ryan van poederooyen devin townsend project

By now we should all be well aware of the dangers of attending and playing shows without proper ear protection. Long-term exposure to high volume and harsh frequencies can lead to Tinnitus, a permanent ringing of the ears coupled with partial hearing loss. It’s not a matter of “being a wimp” at metal shows — cases of tinnitus have been documented as being so severe that people have committed suicide in order to escape the ringing. I try to bring ear plugs to shows when I can, but at the end of the day, it simply feels better when walking out of a show and not feeling like I have cotton jammed in my ears for hours afterwards.

Don’t just take it from me: more and more professional musicians are advocating for proper hearing protection and tinnitus awareness. Devin Townsend Project drummer Ryan Van Poederooyen is the latest musician to urge fans to wear ear plugs, going as far as announcing that he now experiences tinnitus after years of playing.

The update comes via RVP’s Facebook page, along with a link to Wikipedia for more information:

On a VERY serious side note…. to all you concert goers, musicians and especially drummers out there (loudest acoustic instrument), WEAR EAR PROTECTION!!! I didn’t in my earlier years and then caught on when I joined Devin almost 12 years ago. Over the years of playing live around the world on loud stages, loud rehearsal rooms, using in-ears (which can be bad if not used properly) and so on… I have developed a case of Tinnitus. It sucks. Plain and simple. Don’t let it happen to you!!!! Your hearing is more valuable than you know until something goes wrong, Be GRATEFUL for your hearing every day of your life. Wear ear protection always. I can still hear well but I have a constant ring in my ears from cymbals, click tracks and my snare drum. Not cool. There are ways to deal with it but the best way is to NOT get it!!! It has bummed me out recently but instead of sulking about it, I’d rather teach people who aren’t using ear protection to use it. To hear things is one of the greatest natural gifts almost all of us are born with, don’t ruin it. Take care, be smart and wear ear protection guys! Best – RVP

That’s a huge bummer, and hopefully this doesn’t affect his career as a performer very much at all. I’m sure it’s a nuisance at best, so our thoughts are with Ryan, because it’s sad to hear his livelihood as a professional musician has been made more difficult.

So seriously, folks. I don’t mean to turn this into an after-school special, but wear protection out there. Pick up a pack of disposable ear plugs for a measly dollar, or spring for some professional-grade re-usable plugs that naturally EQ sound. Plenty of options, and it shouldn’t break bank to do it. Who cares if you look tough when you’re deaf or driven mad by ringing into your thirties and forties?

– JR


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