The central conceit of Edgar Wright's new film Baby Driver is that its lead character, getaway driver Baby, suffers from tinnitus and constantly needs to drown it out with a specific soundtrack. That's prompted Consequence Of Sound's Lior Phillips to research the condition - and her findings are alarming.
Talking to sufferers, including Quietus founder John Doran, she explains how it develops (through damage to the sensitive sound-conducting hairs in the ear) and notes that there is currently no established cure, meaning that the damage is permanent. For gig-goers and musicians, Doran observes, it's not merely a matter of volume - it can also be caused by poor-quality PAs. He's not exaggerating when he says that tinnitus has driven people to suicide - take the tragic example of Inspiral Carpets drummer Craig Hill.
I've experienced tinnitus myself - when I've had blocked ears and after particularly loud gigs. Thankfully, it's only ever been temporary, but this article is a timely reminder to be sensible and not to take it lightly. Perhaps investment in a proper pair of earplugs would be wise.