August 13, 2012
Paul Gilbert: How to avoid hearing loss
Veteran guitarist Paul Gilbert gives advice to musicians and music lovers so that they can avoid the same kind of hearing impairment he himself suffers from.
Guitar virtuoso Paul Gilbert’s musical career is full of good examples of what you should not do if you want to retain your hearing. Today, he lives with hearing loss and tinnitus.
Work leads to hearing loss
Through his work with the bands Racer X and Mr. Big, as well as his solo career, Paul Gilbert has practiced his guitar-playing for hours on end, day in and day out. He has played hundreds of concerts and recorded more than 30 albums. And yet throughout all of this he has not taken the proper precautions to protect his hearing. On the contrary, Paul Gilbert has loved loud music with the amp turned all the way up for hours on end. All this has resulted in him having difficulty hearing high frequencies today and having constant tinnitus.
Because of this, Paul Gilbert has difficulty hearing and understanding what people are saying.
Paul Gilbert wishes he had done a few things differently in his life. He wishes he had followed the following simple advice when he was younger and he also wishes that he could still follow a conversation without experiencing problems.
Paul Gilbert has therefore compiled a list of things he would advise other musicians and music lovers to do if they want to retain their hearing and avoid tinnitus. Among other things:
- Do not sit with your ears right up next to your speakers when music is playing, regardless of how much you love the sound and the music.
- Do not turn your headphones up too loud when, for example, listening to your favourite number.
- Do not crank-up your car stereo when you’re out driving.
- If you are a musician and in the studio, you should not sit and record for 14 hours a day with the metronome turned right up in your headphones.
- Do not try and edit music in spaces which are not suitable for the job. This can lead to frustration and confusion around the acoustic image and can often result in you turning up the volume even more so as to get a better picture of the individual instruments.
- Don’t play cool in situations where the music is too loud. Put your fingers in your ears or leave the room.
Preventing hearing loss