Re: [Harp-L] Re: Hearing yourself

Or as was pointed out hearing at all at the age of 56. Clearly escalation in terms of volume is not a viable long term strategy. Coming to grips with this has been an arm wrestle for me. I currently play in a 3 piece, harmonica, bass, guitar. Sometimes we'll add drums. I'm using a 5 watt amplifier. I can hear myself in the mix quite well. I used to play in a 6 piece band, electric bass, drums 2 guitars and a sax along with me on harmonica. In that band I used various amps, Twin Reverb, Bassman RI, Concert, Blonde Basman head into a 3X10 bottom. Hearing myself was always somewhat of a struggle and an arms race. Using hearing protection helped but it becomes difficult to gauge your relative volume and you lose the sound of the amp tone. Ultimately I opted out of the blues band club scene. I migrated into a Country and Western pick up band which was a 4 piece and a lot quieter but it was still too much volume for me.

Exposing your ears to high spl (sound pressure levels) causes hearing damage. period. It's a health issue. If you're lucky you'll just get the ensuing tinnitus and hearing loss. If you're unlucky you'll end up dizzy and unable to play music because of an acquired sensitivity to loud noises. As a generation grows up headsets plugged into I-pods car stereos booming the health issue of significant hearing loss will only become more widespread. Little Walter didn't grow up playing music in the same environment as we have. Amps were smaller and a lot less powerful. Electric bass was new to the scene and stand up was the norm well into the 50's. I really never thought I'd live to see the day where cigarette smoking in bars was banned in several states. It was just something I put up with to play music. The reality is the choice is ours. Playing loudly is a choice and you can choose to not do it. Sure it's a lot of work to find like minded people and put together a quieter more dynamic group but in the long run you'll have more fun and live to hear into your 60's instead of starting to lose the middle frequencies in your 30's. People rave about the Jason Ricci shows but the reality is he plays too damn loud too. Exposing yourself to high spl is flat out risky behaviour and a health risk and it's a matter of when not if it'll come back to bite you. I have yet to meet a 50 something railroader that doesn't say what every second word if he/she is in a noisy environment. fjm

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