Today’s featured question is: Does tinnitus affect your mixes?
For those of you who don’t know what tinnitus is, it is the sensation of hearing ringing, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, or other sounds, caused by prolonged exposure to loud sounds. These noises can be intermittent or continuous, and may vary in volume. This is actually a fairly common problem, affecting 15-20% of people, and is especially common in the music industry as many of us are constantly being exposed to loud volumes that could damage our hearing!
I have worked with many legacy artists over the years who have tinnitus or other hearing damage and can no longer hear higher frequency sounds. Anything over 2K is pretty much gone for them! This is really common with artists who have been in the industry for a very long time and toured throughout the 70s when they were using huge monitor systems and had the music blasting at them on stage.
This damage to their hearing does not stop them from doing what they love though! I know many people in the industry who have this problem and are still creating amazing records. So in the end, although the ringing may annoy you, it will not keep you from working and creating great music. It is very common, and there are definitely ways to work around it so you can continue working!
Although tinnitus will not keep you from creating music, it is important that you are still taking care of your hearing! Wear earplugs if you are on stage, and if you are in the studio, do not mix at high volumes for long periods of time. When I am in the studio I will never listen above 85 dB for sustained periods of time. What I usually do is listen at a low or medium volume as I am mixing, and then if I want to hear a certain part – like the chorus, or a verse going into the chorus – at a high volume so I can hear the impact, I will crank it for that short portion of the song, and then bring it right back down again!
It is never too late to start protecting your hearing! It is the greatest tool you have, so make sure you are doing everything to can to preserve it and make sure you are able to continue doing what you love!
Watch the video below to see the full answer and to hear some more great FAQ Friday questions!