Advice for Musicians

Discussion in 'Dr. Stephen Nagler (Archived Answers)' started by Vapor Trail, Dec 7, 2014.

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    1. Vapor Trail

      Vapor Trail Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      I've played drums for ~ 30 years. About 6 months ago I walked away from a gig with tinnitus that has yet to abate. I suspect it's permanent.

      Since then I've been very paranoid about playing the drums, and 100% now use ear protection. I have custom molded musician ear plugs (Etymotic), custom mold solid plugs and I've tried foam. When playing at home I use both the musician plugs and isolation headphones in tandem.

      Drums are very loud. My playing peaks ~115 dBA (a-weighting) and hovers in the mid to upper 90's.

      Two questions:

      1. Am I putting myself at any risk of further ear damage and worsening tinnitus by playing the drums using protection as listed?

      2. Is the risk of noise-induced hearing loss (as regulated by OHSA/NIOSH) directly proportional to risk of worsening tinnitus? In other words, does using precautions listed above to prevent hearing loss equally protect against worsening tinnitus?

    2. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Are you putting yourself at any risk? Sure. But in my opinion it is an acceptable risk. I certainly would not give up something that that has been so much a part of my life under such circumstances. But here's the thing: I'm me ... and you're you.

      A very wise man once told me: PERFECT is the enemy of GOOD. I always try to keep that aphorism in mind when making the kind of decision you are facing. If you want PERFECT, then do not return to your drums under any circumstances. On the other hand, with the type of precautions you are describing, you can have your cake and eat it too. What you will not have is a 100% iron-clad guarantee. You want to cover your bet? Maybe cut down a bit on the amount of time you play daily. Something to think about, anyway.

      Hope this helps more than confuses.

      No. But if you conduct your life in an effort to absolutely avoid anything and everything that can possibly worsen your tinnitus, then it's not going to be a particularly enjoyable life.

      What I personally do is take reasonable precautions to decrease the probability of auditory damage ... and the hell with the rest of it.

      I'm not saying that that's the way you should live your life, but it's how I live mine!

      All the best to you -

      Dr. Stephen Nagler
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