“Turn Down for What?” by Tiffany Storrs

Gael Hannan
August 2, 2023
Hearing health advocate, author and actress, Tiffany Storrs, who wears a Cochlear implant, unpacks why you really should.

I’ll admit, DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s popular hit “Turn Down for What” has catchy lyrics and a funky beat, but in a literal context, “Fire up that loud” screams a hazardous message to directly ignore the fact that more than 1 billion young adults are at risk for hearing loss for doing what the song says to do; to not turn down the audio dial.

No, I don’t expect to win a popularity contest by asking you to turn down your loud music. Instead, I challenge you to increase your own awareness of what’s considered safe listening levels. As a late-deafened person, who experienced sudden hearing loss, I will caution you that, in most cases, hearing loss is irreversible.


I love music just as much as you do.

Music has been and always will be, my most utilized form of therapy. I have a playlist for everything. A playlist for getting out of a mood, a playlist for getting in a mood, a playlist to help me remember different phases of my life, even a playlist of songs I wish were written about me, basically every John Mayer song!

I appreciate sound in general, just like you do. The difference is that I lost my ability to hear through no fault of my own. I am eternally grateful that I still get to enjoy all the hearing components of my life thanks to the progressive modern technology that is the Cochlear Implant. Yes, I had to relearn how to hear electronically, and no, I cannot hear sounds in their organic natural form. But I can still hear them, and that is a gift I will never take for granted. I’ve learned to value conversation even more now, not just for exchanging words, but for the connection it brings.

We were all made to connect deeply with one another. It is our birthright to connect.

There are so many ways you can directly protect your own hearing health.

Hear me out on these suggestions:

  • Get an annual hearing check. Start there.
  • May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. Every May, set up a calendar reminder to schedule a hearing exam – find out what your baseline hearing levels “look like” on paper, as hearing loss itself is invisible.
  • Rule of thumb for safe listening – keep the volume below 60%.
  • Download a Noise Decibel Meter app to your phone. The exactness of the Decibel X app is my personal favorite.
  • Limit your exposure to loud noise. Period.
  • Reduce both how long and how loud you use personal audio devices such as earbuds. Use the 60% audio level/60-minute rule for duration and volume.

All that said, I value the gift of sound and the gift of silence in equal measure.

Believe it or not, my hearing loss does not have me in a constant state of FOMO (fear of missing out). JOMO, the joy of missing out, is a better description.  In fact, I can honestly say I am grateful for my hearing loss win!

As a high-sensory person, the sound-off option has been a sanity saver in many airports, overly loud restaurants, while sleeping, during prayer, in times of concentration, and deep soul dives. Sound-off has gifted me with a new personal boundary protector. When the bickering in my household turns into yelling or language becomes disrespectful, I make a statement to take off my implants and announce where I can be found once the calm is restored.

When I climb into bed at night and remove my CI’s my entire world stops moving. It is in these quiet moments with myself at night that I find restoration. I get to access the gift of silence anytime I choose. This is not a loss. It is my sacred superpower.

Tiffany Storrs is an actor, author, and award-winning hearing health advocate. Originally from New Mexico, she now lives in Colorado with her family. This is excerpted from her memoir, “Adaptability: A True Story About Transforming Pain Into Purpose.” For more, see tiffanystorrs.com. IG: tiffanystasnystorrs

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