Musicians, hearing loss and how to prevent it –
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Musicians, hearing loss and how to prevent it

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The crowd chants and claps, waiting for their favorite band to take the stage. The band walks on from backstage and their fans roar. The lead guitarist grabs his guitar, holds up his guitar pick, then strums the first chord and the place explodes. Drums kick in and the concert starts. A few hours later, the band leaves the stage and the fans stumble out, yelling about what an exhilarating experience it was. Their ears will be ringing for the next few hours – at louder concerts it's not uncommon for the fans' ears to ring into the next morning. They'll recover, then do it again the next time a big concert hits their town.

But what about the band? Unlike their fans, they don't get to take a few weeks off between shows to let their ears recover. Instead, they're back on stage the next night, sometimes three or four nights in a row. Each night they play their music and their hearing gets a little worse until they can barely hear the music they created. Here are some musicians who've lost their hearing over the years.

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy first begin to grow popular when he was with Black Sabbath, rocking out to tunes such as “Evil Woman” and “Paranoid”. He followed that with a successful solo career, “Crazy Train” being his most well-known hit – aside from his TV show “The Osbournes”, of course. But all the time spent touring, the nights playing in front of tens of thousands of rock fans, caught up with him. Not known for being intelligible when he spoke, his hearing left him as well. If you catch an interview or see him on TV you're likely to hear him not hear others.

Neil Young

The man from Canada has been elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, and is considered to be one of the greatest musicians from the great white north. Neil has worked on over 30 different albums, and despite the length of time he's been working his quality has been unwavering. You can catch “Heart of Gold” and “Hey Hey My My (Into the Black)” at least once a day on a classic rock station, along with some of his other hits. However, he suffers from tinnitus, a condition which means he constantly hears a ringing in his ears thanks to his decades of touring and exposure to loud music.

Hearing loss thanks to music doesn't just affect rock stars.'s popularity skyrocketed with the explosion of The Black Eyed Peas in the 2000s. After spending time with the Peas, he moved onto producing his own albums and collaborating with other artists, such as Michael Jackson and Rihanna. However, years of music – both live shows and producing in the booth – has caused him to complain that he hears a loud ringing in his ears when he's not working.

Eric Clapton

Clapton is a legend who will go down as one of the all-time greats in rock and roll history. He's been rocking out for a half-century, producing timeless classics such as “Layla”, “Tears in Heaven” and “Cocaine”. Fifty years of jamming and touring hasn't been easy on him, as he's faced off against alcoholism and drug addiction – in addition to tinnitus. While he's certain to be remembered as one of the best rockers in history, it's a sad note that he can't hear his own songs as well as he used to.

Musician Ear Plugs

Musicians earplugs are specially engineered to to keep clarity of sound while turning the volume down and modern musos wouldn't be caught without them. Concert and gig goers, night clubblers and amateur practising musicians should wear them also. Our ears just are not designed to withstand the volume of modern music without damage to the tiny delicate hairs in our ears repeated exposure will lead to hearing loss and tinnitus. Foam earplugs just don't cut it as they remove all high frequency sounds and muffle music so essentially you don't hear the full song – only a distorted version of it. Musician ear plugs manage to reduce volume while allowing all audio frequencies to pass through. This means that while the volume is low enough that it won't damage your hearing, you still have the same clarity you would normally have if you were not wearing ear plugs.

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