These past few weeks have been quite hectic. I’ve had a full teaching schedule, and rehearsals with new artist RJ Thompson in preparation for his album launch on the 8th of December. On top of that I’ve had to learn a full show for a few dep gigs with a party band, and to a click so no presure there!! Last but not least I’ve been prepping samples for the 50 plus pantomime shows I have coming up, as well as playing a percussion gig thrown in for good measure. There’s plenty to talk about this week and I’ll probably look at a few of the topics in greater detail in future blogs.
Firstly I’d like to talk about ears. For many years I have done without ear plugs, but over the past few months I have begun to have problems with my ears, and have used the foam ear plugs as a temporary measure. So two weeks ago I went to get fitted for some in-ear monitors and ear plugs. However, the audiologist couldn’t take the impressions for my left ear as there was a significant build up of wax!! ergh!!! and suggested I get my ear syringed.
I have heard many horror stories about ear syringing (burst ear drums, tinitus etc…) and was very dubious of having the procedure carried out. I tried many off the shelf ointments to shift the wax then was finally told olive oil. After two days of using the olive oil, my ear was fully blocked, and I was really struggling to distinguish pitch. During rehearsals with a band I run I was unable to hear the quality of the performance and had to rely on the guys to direct it. The next day I went to see the nurse who insisted that syringing was necessary and it was a safe procedure that she had carried out for more than 15 years without any problems.
However, I was still very worried as I’m sure we all would be as our ears are really our livelyhood!! The very next day was syringing time and I must say it was fantastic! It lasted about 4 seconds and it was completely clear, and the chunks that came out resembled remnants of a left over plum compote, I cant believe the size of them and how they could have been in there!!
For those of you who havent had it done, it’s a small probe which is inserted into your ear that regulates water into the ear canal at a safe pressure and dislodges the blockage. It is completely different to an actual syringe doctors and nurses used to use. I would be happy to tell anyone to get it done if they really need to, and have it checked by a qualified nurse. For any more information on ear wax and syringing check out the Patient UK website its quite helpful.
So why the blog about my ears? Over the years I have been in environments where a click track is needed. This has been in the form of either using backing tracks with live musicians, in the studio, or for live situations that require syncing with effects and computers. I have taken for granted the use of my ears, these past few weeks have made me realise just how delicate they are. Using click tracks I generally just wack the volume up fighting with the noise on stage. This has brought me to look at my click preferences (what I need from a click) and the headphones I use. I would suggest that anyone working with a click track invests in some custom made in-ear monitors. The custom in-ear monitors should prevent me from having to fight with the on stage noise as they have high levels of isolation, enabling me to lower the volume of the click track, saving the ear from loud volumes. I’ll be reviewing my custom ear plugs and in-ear monitors in a future blog. So check back!!
Have you had any problems with your ears? If so how did you deal with them?
All the Best
P.S. Here’s the latest Movember update, slowly getting there!!!