Sep 6, 2016

DJ drowns out the sound

Ryan is a Community Radio DJ for Penistone FM. As a blog writer, who also has tinnitus, he seemed the perfect person to ask to contribute to the Plug’em blogs. We hope you enjoy reading about his experience:


As far back as I can remember, I have always loved music. My earliest memory is listening to Bob Marley on my Dads oversized 1980s headphones. I felt an immediate affinity to the sounds, music was the escapism. As a young child, I discovered I could play keyboards, a bit of guitar maybe, I embraced the subject in school.



The Britpop 90s arrived, I joined bands. I joined Barnsley college on a music course, attended gigs with my band, attended gigs with mates’ bands. I even co-wrote a music fanzine (an early blog) for OCEAN COLOUR SCENE, meeting the band at sound checks and being ‘stage right’ next to those huge speakers. I became the huge gig-goer, forever the music enthusiast.


All those gigs, playing with live bands, stood stage right or in amongst the crowds; all those gigs; without ear plugs. As I reached my early twenties and started a ‘real job’, the office environment was a seismic shock to the system; so very quiet.


As I settled in to the ‘9-5’ lifestyle, I constantly still craved that music scene. I continued to attend those gigs, playing with live bands, stood stage right or in amongst the crowds; all those gigs; without ear plugs.  I ignored the slight ‘ringing’ the morning after, the odd ‘buzz’ when a room became silent.


You attend meetings, you sit across from colleagues in ‘open’ offices, I was struggling to hear what anyone was saying. I was sick of saying ‘pardon’. I was now getting ‘ringing’ when I laid down at night to sleep.


I can’t pin in on a particular ‘gig’ or a big ‘night out’ but at the age, it seemed I was having some sort of hearing issue. I visited the doctors on several occasions, it was always an ‘ear infection’.


Around this time, I’d been in the office job for 2 years, I was told I could have a free eye test. The optician asked If I would like a free hearing test as well. My incessant use of the word ‘pardon’ may have been a give-way.


I had the test and was immediately referred to hospital, ‘you’ve got ‘otosclerosis’ Mr Oxley’, remember that ear infection?’…. it turned out I had TINNITUS as well. ‘Otosclerosis’ is a hereditary condition and I’ve probably always had it. The TINNITUS was undoubtedly self-inflicted.


The ironic thing, as a lover of music, I sometimes struggle to hear it. The hearing aid actually helps to block out the TINNITUS but it doesn’t when you take it out at night. I can still HEAR the ‘buzz’ of those gigs, the ‘ringing’ that forever remains.


As a community radio DJ, I still live for those new sounds, new bands, and listen to NEW MUSIC. I even still write a music blog. As soon as I settle down on that pillow though, the ‘buzz’ and ‘ringing’ from those gigs, forever remains.


I will never stop going to gigs, but it is worth remembering to Plug’em.


Ryan B Oxley




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