If you see me at a concert, you’re probably going to notice my obvious blue earplugs. I’ve been laughed at, called a “wuss” and always get asked why I wear them.
My ears have been an issue throughout my entire life. I got ear infections as a baby, chronic ear infections as a teenager and ETD and Tinnitus as an adult. Long story short, elevation changes and noise become a problem. And no matter what, there’s always some type of ringing in the background.
Tinnitus is a growing problem amongst musicians. Just last year, my favorite band, Pearl Jam, addressed the issue by giving away earplugs during their U.S. tour. Bassist Jeff Ament (along with many other notable names) also battles with the condition. Needless to say, it’s not any fun - especially when music is your world.
When I was younger, I never realized the importance of hearing protection. I would attend rock shows, play drums, crank my Discman (long live compact discs!), and do anything and everything I wanted without a second thought to any of it. Just like every other kid, I thought I was invincible. Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t know to address a problem until you are hit right smack in the face (or the ear) with it. If only I had known then what I know now...
Now I won’t leave the house for a concert or any other substantially loud event without a pair of earplugs. You can get them in all types and colors. Some earplugs are made specifically for musicians, some can be custom-made just for you, some are bright pink, and some can be bought in bulk and thrown away. I prefer Hearos Xtreme Protection earplugs (yes, I like them so much that I buy them in boxes of 100 pairs).
No matter which route you go, the most important thing is that you take care of your ears.
You’ll be glad you did.