Don’t Expect Pro Musicians to “Raise Awareness” of Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Awareness & Fundraising' started by Bill Arsenault, Oct 29, 2019.

    1. Bill Arsenault

      Bill Arsenault Member

      Location:
      Boston.
      Tinnitus Since:
      Permanent and severe since 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Black Sabbath.
      We all acknowledge that the general public does not seemed to concerned about tinnitus.
      So it goes without saying that Musicians virtually never receive even a shred of honest compassion for their tinnitus.
      And on top of that they are also constantly blamed for causing others to have it.

      The prevailing attitude toward them is:

      “Well - you deserve it”.
      “I hope it was all worth it”.
      “You only have yourself to blame”.
      “What did you expect to happen”.
      “You should’ve known better”.
      “Good- now you know how it feels”.
      “Karma’s a bitch ain’t it”.
      Etc......

      So don’t expect them to go out of their way to support the cause.
      It’s not necessarily because they don’t care.
      It’s because nobody else does.

      It would be like chain smokers and alcoholics raising awareness for Lung and Liver Donations and Transplants.
      Nobody really cares.
      Or they at least probably have better things to concern themselves with.

      Also, musicians spend most of their time around other musicians who either already have tinnitus or are well on their way - so making a big deal about it around them is frowned upon to say the least.

      In my experience I have found that many musicians with severe tinnitus are actually very sympathetic for those people who have developed tinnitus through no fault of their own or for no apparent reason.

      That just does not seem fair to them.

      Kind of like how a dying 85-year-old cigarette smoker might feel when they see a non-smoker dying of lung cancer at 40.
       
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    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      I hear you and a lot of what you say is true. However, be in no doubt, no matter who the person is whether musician, politician, doctor etc. If tinnitus becomes severe and intrusive enough, and this is sustained, a person will make a very big deal of it because it will affect their mental and emotional wellbeing to such an extent, they will have no other choice than to complain about it and seek medical help in order to get some relief from the misery they are in. Musicians that say they have severe tinnitus and are still able to continue playing their music without a care in the world, are able to do this, because the tinnitus has not reached a level yet that has affected them in the way I have described above.

      If that day ever comes and I hope it doesn't, I assure you they will stop playing their loud music.

      Michael
       
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    3. HeavyMantra
      Bugridden

      HeavyMantra Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017. Worsened 10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Headphones and/or HPPD?
      I would hope most people realize it's the venue, not the musicians that decide just how dangerous the sound levels are

      There are exceptions of course
       
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    4. JohnAdams
      Festive

      JohnAdams Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Vatican
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 1st 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Aspirin Toxicity/Possibly Noise
      O rly?
      Have you ever heard of marketing? They have to keep up an image to keep their sales up. Kvetching about tinnitus isn't a good look for a musician.
       
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    5. all to gain

      all to gain Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      never trust a doctor
      It's probably more to do with musicians being told not to discuss or make a big deal about their tinnitus as 1) it's bad for their image 2) it will make the music industry look bad and hits sales etc and 3) getting insurance for gigging may become a problem. And there may be other reasons.

      Basically, the music industry is just that... an industry... that wants to make money. Similarly, it wouldn't surprise me if hearing aid manufacturers etc do everything in their power to put a halt to research into hearing loss and tinnitus. Lots of money at stake!! Screw the individuals on the battlefield of concerts and festivals!! Just ask real life soldiers who come back all broken from war!!

      We live in a world of greed. Our own greed is getting a cure for this affliction ASAP! Record companies' is sales!
       
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    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Bill Arsenault

      Bill Arsenault Member

      Location:
      Boston.
      Tinnitus Since:
      Permanent and severe since 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Black Sabbath.
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Bill Arsenault

      Bill Arsenault Member

      Location:
      Boston.
      Tinnitus Since:
      Permanent and severe since 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Black Sabbath.
      I have no doubt that those with sustained catastrophic tinnitus are fully incapacitated by it to the point where they feel they are left with very few or even no choices regarding many aspects of their life.

      When someone with severe tinnitus ends up half insane from not sleeping and eating because of depression and anxiety and cannot focus or think straight for even brief moments throughout a long day - all bets are off.

      As far as I know everyone is still human in this world.

      So I agree that almost without exception the worst cases of tinnitus must be thoroughly devastating and will force a change of lifestyle to say the least.

      But then there are also rare exceptions to everything.

      Some humans are capable of briefly rising above even the most severe adversity imaginable in order to accomplish mind blowing feats.

      But it’s a more recent example of overcoming adversity that still lingers in my mind.

      If that kid Arron the rock climber could cut off his own trapped limb, loose all that blood and still climb out of that crevice and drag his dehydrated, starved and injured body back to civilization-

      then I have little doubt that there are musicians with catastrophic tinnitus who would be capable and willing to get back on stage to do a few reunion gigs for a few quick million if they felt like it was financially a life or death situation for them and their family.

      I apologize for overstating the obvious and being melodramatic.
      My only point being is that there are rare brief exceptions to almost everything.

      So if anyone ever see’s a musician who has claimed to have severe tinnitus still doing a gig -
      don’t be so quick to judge and say it must not be that bad then.
      Maybe it’s not- but maybe it is.

      I know that Steve Lukather and Al Dimeola
      have it really bad - it has severely impacted their lifestyle and they do complain about it constantly.

      They are both still active musicians to some extent- but have admitted that they will be forced to call it quits soon because of tinnitus.

      Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton have both already
      quit because of it - yet still occasionally manage to rise above it to play a gig under certain circumstances.

      But most of the time they just can’t do it.


      And to Mike.
      Hope all is well.
      I always look for your posts and read them thoroughly and I admire your vast contributions and sincerity.

      Your perspective is insightful in a way that balances things out on this forum- along with Bill Bauer and many others.

      I don’t always fully agree with some of your more extreme subjective statements.

      But as a sufferer I do tend to fully agree with your well known perspective of
      “ When it gets bad enough you WILL change your tune”.

      Thanks for everything Mike.
       
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    8. Nicholas2255

      Nicholas2255 Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Long history of noise or a bad cold
      Just my two cents but i've found lots of compassion and awareness in the classical music scene which is what i'm a part of. Playing in orchestra can be extremely loud, but from the professionals that I've worked with hearing loss has been discussed quite frequently and almost everyone I meet has a pair of earplugs and is aware of the importance of hearing protection and loud sounds in general.

      However I can't say how effective it is because almost every musician I know has some form of hearing loss or tinnitus.
       
    9. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      HI @Bill Arsenault

      Thanks for airing your views, as there is a lot of truth in your post and I agree with them.

      Thank you also for your kind comments about my posts they are much appreciated. I do put a lot of thought into them, particularly those on my Started Threads that have amassed to over sixty. Most have taken many hours to write, as I am quite pernickety resulting in many drafts before uploading them to this forum. Alas, even after all that I am not always completely happy.

      It would be a strange world if everyone liked what we say, do or indeed write on a particular subject. I love listening to Mozart and have his complete works on 170 CD box set. Some of his scared, keyboard and church compositions I find fatiguing and quite tiresome to listen to. By contrast some of his Symphonies, Concertos and Operas are simply divine. The same can be said for other composers. My favourite Author: Peter James, writes extremely well but not everyone likes his books. Therefore, I thank you for your candour and do not have a problem with anyone that doesn't agree with something that I write about tinnitus and wants to voice their opinion on it. We can't please everyone.

      However, I do not take kindly when comments are disrespectful and vitriolic towards me which I believe is uncalled for, when all I am trying to do is to be of some help. Those that I have placed on ignore have been this way, for their only purpose to me it seems, is to quarrel and be argumentative and that's not the reason I visit this forum. They don't come forward with any serious points of view or experiences of their own about tinnitus. Instead they quote information from websites often written by people that have never experienced this condition. What is so bemusing, these people rarely post any information or write a piece on tinnitus, that is of help anyone which rather proves the point I have mentioned.

      There are some very helpful people in this forum that know about tinnitus, and the way it affects a person's mental and emotional wellbeing and I always like to read what they have to say.

      Take care Bill and thank you once again for your kind comments.

      Michael
       
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    10. tiniturtle

      tiniturtle Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      3/19/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Paromomycin
      I'm a musician and I have tinnitus due to an antibiotic. I always used earplugs and hearing protection, and had above average hearing for decades.
       
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    11. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      temporarily banished from this plane of existence.
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
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    12. TheDanishGirl
      Sad

      TheDanishGirl Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2017 (H since 06/2017)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term noise exposure (headphones), maybe some stress.
      I don't understand how evidently many people have this attitude towards musicians with tinnitus. For me personally, I feel equally sorry for anybody who has this wretched condition. Musicians didn't ask for tinnitus. They just happen to have a passion for music and have therefore made it their profession, just as anybody else. Do they deserve tinnitus, for doing what they love in life? Of course not.

      But if the attitude towards them is like you say OP, then I can understand why they are not bending over backwards to raise awareness.
       
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    13. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Bill Arsenault

      Bill Arsenault Member

      Location:
      Boston.
      Tinnitus Since:
      Permanent and severe since 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Black Sabbath.
       
    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Bill Arsenault

      Bill Arsenault Member

      Location:
      Boston.
      Tinnitus Since:
      Permanent and severe since 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Black Sabbath.
      Thanks for taking the time to reply and in detail.
      I will check out Peter James - I’m sure I will find something enjoyable.
      Also, the Mozart box set makes perfect sense.
      I like that idea a lot.
      What an ingenious way to enjoy all of his work without being overwhelmed.
      Take care Michael.
       
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    15. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      This goes without saying, Michael. Musicians frequently talk about tinnitus both privately - amongst other musicians - and publicly. For example, here is Ian Hunter’s recent statement regarding his cancellation of the Mott The Hoople tour this year:

      It happened out of the blue three weeks ago; I got hit heavily by tinnitus. It’s unrelenting and on doctors orders, I’ve had to cancel everything for the time being.

      I’ve had it on and off for years, but it’s always slid away. This time it’s stayed - it knocks the stuffing and the confidence out of you.

      You lot know I love to tour - been doing it for 50 years. I hate to let everybody down, but I’m stuck and I can’t even go to the post box at the moment never mind a tour. Unhappy is not the word for it. I’ve had tests - no tumours, but it’s loud and incessant and frankly scary.

      I know this puts people out - believe me, I know. I just hope you’ll understand. You’re great fans and I’ll always appreciate you following me - I’m not everybody’s cup of tea!! Obviously the Ranters are bummed out as is Morgan ’n’ the Great Ariel Bender, to say nothing of the crew and business people involved. Thank you, Mike and Frank for your understanding.

      Where do we go from here - I’ve no idea kids. I’m just hoping it gets fed up with me eventually!! Don’t feel sorry for me - it’s been a great run if, indeed, it stays with me, and I have to stop now. Maybe it will sod off at some point - I just don’t know.

      I’ll keep you updated via my website. Once again, sorry to you all.”

      Brian Setzer, the legendary rockabilly guitarist, also cancelled a tour this year because of tinnitus. Here’s the opening paragraph from one article:

      Rockabilly legend Brian Setzer is suffering from “a severe case of tinnitus,” which has forced him to cancel his upcoming Christmas tour.

      This is nothing new, it’s been going on for decades amongst musicians. Many have it “severe” or “catastrophic.” Notable severe cases that still perform(ed) are aplenty; some examples are: Beethoven, Al Di Meola, Jeff Beck, Paul Gray, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Huey Lewis, etc, etc.

      At the same time, a good many quit when their tinnitus hits severe levels, like me. What I’ve found is that the ones most likely to pack it in are smalltime pro players, semi-pro and/or hobbyist players. High profile musicians seem to find it far more difficult to quit outright, and the common trend seems to be that they have some time off, often a year, or many years, and then they come back and tour again. I believe it’s much more difficult to completely separate yourself from that world when you’re a megastar, or have experienced the rush of playing in a stadium full of people and all the money and fame that goes with it. I believe it’s a world away from the average person quitting who doesn’t have that insane drive to continue performing for their millions of fans.

      It’s well known that Beethoven acquired severe tinnitus around the age of 26, but he continued performing for another 30 years in insanely loud concert halls in-spite of this fact. It’s well documented that he suffered a lot, so why did he continue? The answer is simple: legacy, and commitment to his passion.

      Paul Gray has a catastrophic case of tinnitus like Al Di Meola and they both perform live too. In their cases there’s a similar story. They both have a huge international fan base and a passion for the thrill of music that exceeds their suffering. The shit load of money they earn from it probably helps somewhat as well.

      This is Paul Gray in his own terms:

      “My tinnitus sounds like a permanent series of high pitched frequencies in both ears. The best way I can describe it is like the sound of crashing cymbals mixed with the whine of a jet engine.

      “It impacts on every single part of my life. It is very difficult to chill out and relax. I can’t partake in social events like going to the theatre or any live entertainment really. It’s far easier to just not go out at all.

      You can get to a very bleak place with it, and you have to lean to deal with it as there is no real alternative.


      My tinnitus has prevented me from enjoying a stress-free night out or even a stress-free day. The slightest noise can trigger a “fight or flight” reaction; somebody shouting, cars, the air brakes on buses, passing trains, music, even a door banging. The sound generated by something as innocent as a child’s laugh or the timbre of someone’s voice affects my condition in such a way it means that I am permanently on edge. Simple pleasures like going to the pub for a drink or going out for a meal are difficult as the banging and clinking of the glasses, loud voices and the sound of cutlery on plates is extremely uncomfortable, which make it impossible to relax.

      The earplugs buy me an hour or two on stage, so I have been doing a bit of selective playing again, but it’s not just the music, it’s the people shouting and clapping and clinking of glasses. I can’t stay with my friends after I have performed like I used to.”

      This was also the headline of a Paul Gray article:

      My tinnitus was so bad even the click of a light switch was agony

      With all this said, we also cannot ignore the fact that Craig Gill committed suicide because of the absolute torment tinnitus caused him. There are many many variables at play with this condition so one description will never really apply to everyone.
      This isn’t necessarily true, though, and is a massive simplification of a complex condition. I have spoken to famous producers and musicians about this at length and what you said above doesn’t entirely correlate to the real world.

      Don’t get me wrong, severe tinnitus is no joke and can totally and utterly crush a person in a heartbeat. What we ultimately need is a treatment that goes after the cause and brings the volume down. That way people can continue their lives and professions without tinnitus impacting on their lives at all.
       
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    16. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      I stand by what I have said: If tinnitus reaches a severe debilitating level no matter who the person is, they will not be able to sustain it and continue to subject themselves to loud sound or whatever is causing the increase in noise. No two people experience tinnitus the same but one thing is for certain, each person has a limit to how much they can cope with it's just a matter of reaching that critical point.

      Michael
       
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    17. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      But this ultimately means that you fail to recognise that Craig Gill’s tinnitus was so bad that he killed himself, and he never stopped playing. You are also ignoring many other testimonials from other musicians like Al Di Meola, Jeff Beck, Paul Gray, Beethoven, etc, etc. They have it really bad and they still play.

      How do you explain that?

      These are Al Di Meola’s words:

      "I have a severe, what they categorize as 'catastrophic tinnitus.' Catastrophic means that the level is so loud that it's off the charts.

      I have to sleep with white noise and take medication and all kinds of stuff. And it's 24/7, it doesn't fluctuate, ever. It's just super-loud screaming in my head that I can't shut off."

      Are you saying he’s a liar? He’s not the only one either. It’s quite common amongst high-profile players as they have experienced a life-time around loud noise. Far more than the average person, so it stands to reason that a good percentage of performing artists will have very severe tinnitus.
       
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    18. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      I have no wish to delve into this subject further but respect your point of view and ask that you respect mine. Therefore, we agree to disagree. Craig Gill whom I have no knowledge of but sorry to know he killed himself. Causing his own demise is indication of what I have previously said and will continue to say: A person no matter who they are, has a limit to how much severity in tinnitus they can take because once this is reached, they will have to stop subjecting themselves to loud sounds in order to try and get some relief or, in the unfortunate circumstance seek to cause their own demise.

      I am only dealing with Noise induced tinnitus, brought about by being continuously exposed to loud sounds. I am an avid listener to classical music although not a connoisseur of it. Although Beethoven had tinnitus it was not "Noise induced". His tinnitus was caused by a problem within the middle ear which also contributed to his deafness.

      I wish you well.
      Michael
       
    19. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      How could you possibly know that?
       
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    20. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      I’m not going to drag this out so we can agree to disagree, but I’ll finish by saying this:

      None of us can ever know what another person experiences when it comes to tinnitus. We only know our own experiences, and that’s not enough to presume to know how another person will behave. This is what’s known as a cognitive bias. The level at which your tinnitus caused you maximum misery may actually only have been half of what Al Di Meola experiences, for example. This situation could obviously be reversed and it could also be extended to any deviation on a scale from mild to severe between two people.

      The point is, nobody knows! To presume to know how loud somebody else’s tinnitus is and whether or not they’d stop playing live music is completely flawed as an argument. There are too many variables. I’d agree that the average person would stop playing live if their tinnitus became “severe” (this is still subjective), but I would not be able to extend that to a blanket statement of saying “everyone would quit” without my logic being flawed.
       
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    21. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Nice to hear from you @Jazzer and hope all is well with you as can be.

      My senior hearing therapist, who was born with tinnitus, told me about Beethoven and the type of tinnitus he had caused by an inner ear problem. It was not noise induced.

      Michael
       
    22. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Hi Michael
      - but how could your therapist possibly know that?
      He was not always deaf.
      His hearing deteriorated as life went on.
       
    23. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Indeed, I agree with you but that is what she told me when I was having TRT. One day after a session had finished we were talking about classical music as she also listen to it quite a lot. There was a large scale cross section model of an ear placed on her desk showing all it's parts. She indicated the middle ear and said: Beethoven's tinnitus was not noise induced but was caused by an inner ear problem. She mentioned the condition but I cannot remember the name and I don't want to say something that may not be correct.

      I agree he was not always deaf. Sorry I cannot give you anymore information just quoting what I was told.

      Michael
       
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