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I’m going to make a confession here right from the start: As a longtime DJ, I’ve become fanatical about hearing protection.

Part of the reason? As the years have ticked by, evidence of my years of partying, DJing, concert attendance and general enjoyment of music at high volumes has begun to stack-up irrefutably. I’m now saddled with permanent and noticeable tinnitus — ringing in the ears for those new to the term. Just last year, when the ringing got a bit worse, I visited an otolaryngologist — also known as an ENT (ear/nose/throat) doctor — to see what’s going on.

Thankfully, a hearing test revealed that my tinnitus isn’t as bad in practice as it seems from the perspective of the person experiencing that annoying, low-volume ringing (which always seems worse when I’m trying to get to sleep at night). But the message to me was quite clear: Do whatever it takes to reduce further hearing loss and do it now.

And that, my friends, is my overriding message to you as a working DJ: You’re playing with fire, and a little bit of figurative Kevlar would be a really good idea.

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