|First Avenue marketing coordinator Machen Davis' response to our hearing survey was just this photo.|
For most, losing the ability to see is unthinkable, but to true fans of music, deafness is just as harrowing of a thought. Composer Ludwig van Beethoven contemplated suicide because of his hearing loss, and certainly plenty of folks in music-related fields would have to find a new line of work immediately if they couldn't hear.
And yet, the act of listening to music -- especially in a live setting -- puts us at risk for losing our hearing on a regular basis. While we probably won't behave the way the Oregon mother of a Justin Bieber fan did recently and sue for damage to our ears
, the loudness of some shows can be enough to put a wedge between a fan and what they're trying to experience.
Our ears (and bodies) all experience live music differently, so Gimme Noise decided to survey more than 30 musicians, writers, venue employees, publicists and friends to see what their experiences with hearing loss, what kind of earplugs they (do or don't) wear, and the (sometimes very surprising) loudest shows they've ever attended.