Any Musicians Still Active Playing Music?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Kerry H, Mar 17, 2014.

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Have you continued playing music after the onset of tinnitus?

  1. Yes

    81.3%
  2. No

    18.8%
tinnitus forum
    1. Kerry H
      Balanced

      Kerry H Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago, IL
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      I'm a part time guitar teacher and hoping to make it a full time gig somewhere down the line. I can't help but think whether or not T will throw a wrench in the gears. I'm just worried that it may get worse and I won't be able to continue.

      I wanted to know how many musicians are out there and are still continuing to play. Have you done anything to help cope? What are some of the challenges you've experienced? Any positives of playing music with T?

      I used to play in a hardcore punk band for 6 years and didn't wear ear plugs. My T didn't develop because of any sudden loud noise exposure, but I'm sure being exposed to the loud sounds for so long has not helped. I'm hoping though that I can continue my passion for music regardless of the T now.
       
    2. JTP
      No Mood

      JTP Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shit happens
      Hi, I am still playing with bands. I use earplugs and won't go into same room with King Kong playing drums:)
       
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    3. Kerry H
      Balanced

      Kerry H Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago, IL
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      @JTP - Haha yeah! It's funny you say that, because the drummer of my old band was a beast and I never wore ear plugs. I'm glad there are some people with T continuing music. I know I've read that some have given it up, and it's such a part of my identity, that I don't want to have to loose that.
       
    4. cullenbohannon
      Thinking

      cullenbohannon Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2014
      There are tons of musicians with t. Get a good pair of musicians ear plugs and see how it feels.

       
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    5. Steve H
      Creative

      Steve H Director Staff Benefactor Team Trobalt Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      York, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      2003
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Flu, Noise-induced, Jaw trauma
      I still play but I don't do anything live any more. I got more into the production side of things and these days I alternate between the computer and guitar. Don't really do the electric so much as I find the frequencies a bit harsh, so it's acoustic all the way.

      But if you want to continue live performing there's no reason you can't with good musicians earplugs, there are quite a few high profile musicians with T that carry on.
       
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    6. Kerry H
      Balanced

      Kerry H Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago, IL
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      @Steve H - Yeah I play a lot of acoustic myself now these days. I haven't played in a live band since T, but I still hope to some day. I'll definitely have to invest in a good pair of ear plugs. Thanks!
       
    7. Steve H
      Creative

      Steve H Director Staff Benefactor Team Trobalt Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      York, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      2003
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Flu, Noise-induced, Jaw trauma
      It's almost a natural musical progression too, as you get older it gets a bit more chilled and a bit less angry.

      As a positive I think that having tinnitus gave me more of a direction with music. Being hyper aware of sound can also be a good thing when it comes to mixing, I'm much more tuned to bad sounding overtones.
       
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    8. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Hi Kerry,
      I know so many musicians who have continued playing.
      I am a musician also. It can be hard at first with t onset, as sound sensitivity can be an issue. But that is often an alert response, or a physical response that most often fades with time. I am in the early stages of t. Music is my life. I have had to put non acoustic music and study on hold for a while. But of all the musicians I know with t and have spoken to personally, they say they are back to their full gigs within the first year. It just takes a few months to get there. Great you are still teaching. Keeping your ears exposed and active to moderate sound is good. Is your onset recent?
       
    9. Kerry H
      Balanced

      Kerry H Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago, IL
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      @Lisa88 - yeah my T is pretty recent. Tomorrow will be 3 months exactly. I'm glad a lot more people continue music than I once thought. I remember reading about a couple people who decided to give it up. Thank you!
       
    10. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Kerry, I am at 4 months since onset (caused by local anesthetic). We are still young in this. Just want to mention that a leading t doctor and researcher told me that of sudden onset t cases, 80% substantially subside in the first year. He is leading one of the most promising studies on t and the brain to date. So I choose to believe him and keep hoping.
      Also, you may want to look at all the musicians who have t, including Sting, Bono, Barbara Streisand, WillIAm, Eric Clapton ... the list is endless, and inspirational. Here is a longer list, but know there are more than those on here:
      http://www.ata.org/music/musicians
      You never have to give up your passion, your dream. You will be OK.
       
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    11. Grace
      No Mood

      Grace Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/14/2013
      Since getting T in november i have not banged on my drums and am scared even though i would deff wear full protection... Would i be more safer gettin custom molded ones from a ent and wearin defenders on top? That way if my T did get worse i can say i did the most i did to protect my ears.. Then again im just thinkin of buyin electronic drums since there not soo loud and volume can be adjusted...
       
    12. Kerry H
      Balanced

      Kerry H Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago, IL
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      @Grace - yeah I would definitely try both molded ear plugs with defenders. Drums are a different story since you can't really turn down the volume. Maybe an electronic kit for now would be best until you feel comfortable playing a regular kit. Either way I hope you start jamming again soon. :)
       
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    13. Steven Blade
      Balanced

      Steven Blade Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2014
      I've been a drummer since age 5 and after 33 years, I have constant ringing in my ears. I've experienced it from time to time after shows, rehearsals or rocking out my headphones, but it's always gone away after a day or two. Unfortunately, the ringing has been constant for about 3 months now. The original thought was sinus related. But after treating that unsuccessfully, my doctor referred me to an ENT and prepped me for the road ahead......which inevitably led to the confirmed diagnosis of T last week. I had a gig at the end of February and the drums have been in the cases since. I have another kit set up at my bass player's home studio that I use for recording and live jazz workshop sessions. I have engaged in two sessions (with ear plugs) a few weeks ago in that environment and it felt really good playing.....but that was a few weeks ago "pre" official diagnosis.

      Now that the T is confirmed and diagnosed, I've been afraid to set my drums up and play them at home because:
      1. The ear plugs allow me to hear the ringing more and.....
      2. I'm afraid I'm going to do more damage.

      But I'm not going to let it stop me from doing something that is such a big part of who I am. So, today was a big step. I set the kit up, plugged my ears (foam ear plugs that expand), and ripped down a couple tunes. It felt good. So good. Just what the doctor ordered. The biggest adjustment will be with my vocal and ear plugs. I can hear myself in my head but I think it's going to be a challenge hearing myself in the monitor blending with the other harmonies. But I'll figure it out.

      My friends, we as musicians have a gift. We can release and express our emotions artistically through music. Please don't let this get in the away of your ability to do that. We have a need. We have a passion. It's therapeutic in so many ways. I'm remaining optimistic that I fall in the 80% of T that goes away, but in the meantime, I will learn to live with it and will continue with my passion. Although I didn't ask, my ENT did not tell me that I should quit playing. He asked me if I've ever heard of Peter Townsend and told me to protect my ears.
       
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    14. yonkapin

      yonkapin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Melbourne, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2012
      There are so many musicians with tinnitus it's crazy. I continue to make music, I'm just a lot more careful when it comes to volume and the length of my sessions.

      I highly recommend any musician to get properly fitted musician ear plugs for live gigs, etc. They are pricey but so worth it.
       
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    15. Kerry H
      Balanced

      Kerry H Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago, IL
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      @Steven Blade - I'm glad you're still jamming. Way to be optimistic about it all. Keep it up man.

      @yonkapin - Are there any particular fitted ear plugs you recommend? I've been thinking about getting a pair, but am not really sure what to look for or what makes one better than the other.
       
    16. yonkapin

      yonkapin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Melbourne, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2012
      Etymotic/Elacin are probably the most popular and renowned for quality, I've also heard good things from top tier musicians about the brand ACS but haven't done a heap of research into them. I'd probably go for one of them. If you can afford to, get all 3 attenuation filters (-9, -15, -25db) - allows you to be a bit flexible depending what you're going to use them for. For live music/concerts/jamming, get used to the -25db filters IMO - offers the best protection, it takes a few times out to get used to them but once you do, you'll wonder why you never bothered with plugs before. You can use the -9/-15db filters when you go to cinemas, house parties, bars and what not.
       
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    17. Kerry H
      Balanced

      Kerry H Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago, IL
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Thanks @yonkapin, I'll definitely look into those!
       
    18. teacherman
      Buzzed

      teacherman Member

      Location:
      The Land of Enchantment, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/27/2013
      I use Westone musician's ear plugs with 15 db filters. Fantastic plugs. I continue to play my bass and perform every weekend. I'm just more aware of loud sounds and use the plugs all the time. The rest of the band uses IEMs and when I developed T I couldn't use them anymore, so I was able to get a small monitor right by me to hear everyone.
       
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    19. Steven Blade
      Balanced

      Steven Blade Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2014
      Thanks! Westone's "The Concert" look like the way to go. It's exactly what I'm looking for and I'm going to go ahead and order a pair. For now, I'm using 30DB foam plugs. Bought a jar of 50 pairs cheap at the local pharmacy. I'm assuming that they should be okay for now in terms of protection?
       
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    20. teacherman
      Buzzed

      teacherman Member

      Location:
      The Land of Enchantment, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/27/2013
      I'm sure your plugs are fine. I used Etymotic Research ER20 plugs until I got the molded plugs. They are fantastic plugs as well and inexpensive. They just lower the volume. When I first developed T, I got busy researching ear plugs for musicians.

      I just got back from my audiologist--for the past 3 weeks she wanted me to try out this Zen program--basically hearing aid devices with relaxing sounds. They worked okay, but when the T was rockin' they didn't do much plus the price for them is outrageous. I returned them and have found masker sounds on my iphone for much much less. Anyway, the point I was going to make with the fitted plugs was I have been using the 15 db filters but found that they were blocking out too much of the music and I was having to turn my amp and monitor up, so I returned the filters and am going to try 9 db. I have to go without them for about a week, so I will go back to the ER20 plugs.
       
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    21. Steven Blade
      Balanced

      Steven Blade Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2014
      Thanks- 25 db is specified for drummers, but I still need to be able to hear my vocal in the mix....so I'm thinking of going with the 15db filters. Or do you think I'll still have trouble hearing myself? 9DB is recommended for vocalists but I want to be sure to protect my ears from the drums.

      The ER20 plugs look like a slam dunk too.....and cheap. I may start with those until I get the molded plugs. The disposable foam plugs work great for protection, but the hgh frequencies are totally gone.
       
    22. teacherman
      Buzzed

      teacherman Member

      Location:
      The Land of Enchantment, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/27/2013
      It's hard to say. Since your a drummer you're exposed to more direct pounding than me being a bass player. I'd go with the 15 db. You have like 30 days to exchange filters. Are you main vocal or backup? I know of musicians that sing main vocals and use 15 db.
       
    23. teacherman
      Buzzed

      teacherman Member

      Location:
      The Land of Enchantment, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/27/2013
      Another thought...you could browse a drummer forum and get good advice from fellow drummers who use musicians earplugs.
       
    24. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      I went acoustic with an occasional amp out away from me.
      I've had T since 74 and I knew someday my luck would run out. My T is much worse today because I did something stupid....
      this is from a previous post of mine....

      After about an hour of loud music a few years ago, I had to walk out and leave my musician friends on their own. I was sitting at the organ and just couldn't take it anymore. Marshall stacks, miked drums and LOTS of monitors were eating through my plugs and protective headset. I thought I was doubly protected. I tried to lie to myself that night and thought I could get away with it. I should have known better. One thing I've learned for sure, if my T settles down, It can come right back where it left off, even years later. I KNEW this, but playing music at this place sounded like too much fun. I'd been living with T already for a couple decades, trying to be careful.

      It was just too damn loud. I waved goodbye, and took off with my headgear still on.
      When I left, I stood outside hearing my ears ringing like never before. It was way worse than any after-concert damage I ever had. I knew I was in trouble. I drove home, quiet and spooky and my wife knew something was wrong. I could hardly hear her talk. I woke up to the worst morning of my life. I was half dizzy, my usual high pitched T had sunk down in frequencies to an annoying whistle or trumpet like sound and LOUD as hell in each ear, BUT the two separate sounds were NOT in tune. It was maddening and LOUD. So loud. I wanted to run or scream or cry... a 35 year old man. Then the worst part, my girl and wife were talking, and I started talking and all sounds were distorted as if I'd truly blown my eardrums out. Now I'm thinking, "Was it worth it, for a few loud songs?"

      I thought it would settle down during the day. It didn't. I was scared, real scared. I'd NEVER heard anything like this. For the first time I was also experiencing the throbbing that comes with this kind of damage and found that stuffing cotton in my ears took away some of the throbbing. People at work noticed this change in my personality. I was quiet and scared and anxious. I had hope that it would settle down, though. So for months I wore my cotton and continued to hear the 'evil horns' in my head and everyone's voice sounded like a monster movie. And my ears throbbed. It went on for two years. Very slowly it all went back down to my normal hiss and squeal. Voices sounded clear again, but I still can't sit in an acoustic music setting without my cotton. And sometimes now just pulling masking tape off a spool it too much!!

      If you want to experience a taste of Mega T (and I don't think you do), go in a music store, talk into a mike going through a distortion pedal, then have a guy with a trumpet on your left and a bugle on the right and tell them to blow different out of tune notes and not stop, then have a guy poke your eardrums with the tips of drumsticks.
      That's MEGA T.
       
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    25. Steven Blade
      Balanced

      Steven Blade Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2014
      I'm a back up so I need to hear the other harmonies to blend. I'm sure with a good monitor mix, I should be okay. The exchange window helps with the filters. I'm sure there is some trial and error ahead of me. And thanks for the info- it's very helpful.
       
    26. Steven Blade
      Balanced

      Steven Blade Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2014
      Wow. I think you ventured a road we are all trying to stay away from. Hopefully, that isn't something I ever have to deal with. I play with a few different bands, the loudest being an 8 piece dance/party band w/keys, horns, bass, drums and guitar and although we like to sound good, I don't think we are flirting with noise levels quite as loud as what you experienced. But at the same time, I'm very conscious of the fact that it doesn't have to be that loud to do damage. I'm glad to hear that your Mega T returned to "normal" and hope the with the right type of protection, I won't have to deal with that. Thanks for sharing-
       
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    27. Sean

      Sean Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01-01-2011
      Kerry: i had T spike like crazy after i went to the concert. Please read music lovers post.
      Once you have Tinnitus, i my opinion- ONE SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM LOUD NOISE.

      It was 4 months of torture and agony for me.
       
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    28. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Sean is correct.
       
    29. Kerry H
      Balanced

      Kerry H Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago, IL
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      @Sean - Sorry to hear you had a spike, man. I'm sure that was very difficult to deal with. Is it back down to where it was before now, or is it louder? Also, did you wear properly fitted earplugs and still get a spike?

      I'm just torn between whether playing live is something I could do again in the future, or not. I know you and @I who love music had a pretty bad spike from a concert. But I also know, if you read that list that @Lisa88, there are quite a few well known musicians with T still playing huge concerts.
       
    30. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      The sound sensitivity that can develop with onset of t, often fades with time.
      Many musicians get back to their music, and many of those stay protected with musicians earplugs with different attenuations, so that the music is still clear as you play, but you remain protected. Don't judge on whether you will play again where you are now. Give it some time, as the t itself will subside, and the sound sensitivity and somatic response surely will.
       
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