Anyone who lived through the glory days of the 1960s and 1970s music scene has a bit less spring in his or her step today and maybe some hearing loss too.
The icons of the era certainly do.
In fact, there’s even a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping musicians with hearing loss issues. First formed in 1989, the Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers (HEAR) was created to — a little late — warn of the dangers of overexposure to loud music.
One of its founders was The Who’s, Pete Townshend, one of the loudest rockers ever who is, by his own admission, pretty close to being stone deaf today. He actually took a one-year sabbatical in 2017 in part to deal with his tinnitus and hearing loss.
His bandmate Roger Daltrey came clean in 2018 that he too had profound hearing issues. Both Daltrey and Townshend could no longer perform if not for high-tech hearing aids that can be looped into their sound mix during performances.
Daltrey told an audience at Las Vegas’s Hard Rock Resort when he publicly acknowledged his hearing issues to “ … take your [expletive] earplugs to the gigs. If only we had known when we were young.” Not exactly the message of The Who’s hit “My Generation,” which mentioned something about hoping “I die before I get old.”
This is of course very good advice. Anyone of the younger persuasion who’s got the volume cranked up in their earbuds — or goes clubbing without at least foam earplugs — is asking for trouble. Make sure to take precautions when attending any event that you know will be loud. You will thank yourself later.