of the time. I always wear them at shows.

    Hope this helps.

    G
  13. VitalSigns

    VitalSigns

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Likes Received:
    0
    Uhmm.. I'm 16. Should I be worried about this?
  14. GreggBummer

    GreggBummer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Likes Received:
    3
    You shouldn't worry if you protect your hearing. If (like I did at 16) play in a heavy metal band where everyone is competing to win the volume war... then you should worry a little more.

    I have some hearing issues. Some of it stems from playing in bands, listening to loud music in the car, and so on. I am also an Iraq veteran and I lost some hearing there.

    Get some ear plugs. When you go to a concert, put your plugs in and have a good time. If your band is trying to melt the paint off the ceiling with volume, put your plugs in and have a good time. If you are going to help Dad cut wood in the yard with a chainsaw, put your plugs in.
  15. kennedy7

    kennedy7

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    Likes Received:
    0
    I did not play in any bands for 4 years but unfortunately I agreed to join a U2 cover band in 2013 where I had to use In-Ear Monitors. I only played 1-4 gigs a month for 8 months and did my best to keep cymbals out of my mix and keep the sound level as low as possible. But despite my precautions I now have chronic loud Tinnitus. I haven't played a note since the band broke up on Aug. 2. I've spend more than I made in the band over Christmas break to see a Tinnitus specialist and get expensive hearing devices called Starkey Xino Tinnitus hearing aids that are supposed to lower my ringing level by blending white noise with my ringing. They supposedly help some people after wearing them every day for 3-4 months but so far it has done nothing for me. It is a living hell that I would not wish on anyone and I've already had to send the devices back after they stopped working after 2 weeks. I don't know if this "Tinnitus Retraining Therapy" works but I know I will never wear headphones or play in a band again. I used foam earplugs for most of the 33 years that I played in bands on and off and never had chronic Tinnitus. The doctor said I have very slight high frequency hearing loss and chronic Tinnitus. I will probably have this constant ringing in my ears for the rest of my life because I used In-Ear Monitors for 8 months. Please do not use them, they are not safe. Sorry to bum people out but hopefully people will learn from my experience. Do not use In-Ear Monitors, they CAUSE Tinnitus!
  16. kennedy7

    kennedy7

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    Likes Received:
    0
    I did not play in any bands for 4 years but unfortunately I agreed to join a U2 cover band in 2013 where I had to use In-Ear Monitors. I only played 1-4 gigs a month for 8 months and did my best to keep cymbals out of my mix and keep the sound level as low as possible. But despite my precautions I may have had to turn up too loud just to hear my bass in a loud sound mix sometimes. I always protected my ears by not blasting headphones or my car stereo in normal life. I always wore foam ear plugs to concerts and when I played live. Despite doing my best to protect my ears I now have chronic loud Tinnitus from In-Ear Monitors.

    I haven't played a note since the band broke up on Aug. 2. I've spend more than I made in the band over Christmas break to see a "Tinnitus specialist" and got expensive devices called Starkey Xino Tinnitus hearing aids that are supposed to lower my ringing level by blending white noise with my Tinnitus. They supposedly help some people after wearing them every day for 3-4 months but so far it has done nothing for me except mask the ringing a little. I've already had to send the devices back after they stopped working after 2 weeks. I don't know if this "Tinnitus Retraining Therapy" works but I know I will never wear headphones, go to a concert, or play in a band again. I now live in fear of loud sounds.

    I used foam earplugs for most of the 33 years that I played in bands on and off and never had chronic Tinnitus. The doctor said I have very slight high frequency hearing loss, basically very good hearing, but now I have chronic Tinnitus. I will probably have this constant ringing in my ears for the rest of my life because I used In-Ear Monitors for 8 months. Sorry to bum people out but hopefully people will learn from my experience. Please do not use In-Ear Monitors, they are not safe, they CAUSE Tinnitus!
  17. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    Likes Received:
    2
    I'm 45 now. I first acquired tinnitus at around age 16 or 17, when I went to see Ozzy Osbourne's "Bark At The Moon" show in NYC. It was my first concert and I got to leave with a reminder of it for the rest of my life. :)
    I didn't know about tinnitus or wearing earplugs then.

    From the age of 19 I became an avid motorcycle rider. I crossed the U.S. 4 times and rode from California to Alaska on 1 (amazing) trip. All of the road noise from going at high speeds aggravated my tinnitus.

    Playing in bands, seeing live shows, etc. has further aggravated it to where now I have a VERY loud ringing, especially in my right ear and ringing in my left ear as well..
    However, I suffer no hearing loss (according to my hearing tests). I just have the constant ringing in my ears.
    To be honest, I just don't think about it. It's rarely an issue. It sucks, and I wish it wasn't so, but on a conscious level, it doesn't bother me.

    I've often wondered, however, if it affects me on an subconscious level. Meaning, my world is never silent. When I'm in a quiet room, asleep, meditating etc, my brain and body are constantly subjected to this noise. Does it affect my sleep? Is this why I wake up feeling tired most times?

    I wonder.
  18. waynobass

    waynobass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Likes Received:
    2
    A fan or a white-noise machine might help. I sleep with the sound of a fan providing a soft constant background sound.
  19. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    Likes Received:
    2
    Thanks for the tip.

    I actually don't have an issue or need to cancel out my tinnitus based noise. I rarely think about it and it doesn't trouble me sleeping.

    I was more wondering out loud what it may do to us on the whole to never be able to have complete quiet. I know that that is rare in an industrialized world, living in the city, but theoretically speaking, does it have an affect on us?

    The idea of using (white) noise to cancel out (tinnitus) noise goes against what my comment is asking/proposing.

    Any medical opinions that can chime in on this?
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Likes Received:
    83
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I think a lot of folks get a false sense of security from IEM's, but the fact is when the music is charging and making you feel all awesome, it's only natural to want the volume louder, especially as the show progresses. So you turn up your IEM's, and that's when the damage can start. And God forbid you get a blast of feedback in them. I don't know that it HAS to be that way, but trust me...your situation is not unique to IEM wearers. I hope you're able to deal with it eventually, bro. It can't be easy. I also hope you return to playing one day. With proper ear protection, it can still be awesome and fun, and safe.

Share This Page