I first noticed my hearing loss as a child but more significantly about 8 years ago.
I was always asking people to repeat themselves when in groups or in busy places and having to turn up the radio or TV.
I found out about Harley Street Hearing through Help Musicians UK.
Wearing hearing aids has made a great difference as I can now hear everything and everyone. I can also turn them down in busy noisy places or when playing music.
My advice for anyone who is experiencing difficulties with their hearing is don’t be embarrassed about wearing hearing aids, they are discrete, and they will make such a difference to your life.
The team at Harley Street Hearing are amazing, very professional, I would highly recommend them.
Mark is a composer and performer and his recent new musical ‘seven and a half years’ is a true story of a man’s journey from success to despair and isolation back to a final rejuvenation, portrayed through the power of Music and Words.
For details on Seven and a half years the musical click here
To contact Mark Glentworth click here
I am very pleasantly surprised after my trip to Musicians Hearing Services. I have just fitted the monitors that they provided and listened to some music.
With respect to frequency range I seem to be able to hear a lot of high frequency sounds in my right ear, much more than I expected. Brass is brassy, strings are stringy, and I can hear hi-hats in drum kits. These in-ear monitors are fabulous, just as they predicted.
My name is Eats Everything, and I am a DJ/Producer.
I first noticed tinnitus and hearing deterioration in around 2003 I think, it has got ever so slightly worse ever since!
I came to Musicians Hearing Services because I had always used over the counter plugs, so I needed some proper ones. They have made a massive difference to my life and I cannot thank you enough for helping me out.
My advice would be to other musicians and DJ’s to get yourself a pair of proper Earplugs as soon as it is humanly possible, otherwise it will be too late.
The service from Musicians Hearing Services has been absolutely outstanding, Very professional and lovely.
It’s felt like a revelation to come across Harley St. Hearing. As a tour manager, on the road a lot with musicians, I have been frustrated by the limitations of my current NHS hearing aids to process music in a natural way, not to mention day to day speech.
I am so excited at the prospect of beginning a journey with Harley St. Hearing, to find a solution for me that can really work regarding music, but in so many other situations too.
The loveliness and warmth of all the staff also makes a huge difference. Paul Checkley is so understanding and his experience and insight is dearly appreciated.
5 STAR review – Rebecca Kemp
If you have hearing issues call 020 7486 1053 or complete below
I began playing electric guitar in my teens, and have been touring with my band, The Boomtown Rats, since 1974, which means my ears have been subjected to high volumes of sound for most of my life.
About four years ago, I became aware that I was finding it increasingly difficult to take part in group conversations. I couldn’t hear clearly what people were saying, and, rather than continuously asking everyone to repeat themselves, or telling them off for their poor diction, I would often limit myself to smiling and nodding, sometimes inappropriately, instead of being an active participant.
The television at home would always be at close to maximum volume, with the treble turned up full, and it was the same when I listened to music. I even got rid of a nice acoustic guitar, as I thought it had begun to sound dull.
My father suffered from deafness from his mid-fifties but he was too proud to use the hearing aids which were available at the time. I had some sympathy with him, as they were the sort of bulky, ugly appliances which have given rise to the expression “hearing-aid beige”. However, it was sad to see him become more and more isolated and I did not want to go the same way as him.
Eventually, I accepted that I must have a problem with my own hearing.
A friend told me that a guitar hero of mine, who I knew suffered from deafness as a result of being exposed to ridiculous levels of onstage volume since the 1960s, had been to Harley Street Hearing and was now using Phonak hearing aids, so I telephoned them and made an appointment for a hearing assessment.
This turned out to be the best thing I have done for myself in a very long time.
I now use a pair of Phonak hearing aids, which are practically invisible, and they have transformed my life.
I can now hear the full spectrum of audible frequencies and can enjoy the beautiful sound of my Martin acoustic guitar again.
Thank you, Harley Street Hearing & Musicians’ Hearing Services!
If you have any hearing issues call 020 7486 1053 or complete below.
“Hearing loss for anyone can be hard to cope with but if you are conductor of music, it can be career threatening.
A couple of years ago, I acquired a hearing aid on the NHS which I was reasonably happy with but in the past year I have gone for a new ‘in-ear’ hearing aid from the North London Hearing clinic in Golders Green.
This has transformed my life and has restored my hearing to how it was when I was young man.
Not only is this brilliant in rehearsals and concerts but it makes a massive difference in recording sessions, where I can wear headphones as normal, without having to take my hearing aid in and out.
Regrets?….. the only one is that I didn’t do it 5 years earlier. It is not cheap but it improves your quality of life beyond words.”
Playing and listening to music, especially the acoustic classical guitar, has been central to my life. After far too many years putting up with tinnitus, (a hissing radiator sound), and a habit of frequently asking people to repeat words, I conquered my professional musician, psychological barriers to wearing hearing aids and sought help.
I first tried the NHS and discovered that the free hearing aids made violins in particular sound like chalk scraping on a blackboard. A love of music was not made very important in the consultation; it was all about recognition of words. I decided to “go private” and came to Paul Checkley at Musicians Hearing Services.
I was fitted with a pair of extremely discrete Widex hearing aids and I played my guitar and listened to orchestral and jazz music as part of the computer “tuning” of the aids. This was in addition to an exhaustive analysis of my response to words.
The result has been wonderful, particularly as I have learned to control them using the remote wireless volume control. At the start of orchestral concerts I establish the loudest part, (usually the brass section), and adjust to that. I love starting the day by putting BBC Radio 3 on and hearing the music come alive as I put the aids in place. Without them it sounds as if it’s been smothered in cotton wool! Thank you Paul and Musicians Hearing Services.
A few years back I became very aware of how much I was exposing myself to loud music.
However, as a DJ I was concerned about using earplugs and losing some of the feel of the room.
I have used these plugs now for 3 years and swear by them. It’s only when I take them out mid set that I realise how dangerous monitor levels can get. I do not DJ without them.
We first met Alt-J when they came in for their on-stage in-ear-monitors. Our Clinical Director Paul noticed that drummer Thom was wearing just one 10-year-old NHS aid – its pair was broken – and spoke to him about how digital technology has moved hearing aids on. “I was blown away by how little I knew about new hearing aids,” says Thom.
Thom returned for a full hearing test where, with Paul’s advice, he opted for a binaural pair of Widex Clear 440s. A couple of weeks later, in-between band commitments and touring, Thom returned for his fitting, an experience that up until that point in his life, he could never have imagined.
“The fitting with Paul was great,” he says. “It was overwhelming. I knew that I’d be surprised and it would be amazing but I couldn’t have imagined how fantastic it would be. The levels of my new aids are so good. I’m aware of my voice; I can hear the sound of my pronunciation.”
Harrogate-born Thom was born with Alport Syndrome, a condition that results in hearing loss, kidney disease and can affect eye-sight.
Because of his profession and the sheer volume of touring the band was set to take on in the coming months and years, at their initial consultation Thom decided to opt for CICs as opposed to the BTEs he had been wearing. “When you’re touring, you sleep wherever you can and more often than not, that’s in the van. If you’re trying to sleep with your head leaning against a metal pole your hearing aids get in the way. It’s amazing to now have that whole freedom away from my ears.”
During the fitting, Paul was careful to caution Thom that everything might initially sound strange, especially as Thom had auditory deprivation, having not worn the pair to his aid for over a year. “In situations like this, it takes time to get used to the new sound,” explains Paul. “It will initially feel strange and a bit surreal because the brain is re-adjusting to binaural hearing, which affects balance.”
But Thom soon got used to his new aids and the band embarked on a summer of touring and playing festivals from Japan to Los Angeles, and all over Europe.
As well as being fitted with Widex Clear 440 CICs, Thom now has the Widex M-Dex, an assistive listening device for use with the mobile phone, which has also helped in his life as a member of a Mercury Prize-winning band. “I do a lot of promo and phone interviews,” he says. “The M-Dex makes such a difference. It’s so unique.”
Feel like your hearing has changed call 020 7486 1053 or complete below
Musicians Hearing Services provided a perfect service when booking, fitting and collecting my earplugs. The quality is second to none both in build and sound, across a range of monitors I have played on since using.
Once you start to use them you have much more control over the frequencies at higher volume and makes it much easier to manipulate whilst djing.
Essential equipment for people who dj in my opinion.
My life would be very different if I didn’t have the use of my ears. Without my hearing, I wouldn’t be able to work, write songs or act.
So looking after my hearing is essential, if I want a career in music or anything else creative. I use in ear monitors when I perform on stage and moulded ear plugs when I’m just going out on a social one and there’s loud music being played, all from Musicians Hearing Services.
It isn’t worth risking the use of your ears just to have a good time.
As a DJ I knew I should be protecting my hearing, I often have ringing in my ears after a gig. I tried the foam plugs but they just made everything sound dull.
Then I heard about Musicians Hearing Services. They made me custom fitted specialist earplugs which make things quieter but keep the fidelity of the sound. The service was great and the staff were knowledgeable and friendly.
Now I won’t play a set without my earplugs.
If you’re a DJ or a muso and you’re reading this and thinking ‘maybe its time I got some earplugs…’, hold that thought and listen: there is NO ‘maybe’ about it. I cannot stress to you how important it is to protect your ears, they are your living, and they are under almost daily barrage.
I’ve been on tour with The Prodigy and played gigs so big the monitoring is 30,000 watts of sound, but if you’re thinking ‘I only play little gigs’ it’s often those sh*tty little sound systems at Camden Monarch or some bar that will cause the most damage.
One day, years ago, my colleague Erol Alkan told me he’d lost 40% of the hearing in one of his ears and that he’d just discovered Geraldine and Paul at Musicians Hearing Services.
That recommendation changed my life. I’d get tinnitus SO badly after every gig, that I couldn’t sleep, and I’d ill as a result. My immune system was shot through and I was a mess.
Since getting MHS to sort me out with plugs, I carry them EVERYWHERE and use them at big gigs, little gigs, parties, anywhere with a sound system. Now I sleep, I’m healthy and my ears aren’t getting any worse despite my job.
They make it easy, they are nice people, they’ll even get rid of that horrid build up of years worth of wax for you.
The plugs come in varying degrees of sound reduction and they just reduce it, not muffle it like those spongy yellow ones you can get for free at festivals. You’ll still hear the sizzle of a hi-hat and the boom of a kick drum, just at less damaging volume.
Now if you’re final thought is ‘hmmm but its quite expensive…’ Stop. It’s the best money I EVER spent.
Do it now. You will not regret it. Just guard them with your life!
PS – just one more thing – if you’re thinking ‘this is one of those free plugs for a plug thing…’ NO. This is from the heart and I paid the same for my earplugs
as you will pay for yours.
DJ Tre Lowe’s Crusade for Tinnitus & Hearing Awareness for DJ’s, Broadcasters & Entertainers
The AIM is:
- To have no one ask the question- What is Tinnitus?
- To empower people to take action to protect their hearing.
- To ensure that no one needlessly suffers from what is an easily preventable condition.
The first campaign is to get DJ’s, broadcasters and Musicians to get their hearing tested.
The second is to release music, which will go towards spreading awareness and raising funds for research and support.
Tre Lowe has had tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, since his early teens. The condition started following a life-threatening reaction to a routine drug given after an appendix operation.
The tinnitus was exacerbated over the years, ignorantly, via Tre’s love of music. “I never fully connected loud music to the fact that the tinnitus noise was slowly getting worse – I just assumed it was due to the drug overdose I was given at hospital.”
In 2008, after a DJ set at a ridiculously loud club with an ill-informed placement of speakers behind the DJ booth, Tre’s tinnitus worsened considerably. “I went deaf for 24 hours. Luckily my hearing returned, although my tinnitus was super loud. I was distraught. At that point I knew I had to protect my hearing. “That was it for me, I got myself some Elacin custom-made earplugs with 25Db filters. I loved music too much to risk losing it”
Although Tre’s tinnitus has worsened a little, the earplugs have spared his hearing from further deterioration.
“The whole thing has been a blessing in disguise because it allowed me to look at all areas of my health and lifestyle and finally find answers to issues that had been tormenting me for years. Don’t get me wrong though, I would do anything to stop this noise in my head! Another good thing is that it has galvanised me into ensuring my fellow music lovers do not suffer through ignorance. There’s no point me suffering with it if I can’t use that suffering to prevent others from doing the same”.
Having completed the London to Brighton bike ride in aid of Action On Hearing Loss, Tre has also done additional work for the charity. The charity ran a successful campaign with Plan B & Chris Martin from Coldplay talking about their experience with tinnitus. Unfortunately that participation from well-known musicians is the exception, not the rule.
“The reluctance of musicians, especially prominent ones, to talk about tinnitus and hearing loss, shocks and saddens me. I get it, as I too have wrestled with going public. However, I believe it is our duty to inform others of the dangers, especially the young vulnerable music lovers that, like I was, are totally ignorant that something they love so much can potentially be the cause of unnecessary suffering in the future. That culture of ignorance has got to change…”
DJ Tre Lowe is one half of the highly respected, award-winning band: Architechs. Notable for the eternal dance floor filler; Body Groove (Feat. NaNa). A monster platinum hit. Architechs also enjoyed numerous successful remix smashes with the classic Brandy & Monica’s – The Boy Is Mine UKG remix and other masterpieces for Justin Timberlake, Usher, Whitney Houston and numerous others.
I first got tinnitus in March 2012. For the first couple of weeks it turned my life upside down, but I’ve got used to it now and use my ear plugs every time I DJ, am in the studio or go to a club, and can hear perfectly with them!
Musicians Hearing Services were recommended to me by Eddie Temple Morris, he said they were the best in London and that Geraldine would look after me!
They were great, Geraldine was really friendly and helpful and they got my ear plugs to me really fast!
The earplugs have saved my ears from further damage, and pain from loud music.
I’d say to all DJ’s, or people who are constantly around loud music before you get Tinnitus, invest in some earplugs and save your hearing!
International DJ, Producer, Actress & Model
I’m not a musician but a history professor who listens to lots of music. I have to travel a lot and take a long trip by rail or plane with a set of Geraldine’s custom-made, perfectly-fitting custom earbuds – into which can be slipped into the earphones from an i-Pod or Walkman – and you could be on your way to paradise.
Lose yourself in the sounds of your music, uninterrupted by anything other than a ticket inspector if it’s a train journey, or an air hostess if it’s a plane – who’ll ask you to take them out for landing and take-off. They’ll struggle to attract your attention though; the ear plugs are that good, and you’ll be lost in another world.
Chris Whatley, Vice-Principal and Professor of Scottish History, University of Dundee
I wanted to let you know of my experience with Earplugs over the last 18 years of DJing.
A few years back one of my DJ partners got bad Tinnitus in his ears and had to protect them, as we were working together a lot at the time he urged me to get some, which I didn’t.
Anyway, I had a scare one day when I couldn’t hear properly after a gig and went and got some fitted in Harley St. At the time I got the weakest available (–15 Decibels), but I found them very difficult to use in Clubs as personally I think they are for bigger systems (like stadiums etc?), I felt cut off from the atmosphere of the club and it was impossible to mix with them in, totally defeating the object, having spoken to others I know a lot of DJs have the same experience.
So I didn’t wear them for a while, and kept on DJing without them, and guess what, ended up with a ringing in my ears so bad that it felt like it was deep inside my head, I have heard that people have killed themselves having Tinnitus and after that experience I can understand, thankfully mine was temporary, but the next day I went back for new earplugs, and here’s my point, they’ve now developed –9 Decibel earplugs, my girlfriend Alexandra and I got fitted with them that day, and haven’t looked back, they’re the best thing for club systems, I put them in as soon as I walk into a club now (even if I’m not playing), I DJ all night long in them, and take them out at the end of the night and feel great!
Also, Alexandra is a club chick, not a DJ, she was very dubious before we got them, but now she swears by them, trust me on this one, if you want to enjoy long club nights and not be deaf in later life protect yourself with these NOW, they take a mould of your ear and the filters in the plug are changeable so if you felt that you wanted stronger at any point you could upgrade to –15 or even -25 (which some DJ’s do use)
(Picture of Mark Wilkinson – DJ & Alexandra Houston Carroll – Club Chick)
The boominess of my bass disappeared, with the result that I could clearly hear every note as I played it. I was able to play as tightly as I have ever played without any strain or effort.
Best of all, after each gig I was able to fall into bed without the usual ringing in the ears and feeling of being noise-battered. The whole experience was far more enjoyable and less fatiguing,
Custom earplugs are an incredible piece of kit that I would recommend to any musician. I intend never to play a gig without them again.
It is hard to overestimate the importance of ear protection in clubs.
I still believe in not wearing them for short periods to experience the sheer tumult of load music as a physical experience from time to time, especially on a well-tuned sound system with no distortion (the main culprit for ear damage), but as a DJ, I wear them for five out of every six minutes, removing them only to hear the transition from one record into the next as the club hears it. Otherwise I wear them at all times these days in all clubs.
I have used moulded earplugs from Musicians Hearing Services for five years now. The sound reduction is pretty even across all frequencies allowing for accurate sound mixing. It also actually improves your ability to hear conversations as extraneous non-voice frequencies and distortion are reduced. I make use of the different filters too. 9db – 15db reduction in small clubs. 25db reduction for big systems.
If I could make one improvement it would be a modification where you could open and close the filter without removing the plug itself. This would make life much easier and prevent loss of both the plug and filter on the dark floor of every nightclub!
I would also like to see clubs obliged to provide improved and user-specific ear protection for all employees; bar staff particularly, who take orders from people shouting into their ear as well as enduring the loud volumes of the music. Foam plugs are not enough.
We live in an age where live music is loud and constant. Ear damage is for life once it strikes.
When you are young you expect the ringing in your ears will go away in the morning, but without precautions one day you will wake up and it won’t.
Everything But The Girl
3 people in NYPC use Elacin earplugs and we all agree they are the best way to protect your ears without ruining the sound you hear. Musician Hearing Services have always been very professional and considerate when fitting the plugs so we don’t hesitate to recommend them for ear protection or any other hearing needs.
Andy Spence – guitarist
New Young Pony Club
It’s incredibly important to try and protect your hearing as a singer or musician.
I had been using cheap foam earplugs and was definitely experiencing the on-set of tinnitus. Andy Spence, my song writing partner found Musicians Hearing Services at Harley Street Hearing and booked both of us appointments.
I am fairly squeamish about having things put into my ears and the staff at the clinic were very sympathetic to that and let me take the consultations and fittings at my own pace.
I have had my earplugs for about a year now and I find them to be infinitely beneficial in enjoying music in many different environments, as well as performing.
Tahita Bulmer – lead singer
New Young Pony Club
My hearing is the most precious tool of my trade. Geraldine and the MHS have taught me how to look after my hearing and make sure that night after night, show after show, my ears are in perfect shape. Their care and services are truly second to none.
Hearing is believing.
Drummer – Duffy, Girls Aloud, Lucie Silvas, Jamelia
I have been dj-ing over the last 10 years and have used Musicians Hearing Services ear plugs for half of that, now everyone in the group have a pair!
After a few times performing with the -15 db filters it became completely natural, and now I can actually hear things a lot more clearly on stage and in the dj booth than without them.
Tinnitus is a problem that a lot of young people I know have and proper hearing protection is the best investment I have ever made. Geraldine is the best in the game”.
I love my hearing, though you wouldn’t have guessed from the way I used to treat it.
I’ve spent the last fifteen years producing electronic music, often on headphones to avoid annoying neighbours at antisocial hours; I’ve spent countless weekends in clubs, clinging to speakers when I wasn’t DJing myself; and I’ve played keys in several bands, often seated within deafening distance of an ear-piercing arsenal of cymbals.
I occasionally bought disposable earplugs from the chemist and left them to gather dust in a drawer: like many musicians, I chose not to think about long-term damage to a sense I believed I’d be able to rely on forever.
Until I first heard the ringing – similar to the sort I used to get after a night of heavy clubbing, but infinitely more unsettling.
I was running around the park when it started, and the sound was so sudden and distinct that I found myself having to sit down, a single word forcing itself to the front of my mind as I struggled to banish it from my thoughts: tinnitus.
That night I lay in bed listening to what sounded like a distant orchestra tuning up in a part of my head to which I had no access. I didn’t sleep a wink, and the next morning I called my friend Eddy Temple-Morris, a DJ and musician who has long been campaigning for greater awareness of the condition he’s suffered from since his early teens.
Some of the things Eddy told me about tinnitus – that’s it’s generally permanent and incurable, for example – compounded my fear; others, such as the number of famous musicians working with the condition, were reassuring.
Most memorably, he told me that at that moment I was in a bad place – my most trusted sense turning against me, my head filled with dark thoughts and a distressing sound I couldn’t control – but that things would get better; that my brain would learn to tune the sound out and turn it down, something I didn’t dare believe at the time, but which has mercifully proved to be true.
In the meantime, he told me that as soon as I had a chance I needed to get myself to a specialist clinic and do the thing I’d been putting off for the better part of two decades: I needed to buy myself a pair of professional ear defenders.
Eddy put me in touch with Geraldine at Harley Street Hearing, who saw me the following day. The ear defenders turned up a week later, just in time for a DJ gig I’d been dreading since the onset of the ringing.
I needn’t have worried; with the earplugs in I found myself capable of hearing what was happening on stage better than I ever had in the past – the plugs filter out resonant frequencies, which means there’s no booming bass, no deadening mid-range or screeching top-end to drown out acoustic subtleties while they batter your hearing.
I was even able to pick out the voices of people around me in the club, something I’d not been able to do for years.
I’ve since played more shows, all of them with the earplugs in place, and the sense of hope it’s given me to know that I can still perform as well as produce music is priceless.
I only wish I’d started wearing them fifteen years ago, but hindsight isn’t a whole lot of use in these situations.
Music has the power to make us feel invincible, and it’s easy not to think about long-term damage to our hearing when it’s a sense we rely on so much.
But if you’re cranking up headphones to hear yourself mix in a club, if you’re producing your own music on maxed out monitor speakers, if you’re playing on stage near a drummer annihilating a set of cymbals – or if you are that drummer – if you’re doing any of these things and you’re not wearing ear protection, then you will have to think about long-term damage to your hearing, and it’s not going to be in a hypothetical, reading-an-article-on-the-internet sort of way.
If you love music, then you love your hearing. Get some proper ear defenders, and your hearing will love you back.