NYC Electro
28Jan/111

Ear Wars: Tinnitus – Whats all that ringing?

This week, WNYC's Should Check show, they have been talking about the ears. Talking about headphone use, the history of headphones, tinnitus, and the sounds your ear produces. Those shows are embedded after the jump.

As DJ's, we need to really evaluate the issue of tinnitus, or the ringing in your ears. It can lead to some or complete hearing loss and is a very serious subject. They say its irreversible too. So how do we stop or slow this problem? The music is so loud at the club, what can we do? Lets find out...

Tinnitus: Part 3: A Ringing in the Ears


Below are the WNYC shows about the subject in order (the TInnitus one will be repeated).

Part 1: One Nation, Under Headphones

Part 2: A History of Earphones

Part 3: A Ringing in the Ears

Part 4: The Ear Strikes Back

So what can we do?
As stated before, hearing loss is permanent. Its a fact that we all have to face. Not just DJs either. Anyone that goes to concerts, works in loud areas, or even listens to the headphones too loud is subject to this problem. Our ears are sensitive and we need to protect them. But how?

Noise Isolating Monitors:
DJ Tech Tools did a good wrap-up on this subject. Basically, the point is, if you can use these monitors at home at low levels, then it should be the exact same at the club. However, these in ear monitors are very expensive, around $500 for a good set, but its a small price to pay to save your ears. This is probably the best way to save your hearing while DJing. Most big name pro musicians use this solution on stage. I currently do not use these, but I am really thinking about it hard.

Ear Plugs
When you are at a show, of any kind, plug your ears! Use a napkin if you forget your plugs. That helps a lot. You can get custom made ear plugs/regular ones from the basic that block almost all noise, to the fancy ones that allow certain frequencies in. The price range is drastic, from $10 to $200+, so its up to you. Here is a link to a store EarPlug Store. There are plenty of other stores out there too. Also, there are some home made solutions that you can try too. Watch the video below, this guy does a modified version for very cheap, its the headphone version:

Colin's Lab: Custom Fit Earbuds

Keep your monitors and headphones low:
If you do not like the in ear monitor system or you can't afford it right now, then use common sense. Turn it down in the booth. Yes, some clubs/bars will be loud no matter what, but thats where the cheaper ear plugs come in handy. If you do have a nice setup and booth monitors, keep them at a low level. If you do, then you will be able to keep your headphones low too. If you have nice clear headphones, then you can keep them relatively low. I have the Xone-53s and they are great/super clear. Check out my video review.

Conclusion:
To save your hearing, monitors, plugs, or keeping the music low is about the only options we have. You could quit DJing at clubs... but where is the fun in that? Also, please do not fool yourself into thinking that it will not happen to you. If you listen to music too loudly, it will. Please protect your ears, you only got two.

p.s. If you wanna be scared strait, watch "Its All Gone, Pete Tong"
p.p.s. DJ TechTools did a similar article explaining how the ear works and has a couple interviews with experts on the subject.

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  1. I’m at my gig tonight and I am using my in-ear headphones to block noise while I am not DJing. It’s helping a lot. Really need less conspicuous plugs.


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