Concerned about my future (singing)... Have you ever met/treated people like me?

Discussion in 'Dr. Stephen Nagler (Archived Answers)' started by Blueberry, Dec 2, 2014.

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    1. Blueberry

      Blueberry Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Hi Dr Nagler,

      First please excuse me for my poor english… I'm french :)

      Since May 2014 I've got a mild tinnitus due to acoustic trauma, with a tiny hearing loss (but the audiogram goes not above 8000 kHz, so… :) ). Well, I can manage. For now.

      Actually, I'm really concerned about the future… Until I've got tinnitus, I was used to sing very much, in a choir or as a soloist, with a piano or with an orchestra. The thing is : classical singers are trained to sing very loudly (we have to be heard when the full orchestra is playing !). According to Pr. Tomatis, "a good singer reaches 80-90 decibels when singing at half strength and reaches 150 decibels inside his own head when singing at full strength" (you can read this here : - I've also read this information in many pages in french !). So… conclusion : if I continue to sing like before, my tinnitus and my hearing loss will likely get worse (even if I've got ear plugs : ear plugs do not affect the sound in my own head of course, they can just protect me from the orchestra or from the other singers I suppose).

      I'm scared. I'm really scared. I can't imagine my life without singing. I suppose, like many people before me, I could cope with a more intrusive tinnitus… even if I need one, two years for that… but not with a VERY much more intrusive tinnitus ! And above all : I don't see how I could cope with a louder noise in my head if it means no more singing until my death !

      Have you ever met/treated people in my situation (classical singer) ? I've searched for testimonials, but found only two or three, and not very convincing…

      Thanks for you help !

    2. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:

      But here's something to think about, Myrtille. Back in 1978 when I was a resident in surgery and working 80-100 hours a week, I developed a tumor along the flexor tendon deep in my right palm. The result was that I was unable to open and close my hand past a certain point and clearly could no longer operate. At that time surgery was my life, just like being a classically trained singer is yours. Now I could have gone to most any orthopaedic surgeon or hand surgeon in town to have the tumor removed, and hope I'd have been OK. But instead I decided to go to the top man in the US at the time - because, like I said, surgery was everything to me. And, yes, six months later (after a rather complex operative procedure followed by a bunch of rehab) I was back resuming my training and my career as a surgeon.

      Well, you're a surgeon with a hand problem, aren't you? Except you're a singer with an auditory problem. Same thing as far as I can tell! My suggestion to you would be to do your due diligence and seek out the very best specialist in Europe for an in-person evaluation - or maybe two or three specialists. Spare no expense in seeing the top people in the field. I understand that you are "really scared" - just like I was when I could not open and close my hand. But do not let your fear block the road to your triumph.

      I will keep a good thought for you! We surgeons need to stick together! :)

      Dr. Stephen Nagler
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