A number of the most talented musicians in the world share a particular tale of woe. All of the years that they spent standing in front of screaming crowds, playing amplified instruments in venues that may well have been somewhat cramped, comes to a fairly obvious conclusion. When you ask them their name they won’t be able to tell you. Not because they are drunk or on drugs, but because they are pretty much deaf. It is something that can be hard to avoid, if you are going to play the big shows, or if you simply enjoy playing loud.
Many guitarists spend at least a few nights a week standing in front of an amplifier that is taller than they are. Even though they wear earplugs to dampen the noise, that is still not dissimilar to standing in front of a jumbo jet as it prepares for take-off. And when they are playing loud in a small venue – which a lot of bands do on the way up – the sound reverberates right back at them. It can’t be good for the ears. So is there any way to avoid this? Well, simply sticking to best practice is a wise idea. Don’t play seven days a week – in fact, three nights in a row is considered a bit much by some.
Earplugs are more than advisable, as is standing further away from the amps. Another tip would be to play a bit quieter – but that is considered a mortal insult by any guitarist worthy of the title.