When I first started playing music I remember going to shows and noticing how much LOUDER some of the older bands were playing than us. I assumed they probably just couldn’t tell.
I’ve had tinnitus since I was in high school. I’d been playing for around a year in my house with my brother, who played drums while I played guitar and sang. My ears always rang after playing music and then one day they just kept ringing.
Since then I’ve tried to be more careful. I don’t want to end up like the Nuge, wearing hearing aids. I always wear ear plugs in practice, and wear them at most shows that I attend, though usually not while we’re playing. I figure we usually play for 25 minutes at best, and only every few months, so my ears can probably take that. I also don’t like wearing headphones- I suspect a lot of people are killing their ears this way.
People sometimes ask me- do musicians think it’s rude to wear earplugs at shows? I don’t. In fact, if you come see my band, short of loudly heckling us, I don’t care what you do, I’m just glad you’re there. You will, oddly enough, hear more of our defects with earplugs in- all that extra noise does mask a lot of mistakes.