Tinnitus has changed everything for AYBEE


I have had tinnitus since 2012. Fundamentally it has changed everything. 

I have adjusted, but 2015 was a hard year as I probably should have taken six months off but I couldn't. As a working DJ I was scared to tell my agent - that’s how you eat, and at the level I’m at I could not afford to take six months off. So, being a former athlete, I took the play-hurt mentality: I did the best I could to shield the ear, and suffered through it. I did not tell anyone but a few close friends. It was tough. In hindsight I should not have done that, and to anyone that gets caught in a similar position I would say take the time off.

When I first got tinnitus it threw off my equilibrium in a way because there was now this permanent tone that I had to adjust to. It affected how I heard things, and certain frequencies became more annoying. My ear became a lot more sensitive, and I started to become a lot more attuned to sounds. Weirdly, it improved my production as it made me pay more attention to frequencies, particularly the ones that bother me. That was another reason why I made my last LP The Odyssey the way I did, building the whole record from a pre-selected collection of sounds. The sounds I chose were the ones that were the most comfortable for me. I was "re-hab’ing" my ears in a way.

One huge thing that changed everything for me is that I sat down at my keyboard and went through all the keys and found on the EQ which frequencies bothered me. Once I isolated them I created a template EQ that removes them. This goes on every instrument I use. It removed my ear fatigue and let me work longer.

I could not function now without ear protection. Anytime I am going to hear loud music, even movies, my ears are protected. As a musician, the ears are your most coveted asset. I learned through damage to value and protect that. There are cheap and expensive solutions available to all, but do it. If you're going to be around loud music it’s a given!

My advice to sufferers is that you can survive it and re-calibrate your ears in a way. It’s a brain situation and our brains are a lot more powerful than we know. Go see and talk to an ear specialist and find what treatment works for you. Don’t panic! If you make music and perform as I do keep in mind that your ears need rest. I learned to feel when they are tired, and I shut it down accordingly. Ear rest is very important! 

To prevent it, as I stated before, always head to the club with some protection. Most of the bars keep some there, so you can always ask. Don’t take your hearing for granted.

Written by Armon Bazile aka AYBEE
Listen to AYBEE's forthcoming EP due on his own Deepblak here.

If you have a story similar to Armon's, comment below to let him know, or share your story with us to get a free pair of earplugs. If you help the community, the community will help you!