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An old tech solution to a new tech problem
MacGyver-ing my way out of permanent ear damage
I was in Bristol over the weekend, and — in a style befitting of the city — I went out. Out out.
Come on, I’m not that old.
In the early morning, we ended up in a tiny little club that held around 300 people. Unfortunately, someone must not have told the building’s sound engineer how big the venue was because they had one of the loudest speaker systems I’ve ever heard.
The dancefloor was roughly four metres squared. Around a fifth of that was taken up by the floor-to-ceiling soundsystem.
As soon as I entered, my Apple Watch told me in no uncertain terms that, if I valued my hearing, I should leave immediately.
I did not.
Now, you may be expecting me to talk about how I solved the ringing in my ears the next day — but that’s not happening.
I found a way to protect my ears. I defeated the soundsystem’s nefarious volume. I solved a high-tech problem with a low-tech bit of hardware: toilet paper.
I’ve been meaning to get ear plugs for a long, long time. As someone who grew up going to gigs and still enjoys a fair amount of live music, I’ve come to terms with the damage I’ve already done — but I’m increasingly paranoid about my hearing.
Tinnitus seems unbearable. Strangely, no one I know who has it would recommend the experience.
And the reason I haven’t actually bought a pair of ear plugs? Got a cheap pair from the local pharmacist? I want a custom-designed set that fit my ears perfectly and deliver great sound.
Sometimes hindering yourself in the short term for long-term gain makes sense, like saving up to buy a laptop. But when you’re potentially doing yourself permanent damage in the meantime? Less so.
It’s this barely believable attitude that meant I ended up in a cramped club with aching ear holes, no plugs, and an Apple Watch yelling at me to reconsider my life decisions.
Thankfully, a musician friend made an elegant suggestion. So, I took a trip to the loo, balled up some toilet paper, and shoved it into my ears.
Did I look unhinged? Certainly. But did my ears ring the next day? They most definitely did not.
I can’t wait to not learn a thing from this experience and forget to buy ear plugs all over again next month.