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Stephen Emmer launches online platform against tinnitus

Stephen Emmer launches online platform against tinnitus

In recent months, the ailment Tinnitus has been in the news frequently.

It is a familiar ailment among musicians, radio DJs, as well as many other (Dutch) citizens. About 10 to 15 percent of the population suffers from tinnitus. That adds up to more than a million people in the Netherlands alone.

Coming out

Media composer Stephen Emmer came “out of the closet” late last year after years of silence about his condition tinnitus. “Like many of my colleagues I suffered severe hearing damage through my profession, and I noticed that there is still a taboo on it among musicians.” Today, in the middle of ‘Tinnitus Awareness Week’, he launches the website of his new Artists against Tinnitus Foundation:

Social discussion

The first goal of his action was to become a fixture in the social discussion as well as to consult with Maarten van Ooijen, State Secretary of Health, on the subject from an artist’s perspective as an expert by experience. At least the latter has already succeeded. “We, as the Artists Against Tinnitus Foundation, have a first appointment scheduled soon, shuffling along with the Hoormij Foundation,” he said.

Health Council Opinion

In that conversation, he wants to counterbalance the professional group of economic stakeholders in the music and hospitality industry such as pop venue owners and artist bookers who seem to actually benefit from not turning down the music volume at concerts. This, by the way, goes against the advice of the Health Council, which does want softer sound in concert halls and restaurants. He also said there should be a volume limit on headphones cq earphones. “A true epidemic may be upon us thanks to the earbuds of Steve Jobs and loud music at festivals, among others. Research shows that more than half of 12- to 18-year-olds are currently at risk of hearing damage from experiencing loud music during nights out or from frequent use of music players.”

More priority to research

Through his lobbying, Emmer, now also known as “The Beep Professor,” hopes that the pharmaceutical industry will also give higher priority to research. “In a lab in Israel, a major breakthrough is currently being reported in Alzheimer’s research. I hope one day we can achieve the same with Tinnitus, there are a million people in the Netherlands alone who experience humming or squeaking. There is no medical cure at the moment. You just have to learn to live with it, most doctors say, but therapies to learn how to cope with it are again in full development fortunately.”

Sales of custom-made earplugs on the rise

Emmer also welcomes the fact that more custom-made earplugs are being sold since more and more famous people, like himself, have now dared to speak out about the condition. “The taboo seems to be coming off. By 2022, there was over 30 percent growth in hearing protection sales. There are now whole families going to the audiologist because people are becoming more understanding of the lasting effects of exposure to loud noise. It’s like an accumulation. After going out once you have a squeak that goes away, after a few years sometimes not. In addition, hearing damage can lead to permanent hearing loss, as is the case with me in one ear.”

Benefit Concert

Emmer is overflowing with plans. Enthusiastically, “I have contacts with great artists abroad who are plagued daily by the beep in their heads. We are in talks to eventually organize a big benefit concert. The proceeds will go to research regarding this terrible condition.” Laughs, “Yes, of course the music will be less loud than usual.”

[Source: – Editorial – 10-02-2023]