Tinnitus awareness increase is music to my ears!

Final part of our Tinnitus Awareness Week launch coverage sees South Yorkshire journalist spotlight how musicians and music-lovers alike are particularly prone to the life-changing problem.

Monday, 6th February 2017, 11:15 am
Updated Monday, 6th February 2017, 11:17 am
Tinnitus sufferers feel trapped by their ears in woozy world

Sheffield Newspapers scribe Chris Page's case study echoes those of such live music luminaries as Plan B to Jazzie B, Gary Numan to (illustrated here) Chris Martin.

"It would be borderline bad taste to say I'd never heard of tinnitus before my diagnosis," says the 57 year-old dad and grandfather.

"But the fact I genuinely hadn't, highlights not only my lack of knowledge about the ailment, but society's ignorance in general.

Plan B: "When I first developed tinnitus, I thought it was trains rushing by my house as I live near a railway line. It was really loud and an extremely high pitched ringing in my ears. I now have to wear special earplugs when I go to bed to help stop my ears from ringing. There’s no doubt it’s been caused by years of being on stage and subjected to very loud decibels of music. So if you’re listening to music a lot, then always wear earplugs. You’re not Superman and your hearing matters."

"Such collective cluelessness - kryptonite to British Tinnitus Association - calls loud and clear for increased awareness of a distressing and debilitating condition affecting around five million of us Brits.

"Initial prognosis by Dr Google - modern medic to the masses, online health self-detection blessing and curse alike - was confirmed by ENT specialists' second opinion after exhaustive hearing tests.

"Too many gigs too close to pumped up volume amps are likely to blame for background white noise," continued Chris, hours after attending Yorkshire high-decibel Green Day gig.

Jazzie B: "So many musicians have suffered from tinnitus or hearing loss because they weren’t educated about the dangers of listening to loud music and wearing earplugs. They should be a part of everyone’s essential Saturday night entertainment."

"Indiscernibly muffled by audible diversions of the day, this phantom soundtrack is most acute amid silence surrounding head hitting pillow.

"Half-sleep awakening is subject to same fuzzy soundscape, mercifully soon drowned out by dawn chorus and assorted such similar distractions to the ear.

"I'm among fortunate sufferers. While I can flippantly quip "at least it drowns out voices in my head," the complaint - complete with cacophony of clicking, hissing, ringing and roaring - is no laughing matter for most.

Gary Numan: "This is a message for people who go to clubs or listen to live music to look after your ears. It’s advice that I wish I’d had, as I wouldn’t be in a position I am now. I didn’t look after my ears and I’m in trouble. It’s getting serious to the point that I can’t mix my music properly any more so it’s majorly impacted on my career. If I’d just looked after them when I was younger then this would never have happened, so I very much regret it. I would often be at gigs, standing at the front next to the speakers, not wearing earplugs, thinking I’m cool and being manly. But that’s just rubbish, it’s stupid. So look after your hearing and wear earplugs."

"Sadly so many sufferers are driven to distraction, some tragically to suicide, so unbearably incessant is constant buzz blighting their lives.

"For that reason, and for them, Tinnitus Awareness Week (February 6-12) sees crusaders champion ‘Together for Tinnitus’ campaign to increase visibility, generate discussion and spotlight patient self-help support.

"To that end worried would-be victims are encouraged to access www.takeontinnitus.co.uk resources while helping educate GPs about available new guidelines.

Chris Martin: "Looking after your ears is unfortunately something you don't think about until there's a problem. I've had tinnitus for about ten years and since I started protecting my ears it hasn't got any worse (touch wood). But I wish I'd thought about it earlier. Now we always use moulded filter plugs, or in-ear monitors, to try and protect our ears."

"Together we can share hashtag #TAW2017, post branded poster and postcard selfies, make downloadable Twibbons our social media profiles and back coming Friday Thunderclap promotion.

"And, with annual half a million pounds required to continue BTA's sterling work, donations to www.justgiving.com/BTA are always most welcome.

"So listen up South Yorkshire ... let's all make some noise about tinnitus".