Interview: Bicep's Matt McBriar describes how tinnitus was his "wake up call"
UK power duo Bicep have been at the top of the house music list for many years now, but with one of the busiest gig schedules all year round comes continual exposure to immensely loud soundsystems.
Matt McBriar of the duo felt the full impact of this three years ago when he first acquired tinnitus. Luckily for him his symptoms have reduced significantly, however the hissing still remains. Here, he talks to All Ears about the scare he endured and how it changed his mindset on hearing protection.
How long have you had tinnitus?
I picked up very aggressive tinnitus three years ago but thankfully after a few months it dropped away by about 80% - I still have a subtle buzz/hiss but it is manageable.
How has it impacted your life?
If it had stayed the same as when it first surfaced it would've certainly caused huge huge problems. I was debating quitting music, but A: you quickly learn to adjust, not pay attention & become relaxed, and B: It naturally dropped to a level where I could concentrate and sleep again.
What are the problems you've encountered as a result?
Well when it was bad, I couldn't even think, sleep or anything. Just sitting on an aeroplane was awful as it was all I could hear. One thing is that I've a real issue now with being near very loud noise, which actually is a good thing to come from this - that I had a wake up call. I use earplugs all the time now when DJing, which took some getting used to.
Do you have any advice for people suffering from tinnitus?
Well, I have one bit of nice advice from a fellow sufferer, "Instead of always seeing tinnitus as the enemy, see it as something that represents being in a quiet place (as it's when it's most pronounced)." He said he trained himself to find it relaxing when he could hear it.
That certainly didn't feel possible when mine was really bad but I think it's really one of those things that you make a lot worse by stressing about it. Learning to live with it really does help overcome it.
All Ears will be at fabric where Bicep play on Saturday the 24th February to protect your ears. Reserve your earplugs here.