This week, 4-10 February, is Tinnitus Awareness week. Tinnitus – which is usually characterised by a high whining or ringing noise in one or both ears – is a condition that affects many of us drummers; years of exposure to loud gigs and the crash of our own cymbals can take its toll, and Oasis' Noel Gallagher is the latest high-profile musician to reveal that he suffers from the condition.
According to Vivienne Michael of Deafness Research UK, "Years of loud concerts take their toll on the ears of performers and the listening public alike. It doesn't have to be this way. Limiting exposure to noise gives your hearing recovery time, while earplugs are cheap, freely available and enable you to 'shout it out loud' while preserving your hearing."
For drummers, especially when it comes to acoustic kits, this is a challenge as we can't simply turn our instrument down. So this means good hearing protection. The best hearing protection will filter noise levels while not distorting the sound, enabling you to enjoy and hear the music clearly. We recommend spending as much as you can on protecting the most valuable instruments you have, your ears.
To find out more on the latest research into tinnitus, www.deafnessresearch.org.uk has a wealth of hearing health information. You can also call their advisory service on Freephone 0808 808 2222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The British Tinnitus Association can also provide information and help.