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Beware of Tinnitus - Drum Setup and Sound
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Beware of Tinnitus
Beware of Tinnitus
Learn more about this serious hearing condition
Published by gyutae
Beware of Tinnitus

Drummers these days may discount the importance of their ear drums and their precious hearing. But what they donít realize is that without their hearing, they wouldnít be able to effectively drum! So why donít drummers take better care of their ears? These same drummers polish their cymbals, clean their drums, and make sure their drums are perfect but neglect something that is so much more valuable and irreplaceable Ė their hearing. This article dives into tinnitus, a hearing condition that can negatively affect a drummer forever.

So what exactly is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a ringing in the ears without an external source. What this means is that the ringing is only in the head, something that would drive anyone insane. Tinnitus is not a disease, but rather a symptom currently without a definitive cure. This is why it is especially important to take preventative measures, which will be discussed later in the article.

What kinds of tinnitus are there?
There are two types of tinnitus Ė subjective and objective. Subjective tinnitus is a condition heard only in a patientís head. Objective tinnitus is a rare condition where a clinician can actually hear the ringing when a powerful microphone is put next to the patientís ear. The sounds are a result of trembling of certain muscles. Patients may hear sounds that differ in pitch and volume and have different experiences with tinnitus.

What causes tinnitus?
There are a variety of causes for tinnitus, the most common being a sudden loud noise or prolonged exposure to loud music through PA systems or personal stereos. Other common causes included working in a noisy industrial work environment, hearing loss, head injury, certain drugs like an aspirin overdose, temporomandibular and cervical spine disorders, suppurative otitis media, otosclerosis, ear wax, Meniereís disease, impacted wisdom teeth, hypertension and atherosclerosis, acoustic neuroma, palatal myoclonus, arterivenous fistulae and arterial bruits, severe anemia and renal failure, glomus jugulare tumors, Lyme disease, stress and depression, and thyroid disorders.

Many of these causes for tinnitus may be out of your control. The best thing you can do is to keep yourself in good general health and to keep yourself away from prolonged loud sounds.

How do I prevent tinnitus?
Tinnitus can easily be prevented with some basic safety precautions. In fact, for drummers, 75% of tinnitus cases could have been prevented with better care. Always wear ear plugs or isolation head phones when playing the drums, for practice and for playing with a band. Most of the earplugs current on the market are comfortable, cheap, and effective blocking out noise from 5dB to 30dB. When playing with a band, using in-ear monitors is also a great way to save your hearing without compromising sound quality and your ability to hear other band members. General health is also important in preventing tinnitus. Exercise frequently and avoid excessive drinking and smoking. This will significantly reduce your chances of getting tinnitus. Visit Musician's Friend for some good deals on isolations headphones and ear plugs.

I have tinnitus. What can I do?
There are no definitive cures for tinnitus that are proven to work. There are many products that claim to be the cure but most fail to deliver on their promises. Itís good to see a doctor and check out the cause of your tinnitus. Depending on the cause, there may be some treatment available to you. Besides this, itís very important to take care of your ears as tinnitus can get progressively worse. Also, some tinnitus is temporary and loud sounds and noisy environments must be avoided in order for your ears to heal properly.

Beware of tinnitus. Itís really a scary thing that young drummers donít even consider when theyíre in the basement pounding away at the drums. Your health and well-being are way more important than some concert or drum playing so make sure you wear ear protection and take care of your ears. You wonít regret it.

Shop for isolation headphones and ear plugs at Musician's Friend
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By rt55 on 10-23-2007, 11:24 AM
Re: Beware of Tinnitus

This is the proverbial 600 pound gorilla in the room. It seems that everyone is aware of it, but everyone is afraid to talk about it.

Quick background here: I'm 52 years old and have been playing since I was 11. I played as a full-time job until my mid-thirties, and still gig for cash about 50-60 times a year.

Like so many of us, I ignored hearing protection for most of my career. With ear plugs in, I just never felt as "connected" to my kit, and the attacks on the cymbals in particular. Now I find myself with a constant ring in both ears (different pitches!), and I often have trouble following conversations in a crowded room or noisy environment. My spouse is constantly huffing and rolling her eyes because I have to ask her to repeat what she just said, because I just can't hear her well. Maybe that's not such a bad thing....DOH!...didn't say that, did I?

I now use in-ear-monitors whenever I can on stage. I take a snake from the main board into a small mixer that sits next to me on stage, and I can mix whatever I need, at whatever volume feels good. When I pull them out, I am always shocked at the difference in loudness. No wonder I have hearing damage! These things are bloody loud up close.

To those who have not yet suffered hearing damage (and don't worry, if you haven't yet, you most likely will...sorry to be a downer, just sayin'...) take the sage advice of the Ol' Rocker: Just as you wouldn't enter a certain other activity without wrapping that rascal, don't put your hearing at risk by playing a loud gig or practicing without some sort of hearing protection. Musicians' earplugs that aren't bad at all can be had for under $15 shipped from places like Custom ear plugs, hearing protection & in ear monitors :: Westone, or at home you can use shooters muffs or industrial hearing protectors or even the cheap little foam plugs that you buy at the pharmacy.

Guys, I may be full of crap on some other topics, but trust me on this one: tinnitus and hearing loss are no fun.

No, I'm not your mom.

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By Lukeykookey on 08-27-2008, 05:10 AM
Re: Beware of Tinnitus

I actually have a set of proper ear defenders like they use on a worksite. I wear them more often than I dont. Although the sound isn't as good coming through them, I would rather like to be able to hear properly when I am older.

I can always take them off when I'm not alone, so I don't look so much like a builder gimp.
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By niels68 on 07-09-2010, 10:35 AM
Unhappy Re: Beware of Tinnitus

It's an underrated problem. I have it for a lot of years.
I will have to see a specialist but my hopes are gone.

What i noticed is that kids think it's tough to go out with mp-3 players and stuff like that with music so loud that at a distance of 50 yards you can hear what kind of music they listen to.
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