Hearing loss… July 31, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
I know, I know, I’m always going on about this, but hearing is such a precious resource it seems crazed to damage it.
Recently I was buying tickets for a gig and what came up but earphones as an additional extra. Sadly they were out of stock so I’ve had to source them elsewhere but I don’t go to gigs without them. I may have mentioned that the Robert Forster gig in Whelans was perfectly pitched, so much so that the pub after was probably louder.
This piece in the Irish Times by Kevin Courtney gets to the heart of the problem. You go to a gig. You return home, your ears are ringing, so far so normal for many (I was always fairly careful and often wore earplugs). But then…
…what if it’s still there the next day, and the next, and the next, and the rest of the year, often getting louder, sometimes getting softer, but never, ever completely disappearing? After a year or two of listening to this tuneless epic, the realisation dawns slowly that this maddening noise is never going to go away, so you may as well live with it, because the only alternative is to bang your head off the wall or poke your eardrums out with a drumstick.
Courtney himself has tinnitus and can’t quite place where and when it arrived (I can, Hermano, six or so years ago). For him it is pretty bad:
After years of reviewing rock gigs and albums, I now have a continuous ringing sound in my head, and if I was reviewing this particular tune, I’d give it zero stars. But what’s causing it? There’s no mini-Angus Young inside my ear, so how can I be hearing a sound that’s not there? Reassuringly, I’m not the only one hearing this annoying sound.
For others, including I guess myself, not quite so bad. It never goes away, but I have to consciously ‘listen’ out for it.
“It’s a condition in which people have a sound in their head which doesn’t have an external cause,” says Jean Scott, chairwoman of the Irish Tinnitus Association, a support group for people living with tinnitus.
“They would hear many different kinds of noises – buzzing, whistling, roaring, rumbling – and some people sense these as very loud and others have it in the back of their head. But it’s the people who have it very loud who are really distressed by it.”
But even if it’s not in the foreground of my perception it is pretty invasive. There’s no such thing any longer as a genuinely quiet place.
But I’m over 50, it’s the next tranche that is going to be an even bigger problem. I remember talking to a friend of mine in his early thirties, perhaps a decade ago who had worse tinnitus than I did. And there’ll be many more:
Brendan Conlon, the ENT (ear, nose and throat) consultant at St James’s Hospital in Dublin, says: “I think we’ll be looking at huge numbers with tinnitus over the next 10 or 15 years; the kids and adults going around with earphones stuck in their ears. It certainly isn’t something that’s going to go away.”
And the real problem is there’s no cure, it never goes away completely. Courtney ends on a note of hope, one can train oneself to stop it overwhelming one. Key thing is to minimise it, or not get it in the first place.