When Robert Plant sang: “Your head is humming and it won’t go, in case you don’t know,” he could have been singing about tinnitus, a common problem, that is even more prevalent among musicians. About 50 million people in the US suffer from tinnitus, but it is estimated that less than one-third seek treatment.
“Hearing protection is for sissies,” says my guitar playing friend Pete. He casually signs the internationally understood words for “earplug” and “feather weight” in my direction. Years of thunderous nights in tiny clubs have left him aurally impotent. It’s sad to see. With proper ear protection, his life may have turned out differently.