What’s the Buzz?

Buzzing, ringing, hissing, clicking – these are the signature calling cards of Tinnitus, a condition that affects nearly 50 million individuals in the US alone. Though not defined as a disease, Tinnitus is actually a reaction in the brain to damage within the ears. When this damage occurs, the tiny hairs inside your ears “leak” signals to the brain, which results in the sensation of hearing phantom buzzing or ringing.

Noise-induced hearing loss is often accompanied by symptoms of tinnitus and unfortunately, is all too common among musicians. This is due in part to a one-two punch of frequency and duration of exposure to unsafe noise levels that artists frequently endure.

Tinnitus is an unfortunate reality for many musicians and audio professionals, affecting some of the biggest names in the business. Neil Young, will.i.am and Coldplay’s Chris Martin have all admitted their own struggles with Tinnitus. Martin has opened up about his struggles with the affliction, working with the British Tinnitus Association as an ambassador for Tinnitus Awareness.

“I’ve had Tinnitus for about ten years, and since I started protecting my ears it hasn’t got any worse…” Martin told Britain’s The Mirror.

For sufferers of Tinnitus, the burden doesn’t always stop at ringing or buzzing in the ears. Many individuals also experience depression, sleep disturbances headaches and anxiety as they try to cope with their condition.

While there is currently no cure for Tinnitus, there are two key measures that can be taken to prevent its onset and minimize symptoms.

  • Volume control plays a huge part in minimizing damage to the inner ear. Listening to music at a safe level will allow for safer, longer listening periods.
  • Protective devices can be worn to protect the ears from the damaging effects of long, loud listening periods. Devices like in-ear monitors in conjunction with a REV33 and ear-plugs are instrumental in protecting your ears from the potential onset of temporary Tinnitus symptoms.

For musicians, the ears are the heartbeat of their craft. When hearing is compromised due to the onset of temporary Tinnitus symptoms, it can result in a steady decline in an artist’s ability to create and perform their art and in severe cases, end a career. The key to keeping ears free from symptoms of temporary Tinnitus is to stop the damage before it happens. Always use proper protection whenever loud or long listening periods are involved – your ears are worth it.