2 Bad Mice's Simon Colebrooke says wearing ear plugs is the "BEST thing I've done"
I suppose most people can pinpoint the exact moment that they realised they may have tinnitus - I too am one of them. For me it was after playing at a local festival and one of my first gigs after a short hiatus from the scene, but I was so excited about getting the opportunity to play out again I had not given any thought to hearing protection and to be honest I do not remember seeing anything about it on social media back then in 2010. For people that know of me and my music, they will no doubt know that I am primarily known for producing back in the 90s as part of 2 Bad Mice but it is only over recent years that we have DJ'd out more. Back then there was kind of a clear divide between DJs and Producers but we had a similar bond - noise and headphones. I remember sitting in the studio with Rob Playford and Sean O'Keeffe cranking up the volume whenever we could but if time got the better of us on those nightly studio sessions - the cans would go on!
I also worked in engineering using drills and loud power tools and back then we did not have all of the H+S regulations that are enforced today. One of these rules is specifically implemented to protect your hearing on building sites and most site offices these days will supply you with disposable foam ear plugs. This never happened 20-30 years ago and you would regularly see me up a ladder, drill close to head while drilling holes. When I think about it - it's madness!
The first time I ever saw a DJ using moulded ear plugs was at a RAM Records event back in 2010 / 2011. It confused the hell out of me - why would you put them in your ears if you were DJing? How do you hear the monitor? I thought it was all a bit much really, even though this was around the time I started suffering from tinnitus. I pretty much did NOTHING about it for another 4 years, my tinnitus was not as bad then and would only affect me if I was in a quiet room. I even remember waiting to go on after a live act and putting my headphones on to act as ear defenders as the levels were kind of distressing!
Then, one day I decided to take the plunge and get some custom moulded ear plugs made. I had researched them and spoken to people like Eddy Temple Morris about their benefits. BEST thing I have ever done and I was so wrong to think that they would inhibit my DJing. They go everywhere with me now and I cannot recommend them highly enough. Producers and DJ's have been very supportive with advice on tinnitus and it is great to share tips with them. I have just started taking a course of Magnesium too as I have read that it can help; and at some point I will try meditation as I have been told it has great benefits in 're-tuning' your brain. My T (as some people prefer to call it) started off as the stereotypical high pitch ring in one ear but has progressed to both; in the right, it now sounds like the ring is kind of in a tunnel. I can tune out and background noise in rooms completely masks it. I have a hearing test booked very soon and will report back...
Simon Colebrooke is a member of 2 Bad Mice, an English breakbeat hardcore group who rose to prominence in the 90s. Their two UK Singles Chart successes were 'Hold It Down' which reached number 48 in February 1992, and 'Bombscare' which reached number 46 in September 1996.