Chances are your mother warned you about loud music. I know mine did… and while I am not deaf I do suffer from the constant ringing of tinnitus. I have no experienced a moment of silence in years and probably never will again. There is always a radio, TV or YouTube video playing while I am awake and I can’t fall asleep without some sort of noise on to drown out the ringing.
I spent my teen years in bars playing in bands that were always louder than needed and then a dozen years on the road without ever wearing ear plugs. Stupid, very stupid. 5 years ago I thought I escaped without any permanent damage but then the ringing began. I thought it was a temporary issue and tried to forget about it. The longer it went on the crazier it made me. Doctors visits lead to specialists who, in the end, had no better advice than that given to me as a child – avoid the loud music.
My next job involved an arena band doing a 2 month club tour. I could avoid the noise in the arenas but there was nowhere to hide in a club. A friend of mine recommended Earlove earplugs and I picked some up. As a teen I had the “If It’s Too Loud Then You’re Too Old” and now it was official – at 35 I was too old. It took me days to adapt to having them in and weeks to master pulling one out in time to hear what was going over the two-way.
I used to spend any free time reading in a quiet room, away from the noise and chaos that was my day job. I now spent that precious time with a hotel radio on to drown out the ringing. There was no escaping the constant, high pitched tone in my head, the best I could hope for is to mask it enough to be able to focus on forgetting about the ringing.
Before the tinnitus I had never really considered life off the road. After a few months of dealing with it I decided it may be time to draw up an exit plan and consider a different challenge.