If you like it then you should have put an ear plug in it…
Music. It’s great isn’t it?
For me it’s simply the best thing in the world and I can honestly say I can’t remember when I last went a full day without listening to at least a handful ‘POP BANGERZ’.
I’m going to take a punt and suggest you’re probably the same. If you’re reading a blog that is primarily full of advice for musicians/bands then I’ve no doubt you have a bit of a penchant for ditties of a certain ilk.
So imagine if it was taken away through no fault of your own. That’d be utterly rubbish – I think we can all agree with that? But what if it was taken away because you didn’t look after yourself? That’d definitely be worse.
I’m writing this as last night I attended my second arena rock concert over the course of three days and upon retiring for the evening my ears were ringing harder than the bells of Gretna Green on Valentines Day. Being the forgetful, simple man I am; it had completely slipped my mind to take my earplugs with me.
I lay there thinking of the frequencies I may never hear again, about how I’d make an utterly rubbish dog, about how if I kept forgetting my earplugs then eventually I’d damage my hearing so much that Mariah Carey would be able to sing higher than I could actually hear.
Now usually the ‘style’ of this blog (if you’ll humour me into believing you can call it that) is one of,
‘Here are the facts, do what you will with them. If you choose to ignore them, that’s your prerogative but I’m only telling you “how it is” on the industry side of this business’.
It’s a style that appears to work as a lot of you have said some very lovely things about these grammatically suspect ramblings in the past (saying that though, I should point out someone did leave a comment calling me a “Pompous Ass” last week. I’m going to track down the ISP and see if its come from my sister’s iPad), but this time I’m changing my tone…
Basically this is a plea from me to you. I’ve probably never met you and for all I know you could be an utterly abhorrent human being (I’m sure you’re not) but regardless, I’m still asking you with genuine sincerity to invest in a pair of ear plugs and protect something that we all take for granted; the ability to hear.
I was criminally late to this; I bought these little wonders of joy back at the beginning of 2011 and I wholeheartedly wish I’d bought them a decade ago…
A few months before I’d been to an all day gig in Liverpool where I stood and watched live music for just shy of eight hours. The day climaxed in a set by the rather noisy but equally brilliant Cerebral Ballzy and as thoroughly enjoyable as the day had been, the ringing in my ears lasted for the following FORTY EIGHT HOURS. I realized then that it was time to sort myself out.
Now, there appears to be two camps of thought when it comes to earplugs;
The ‘Putting It Off-Ers’
The ‘Please Stop Putting It Off-Ers’.
There is no denying the importance of protecting your hearing (show me a soul who is “all for” going deaf and I’ll show you a man who lives next door to Jedward’s rehearsal space) but it’s the initial spark of motivation that’s needed.
Once you’ve taken the plunge and invested in a pair then you’ll jump into the second camp quicker than that lovely red haired fellow who won the gold for team GB at London 2012.
Now, this isn’t a blog to go and tell you where to find them or what to spend because quite simply I’m no expert in this field. For me it was a friend who worked for an AV company who recommended a local ear doctor (Otolaryngologist) who took a mold of my lugholes and had some rather fancy ones made just for me.
At £170 they were pretty pricy but I’m not suggesting you need to spend that much at all (a quick poll on Twitter tells me people spend anything from £20 – £100 on versions they all swear by). I took the plunge with the bespoke option as I’d tried some cheap generic ones in the past and they were completely useless for me. However, please let the record show that I do have an odd shaped head so I doubt the innards of my ears are playing by the normal aesthetic rules either.
As I’m a Yorkshireman, the idea of forking out just shy of £200 on something I’m pretty confident I’m going to lose before my 30th birthday appealed to me as much as buddying up with Eric Pickles during a Bikram Yoga session. During my bellyaching about my inherent frugality, a friend who is A&R by trade said (rather poignantly, i should add, for a man who I’ve seen commit some basic hygiene atrocities during various music festivals over the years) “They’ll be worth every penny if it means you get to hear your daughter say “I do” on her wedding day”.
A quick note on the common misconception that it ‘ruins’ the sound: Again, I stress the “I’m no expert” bit as mentioned above but the ones I’ve got simply reduce the sound by around 15 decibels and the clarity is astonishing.
I hope this didn’t come across as preachy but if it did then this is officially the end of today’s sermon. If just one of you decides to go and buy a pair of earplugs now then I’ve done my job.
I only do this because I love you, you know.
Note: I wrote this back in 2013 and as I write this addendum now (2016) I have actually since developed tinnitus (thankfully quite mildly). Although I started wearing earplugs at gigs, I hadn’t started wearing them to clubs and was still listening to music via my earphones apparently with too much gusto. If you’re still on the fence about it, just simply don’t be. I’m never going to hear silence again. The moment you realise that is incredibly jarring.