Interview: a life with hearing damage

18 May '2017 Life

“A constant high whistling note. It’s always there. I wish I knew back then what I know now.” Concert photographer Robin Looy (35) shares his story on how music damaged his ears and having to live with a permanent beep and hearing loss.

Robin Looy

“I’ve been a music and concert photographer for almost fifteen years now. Untill about six years ago I never used hearing protection. I used to take my pictures just in front of the sound system, always looking for the best shot. Of course I had heard the stories and kind of knew that loud music could be harmful and damage my ears. But well, I never really considered protecting myself. I just didn’t think it would affect me. Often I used to come home with ringing ears, a sense of deafness, and a little morning after beep. But after some days my ears would be back to normal.

Beep

I think it was about six years ago, when I came home with a beep in my left ear together with the familiar numbness and the rushing. Thinking in a few days it would be gone, as always. And then. Days past. The ringing got less. The numbness too. The beep stayed. Weeks past. The beep stayed. Then it hit me. It wouldn’t go away anymore.

Hearing loss

What I hear is a constant high whistling note in one of my ears. It’s always there. During daytime and work I can camouflage it with sounds and music. But in the nights, when I want to go to sleep… I went to the doctor, but there’s just nothing they can do. I have to accept and learn to live with it. I also had my ears checked and it turned out I have significant hearing loss on both my ears. Funny thing is that the damage on the ear without the beep is worse. But sometimes I’d rather hear even less, than this everlasting beep. There are stories of people having committed suicide to stop it. Luckily my situation is not that bad, but still…

Earplugs

Nowadays I always wear custom made earplugs to concerts, to protect what’s left of my hearing and to prevent further damage. And I try to educate my young colleague concert photographers. When I see them standing front line at loud concerts, unprotected, just like I always used to do. I come up to them and tell them my story. And advice them to use hearing protection. Because if I would have known back then what I know now…”

 


New Prototypes of Knops Have Arrived

The last couple of months we've been very busy with production and engineering. We made improvements to the shape of the product and based on that we now have new prototypes! In our previous update (we shared on Kickstarter/Indiegogo) on June 13th, we informed our backers about finalizing the engineering of Knops. In the photos below you can see the new prototypes, based on the improvements we made on the engineering part. The ergonomics of the housing have been updated and has now a more slim body, ensuring that the comfort is increased and the fit is nice, snug and