Chris Allan is a Plug’em Ambassador. He’s really kindly written this blog about his experience of tinnitus and the importance of protecting hearing.
I’ve been a music lover for as long as I can remember. Brought up on rock and blues from the 70’s and 80’s and eventually taking up drums aged 9.
I had no idea something I loved so much could be so devastating for me.
I had 4 years of drum lessons while at school and not one person told me to protect me ears. The thought didn’t even cross my mind. I started playing live at the age of 15 and around the same time spent most of my free time going to local gigs, getting the train to London with my friends to see some bigger bands or tagging along with my parents to see the bands I grew up with play their greatest hits tours. Each night you would come out of the gig, sweaty and buzzing with a ringing in your ears. It was the mark of good night. The trophy from the event. And if you woke up and it was still there it must have been “extra good”. The worst one I can remember for it was Def Leppard at Portsmouth Guildhall in 2002. Man, that was so loud. But I thought it was cool.
I thought nothing of this ringing as it would always go away.
I can’t put my finger on the point that it didn’t stop. It just kind of stayed and now it’s been there for as long as I can remember. I can’t remember not having the ringing. I was playing drums and listening to music at such a heavy pace that when I did stop to think it was just there. Now I’m sat here at 28 years old and I can’t remember a time that my ears didn’t ring.
I’ve managed to learn to live with Tinnitus now. There have been some hard times though, when stressed or tired, that it gets louder and irritating. It makes me anxious and agitated, to the point where my family suffer but without being able to understand my discomfort.
Now, silence is the loudest thing I’ve ever heard. Silence is no longer eerie and peaceful. It’s loud, busy and my brain can never shut down. I used to worry about being “uncool” getting my ear plugs out at a gig but I’d give anything for that amazing sense of quiet again.
Don’t ruin the only chance you have to keep that amazing sensation. You only have one chance with your hearing. Wherever you go, whether watching or playing music, make sure you Plug’em.