You know the feeling.
You’re working on a big project with a very strict deadline. You’re not even sure how you’re able to finish it in time.
And then it happens. You get sick.
The fever hits and on top of that, the nasal congestion. What happens with congestion? Because the nose, ears and throat are all connected, the congestion may block (clog) the ears too. You may lose your ability to hear 100%. You lose your most important tool.
“May I panic now?!” you may think to yourself.
Believe me, I’ve been there. Often. Flu and congestion can be a nightmare for music producers. You may not have time to wait for weeks for the congestion to clear to get the hearing back.
Fortunately (or unfortunately) I have a vast amount of experience with this scenario. Here’s how to battle and overcome the issue.
1. Walk or Run Outdoors
After being inside sick for days, you need fresh air. Go for a walk or easy run outdoors. Fresh air and exercise creates movement and all the nasty stuff starts dribbling out.
NOTE: Don’t exercise when you’re sick! Wait until the fever is gone. You don’t want to make yourself worse.
It’s scientifically proven that a sauna might reduce and prevent flu symptoms. Not only does the temperature kill bacteria but also the super-hot steam helps clearing out the congestion. If there’s not a sauna nearby, try a steam room or hot shower and inhale the hot steam.
3. Neti Pot
I found neti pot few years ago and couldn’t live without it. It’s amazing. Using a neti pot (in combination of DIY saline solution) helps nasal congestion by thinning out the mucus and getting it out. It may be a little uncomfortable at first, but after a few times it’s like nothing. Try it!
4. Valsalva Maneuver
To perform this maneuver, take a deep breath and pinch your nose. With your mouth closed, attempt to exhale gently through your nose. This should create enough pressure to “pop” or unclog the ear. Be very careful and don’t blow too hard to avoid damaging your eardrum. [Source]
5. Do The Things You Can Do
It may take a moment for you to get the hearing back to normal. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t work on music at all. You just have to recognize the tasks you can and cannot do with clogged ears.
When the ears are clogged, you lose only a part of the hearing. Personally, I lose the ability to hear details and frequencies properly. I take that into consideration when I have to make music in the situation and I avoid all tasks that requires me to pay close attention to details and frequencies. I can still compose, arrange and prepare the project for the final mix.
I battle with clogged ears on a consistent basis and have found these tricks extremely helpful. I highly encourage you to give them a try for few days. Go for a walk or easy run outdoors, hit the sauna or steam room, use the neti pot and after that try carefully the valsalva maneuver. This routine has helped me insanely much the past few years when battling with flus and congestion.
Are you battling a flu right now? Let me know if you’re going to try this! 🙂