An Interview with Ibiza Loves Ears
Nowadays, and unfortunately, hearing problems and electronic music come hand in hand, and it’s a topic on everyone’s lips (or ears!) in the industry. During International Music Summit in May, we met up with Joost Toast, founder of ‘Ibiza Loves Ears’, to talk about the real dangers of hearing problems in our industry, how we can help combat this and loads more! Check out our full interview below! *If you’re suffering from hearing problems, scroll down to find out how to get help! ----- Hi guys, thanks so much for sitting down with us! For anyone who may not be familiar with ‘Ibiza Loves Ears’, can you please explain who you are and what you do? Thanks for spreading word! My name is Joost Toast, an ex artist manager, radio host, living on Ibiza with ringing ears. I founded a consciousness campaign called Ibiza Loves Ears to raise awareness about music-induced hearing loss and tinnitus. A growing problem within our industry that definitely needs more attention to save our fellow music lovers their ears. We provide a platform where information and education is shared, where ambassadors are involved to spread the message, promoting hearing protection and where we host a weekly radio show on LocaFM.
You’ve worked with some huge names in the industry including Above & Beyond, Nic Fanciulli, Coyu, Tapesh and loads more. What’s the most common problem that DJs like these have when they come to you? Not all have a problem but the most common one is Tinnitus (ringing ears) for sure. I notice a big difference in consciousness within the industry, saying artists; managers, bookers, production crews etc. about the risks of long exposure to loud sound. Where the clubbers and festivalgoers often don’t have a clue of what actually is going on. As in many things in life prevention is highly underestimated, the same counts for hearing protection unfortunately. You have to act before a problem occurs and most humans tend to act the other way around.
Nowadays, music-induced hearing loss and Tinnitus are real dangers for those who work in the music industry, especially for DJs, who are exposed to extremely high decibels on a daily basis. How can our industry help to avoid this and protect musicians and music lovers? This question merges nicely into the answer above. First: It starts with consciousness and accepting the industry and their sound systems create problems. Secondly: is to start wearing protection with music filtering hearing protection/earplugs. The misconception about earplugs is that many people straight away think in the big yellow foam plugs that are actually blocking sound. Great if you are drilling holes in your wall, but not for the club..I agree. However, is where the filtered protection is doing it’s magic. To kill a few arguments that I regularly hear: Yes..you can actually hear the music, yes..you can still have a conversation (ever better actually) and most of them are made with soft silicone, which makes them super comfortable to wear. Nowadays there are many brands on the market that offer hearing protection with filters, and honestly I am happy with each plug I see walking around. Out of Ibiza Loves Ears we proudly distribute two leading brands: ACS Custom – the industry standard for customized earplugs and Thunderplugs - for a universal fitting solution. Last but not least: education, sharing experiences and knowledge. Only by opening up the conversation about these problems we can make a change. I believe it is the right time for this project to thrive. All around the world people are getting into living a more conscious lifestyle, conscious clubbing is a part of this as well. Over the last 30 years, we’ve seen an explosion in electronic music and nightclub speakers becoming louder year-on-year. Have hearing problems followed a similar pattern and increased over the years?
For sure! As human beings we have never experienced so much sound/noise in our daily life. Think about it and let this sink in for a while: when is it actually quiet around you? If we go back into our evolution, our ears have been made to keep us safe of potential danger. That being said, picture us in the last lets say 100 years when we started to produce things on an industry scaled level. Nowadays we have phones, cars, trains, TV, radio..and the list goes on an on. Add up banging your head into the increasingly growing sound systems for many hours. Especially since we can party every day of the week if we want to. With the first statement in mind, can you still say our ears are made to endure so much sound? Our ears need rest and protection, if this is being denied problems will occur and these will be, in most cases, permanent. For someone who may be suffering from some type of hearing issues, what three tips can you give to them to help combat this? 1. Don’t ignore the fact you feel a change. Go and get yourself tested at an audiologist! 2. Give your ears rest. Stay away from daily and loud noise as much as you can. This includes calls or music through your phone! 3. Hearing protection. Fuck it, walk around with earplugs in. Don’t worry about how you look, everybody is walking around with earbuds in anyway..you are actually the most cool and conscious kid on the block! We’ve heard of some interesting solutions to Tinnitus before including ‘pure silence’ audiobooks, olive and CBD oil, meditation, and loads more. Are there any natural remedies you know of that work well for this? The biggest problem of a Tinnitus is that it is almost untestable and fully the experience of the sufferer. Each Tinnitus is different and therefore there isn’t a direct remedy for it. Personally I believe in a big aspect that is being overlooked and that is the psychological part behind it. Acceptance. A lot of people I spoke to go into a non-acceptance state when they first notice a Tinnitus. Since it is in their head and ever present, many don’t know what to do. This brings stress and that only makes the problem bigger. Up to the point that people commit suicide. What?! Yes, there are many cases that people couldn’t live with it anymore. A horrible result on something that is 100% preventable! Back to your question - So besides acceptance and rest, you can try what might works for you: meditation, ginseng, magnesium, CDB oil, low level laser light laser therapy, sound work (check out the work of Paul Nolan and Simon Baker), weed etc. Stay away from alcohol, energy stimulating drugs or any other blood pressure raising supplements and stress. Personally I didn’t found something that cured my problems. I live a conscious life where I learned to live with the fact that I have tinnitus and hearing loss and therefore always make sure it won’t get worse. Do you feel that hearing protection is just as important to the audience as it is to the DJ in the booth?You’re based in Ibiza and were the Official Hearing Partner of this year’s International Music Summit (IMS). Can we expect to see you at more conferences and festivals around the world? Maybe we can get our ears tested soon?! Definitely! We’ll be collaborating again with ACS Custom at IMS during their College on Malta in September, also Aquasella Festival in August and the Amsterdam Dance Event are confirmed. We are working on a few more, but all with the right focus and attention. We are in it for the long run. For testing your ears I recommend to go to a official audiologist near you. They have the right technology and environment to have a correct measurement of your hearing capacity. And finally, how can someone get in touch for advice and hearing protection? There are many ways to contact us: @ibizalovesears on Facebook and Instagram, our website http://ibizalovesears.com or via http://acscustom.es/en For direct contact with me, feel free to DM on Instagram: @joost_toast If you are in for some tunes directly coming from Ibiza, check out our weekly Saturday afternoon Ibiza Loves Ears radio show from 14h to 16h on LocaFM: http://www.locafm.com/dial/ibiza-107-6.html