Recently I spent a weekend at Download, a heavy metal festival held in the middle of England. For obvious reasons it hasn’t taken place for a few years, and this was its celebratory (and loud) return to the music scene.
Why on earth would anyone with tinnitus want to spend 11 hours having their eardrums assaulted by screaming vocals, crashing guitars, and drums so loud you can feel every beat in your body?
I am so glad you asked! Here’s why…
- Because I love live music.
- Because my favourite band, Shinedown, were playing (and Iron Maiden too, to keep Mr Hearing Coach happy).
- Because, after a really hard couple of months, me and Mr HC needed some joy in our lives.
- Because I am absolutely determined not to let tinnitus stop me from enjoying life.
That said, as someone with only one working ear, plus pretty loud tinnitus, I would have been more than a bit daft not to have taken some precautions, so…
- I didn’t head into the mosh pit, though to be fair I doubt I would have done that even with perfect hearing and no tinnitus!
- I stayed a reasonable distance away from the stage and made sure I didn’t stand near a speaker. This didn’t impact on me hearing the music, in fact I think people in villages several miles away were probably rocking out to it too!
- I took regular ear breaks in between bands, mooching around the stalls, getting snacks and drinks or just chilling on the grass banks and people-watching.
- I made sure I had with me my trusty EarPeace earplugs. When I first got tinnitus I tried a range of ear protection, but I found them so disappointing. I couldn’t hear my friends, and the music sounded dreadful. EarPeace Music were the first ones I found that provided excellent ear protection while allowing me to enjoy everything about gigging – the music, hearing the lyrics, and chatting with my friends. Now I don’t go anywhere without them.
The next day it was clear that my ears had stood up to the whole experience better than the rest of my body! While my tinnitus was pretty much the same level as it always is, my body creaked and complained, and my voice was hoarse from singing (if you can call it that!)