So Musicians...

Discussion in 'Support' started by derpytia, Jul 7, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. derpytia
      Pooptoast

      derpytia Member

      Location:
      Rescue, California
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing loss / ETD
      I am a musician with some high frequency hearing loss and tinnitus. I will have tinnitus for the rest of my life, I know that for a fact. I've been going to college for a BA degree in Music Industry Studies so I can get a career in music. I have been actively a part of the music scene for basically all of my life. I can't afford to go backwards and choose to do something else because I do not have the time or the money (I am also really bad at math and science hahaha).

      And I now have tinnitus as a life long companion.

      My question for the musicians out there (and I mean the ones who still actively participate in music or have a career in music, not the ones who have quit or given it up) is how do you do it? How do you keep your career going and continue to perform or listen to music with this condition? Because I want to continue.

      What are things you have done that have worked? How do you get through your day constantly surrounded by music? How do you go around your colleagues know what a taboo subject tinnitus is in the music community?

      Basically I'm asking, what should I do? How do I do it? Because I don't have other options really and it would be my greatest unhappiness to have to give all of this up.
       
    2. Quentino
      Tired

      Quentino Member

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Decrease of Hearing i presume.
      As nobody answered your question ( quite specific question), i will answer.

      I have a friend who got his T at a huge rock festival. T and a little hyperacusis.

      He is totally habituated. He plays a lot of instruments. He is not a professionnal musician, but he said with very good earplugs, he goes to a lot of concerts.

      He sais he has never been to so much concerts since he got his T. If it's too much and his H reacts ( suffering), he leaves.

      In facts, his T seems to not react to noise. He learned how his T and H reacts, and his limits.

      Don't know if this will help you. ( i've seen that your T is getting louder)
      Maybe you have already done that, but personnalized ear plugs works very well, even if quite expensive. Maybe one day your T will stabilize. Yous should get personnalized earplugs, i think it's the best thing to do...
       
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    3. mmacabre
      Ape-like

      mmacabre Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Why do you think you'll have it for the rest of your life? The longer you stay alive the more improbable it becomes that there wouldn't be a cure or treatment
       
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    4. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador Team Tech

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      I understand completely. Music is all I do. I have been struggling that with the thought of doing something else but have decided that I can still do music.
      I teach and perform and produce/record and have a BA in music performance. I am trying hard to not obsess about my t. It can and must be done. Message me and I'll tell you other tactics/coping techniques I take...I'm starting CBT too .
       
    5. derpytia
      Pooptoast

      derpytia Member

      Location:
      Rescue, California
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing loss / ETD
      Thanks :) I'm working a summer job right now (it's retail but it pays) and it's helping me keep my mind off it and I'm getting better at ignoring it for periods of time so that's helping. And my job isn't making my T louder and the noise level isn't too bad (well, unless somebody has a screaming/crying child). I still miss being able to use my headphones but oh well. I'm waiting for my GP's referral to a CBT therapist to go through (it takes forever) and im waiting for my custom musicians earplugs to come in from my audiologist. I'm also working on some music for my senior project this upcoming college year. I've got 9 months to get it done so I have to start now.

      The T still bugs me at night but I can usually take melatonin if I absolutely cannot sleep. I ran out of my low dose Xanax for the days that my T gets me all high anxiety so I'll be refilling that soon. So far so good. :)
       
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    6. Denny

      Denny Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Jan 2013
      I use to play guitar, bass, keyboards and a little drums as a hobby
      since I was a kid. After getting T i gave my equipment away to friends.
      I play a little keyboard/piano with my kids but not too long because
      it upsets me i had to give up a hobby i loved.
       
    7. MarkD
      Fine

      MarkD Member

      Location:
      Sydney, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2014
      I respect your courage and conviction but how do you know you will have it for the rest of your life? Did a doctor tell you this?
       
    8. derpytia
      Pooptoast

      derpytia Member

      Location:
      Rescue, California
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing loss / ETD
      I got tinnitus from a combo of things that I didn't know were not good for my ears. ETD in one of them from out of nowhere in February, listening to music for hours over headphones that were non-noise canceling, and I'm a music major so I have noise exposure from going to and from class on campus and in class too. I also already had very very slight high frequency hearing loss from childhood that had never bothered me or done anything to me until now. It is most certain that I will have it for the rest of my life. I don't need a doctor to tell me that.
       
    9. MarkD
      Fine

      MarkD Member

      Location:
      Sydney, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2014
      Interesting, everyone's situation is different. I do know someone that's about 55 yrs, is almost completely deaf with a hearing aid and he had chronic tinnitus as well. He's a really smart dude and he got his tinnitus right down to a low level even though his tinnitus was most likely due to hearing loss.

      I don't want to give you false hope but you're still young and there's always a chance your T will improve or go away with the right approach.
       
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    10. yonkapin

      yonkapin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Melbourne, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2012
      What are your goals with your music? Are you a performer, composer, producer, sound engineer, DJ, promoter, band memeber, etc?

      You can definitely continue with your career, you just have to re-adjust your approach and do everything in the smartest (and safest) way possible.

      So, if you're a performer, playing in ensembles or orchestras: wear ear plugs while rehearsing and performing. Invest in a pair of musician's ear plugs and get multiple filters so you can adjust the attenuation to adjust your environment and requirements, eg. you might use -15db filters for smaller ensemble performances and then -25db filters when performing with a larger group.

      If you're in a band or performing with a live PA, use in-ear monitors when performing live.

      If you're working in the studio and doing some recording, or working on a mix down then that's not too bad because you have control over the volume while working on audio. Work at lower volumes and take regular breaks every hour (or even less) to avoid ear fatigue. If you're recording a band or performer, wear plugs if you need to be in the same room and help set up equipment.

      Similarly to working in a studio, if you're working at home on your computer and doing mostly some form of composition or production using software, you have complete control of the volume so find a level that you are comfortable with and won't irritate your tinnitus.

      If you're strictly a performer and are finding you are having trouble practicing or performing at the moment because you are relatively new to tinnitus and finding it hard to adjust: maybe take some time off and continue to be creative by approaching your music in a new way. For example: work on doing some compositions using software at low volume, that way you can continue to develop your musicianship while you adjust to your tinnitus and then as you feel more comfortable you can slowly return to whatever your main goal is.

      Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that you just need to re-think your approach to achieving your goals in music. Look at what you're current goals are in the music industry and do research into ways that you can continue to try and pursue them while ensuring that you continue to protect your hearing. Don't be afraid to let other musicians know about your tinnitus either, and don't allow yourself to suffer in uncomfortable situations because of peer pressure.

      Hope that sort of helps.
       
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    11. derpytia
      Pooptoast

      derpytia Member

      Location:
      Rescue, California
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing loss / ETD
      @yonkapin thanks for that post, it does help. it's really reassuring to hear that from you. i just hope that my peers are understanding when it comes to tinnitus and that i can work up enough courage to be comfortable enough to let them know about it.
       
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    12. Nich
      Batty

      Nich Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Arkansas
      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2014
      My T is only a month old but I think you and I have a similar set of basic fears. While I'm not a musician (I was actually a vocal music major until I switched majors to do medicine) I sit in a very quiet office and have to focus and concentrate all day to do my job. Seriously I sit in 7 hours of silence a day usually. When T hit my FIRST concern was is this going to ruin my career. How the hell can I concentrate through this. Panic and anxiety were tremendous.
      Then last week I went on vacation. And you know what, when I wasn't confronted with my fears everyday the T was better and my anxiety went down. And i took a lot of time to just listen to the T and realize it did nothijg to me unkess i reacted to it. This week my concentration has been back to normal. Its not the T that's been hindering me. It's the anxiety and panic being triggered by the T. And I've still got some work to do on that front. But the noise in our heads will never keep us from doing what we love to do. Only our reaction to it. That may not be helpful at all, but so far it seems the lesson this thing has taught me. 5 years from now you will probably not even notice your T while you play beautiful music. But as the other, more experienced folks have suggested, I'd just work hard to protect your hearing from now on. I'm sorry we have to deal with this stupid condition. Here's hoping both our T will go away or quiet down to where we don't notice it anymore.!
       
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    13. Joshthebear!
      Badass

      Joshthebear! Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      31.03.2013
      Hi derpytia I got my tinnitus from a head injury,I play guitar and love it I either play quietly or pop some moldex ear plugs in and crank it up and feel the noise! But never give up on music because one day you may find its your only escape! If you need to talk am here !
       
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    14. Ken219
      No Mood

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      What exactly are musician's ear plugs? Do the professionals have wired ear plugs so something so they hear themselves at a safe level while the amps are killing others' ears?
       
    15. RaZaH
      Not amused

      RaZaH Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Reykjavík, Iceland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012/04
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Benzo + loud noise
      I am a sound engineer and musician full time. T has certainly affected my passion.
      Mostly I think its weird going from your ears being a source of pleasure to being a source of annoyance.
      I still produce music , cannot live without it.
       
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    16. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      You are still young and new to t. Sounds like your hearing loss was not acquired with your t. Your t could still fade or go completely. Do not reset your goals or dreams based on now. It will get easier. If you have hyperacusis with it, it will likely fade. And t will fade even if just by habituation. Do not evaluate in the here and now. Things will change for the better. Just do your studies as best you can (with musicians' earplugs if not acoustic), or try and focus on healing during this summer break, calming the central nervous system is key in the first year. You will be OK.
      p.s. 1 in 10 people have t. You will be surprised therefore how many musicians out there have it, including Streisand, Sting, Clapton, Bono ... the list is endless. Has not stopped them. It will not stop you. Give it time.
      From a fellow musician also in first year of t
       
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    17. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      p.p.s A leading t doctor and researcher told me that eighty percent of sudden onset t cases substantially reduce in the first year or two.
       
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    18. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      I grew up in a musical house with lots of instruments and brothers to annoy me. Band class and playing drums in a band in my teens fried my ears. REALLY fried them. I didn't know I had tinnitus. I didn't know it was a long lasting condition. When I was 14 I knew my ears would be ringing like crazy after the football game, playing the trombone sitting next to the drums, then I'd hurry up after halftime and set up my drums for the dances. One day around my senior year it hit me, "loud music = ringing ears." Duh. So I gave up rock music, learned the fiddle and banjo and played at a much lower volume for years. I was never bothered by T (or don't remember) until I got into an electric blues band. Lots of fun, but big mistake. This is when I learned that T is cumulative. It comes back right where it leaves off. I also learned that cotton, earplugs, AND headphones (all at the same time!) can NOT protect injured ears. I learned the hard way that the low and low-mid frequencies get into the head through the skull and the hard area behind the ear that feels like bone. I paid good money to learn that.
      Back to your question on how a musician copes-
      After being exposed to LOTS of music all my life, I'm constantly on guard with cotton in my pocket. My ears are badly damaged and I have to stick to mid range instruments. I used to be a good fiddler and loved it!! I taught it, I even built some. But lately the fiddle is increasing the T. So I'm adjusting again, I'm concentrating on guitars again, back where I started.
      But I have to blame school band for a lot of my T. I remember my ears distorting starting in 5th grade. And now when I think of all those horns and drums in one room - My God!!!!
      I can't even plug my acoustic instruments into a small amp anymore. I rarely listen to music in the car for fear I will let it creep up in volume. I love music but it don't love me.
       
    19. Raindance74
      Yeehaw

      Raindance74 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2010
      I was in your shoes years ago. I have a degree in music from UC-San Diego, and when I was on the student council, I had to listen to numerous musical submissions as the activities and events director. I then worked as an intern with a major record label and eventually became an A&R associate. Those days are long gone, as most new artists are discovered online. I still play drums in a local cover band and wear foam earplugs on stage though. I read an interview with Chris Martin from Coldplay and he said his tinnitus has never gotten worse in ten years so that reassures me. The crazy thing about my tinnitus is that it was caused by an ear infection, but I'm sure loud music growing up didn't help. I remembering the first time I ever heard the word 'tinnitus' I was reading an interview with Paul Gilbert (of Mr.Big) and he said his biggest regret was not protecting his ears because of tinnitus, and thinking wow that would suck to have ringing ears, good thing I dont play live music much anymore. A week later I woke up with T.
       
    20. Della
      Creative

      Della Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Austin, Texas USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Hi there. Yes, basically. Here's something I'm looking into:

      http://www.etymotic.com/hp/mp915.html $300
      "Adaptive noise-reduction earplugs automatically adjust to changing sound levels.
      The ultimate in hearing protection. Designed for musicians who want to hear naturally, need protection when hearing is at risk, and want to avoid the inconvenience of removing earplugs to hear."

      Another company that produces specialized devices for musicians, dj's, even astronauts, is this one:
      http://www.sensaphonics.com/
       
    21. Della
      Creative

      Della Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Austin, Texas USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Hi @derpytia,
      I just joined this forum and wondered if there were other musicians here ... I figured there must be! While I've had a background high-pitched tinnitus for years that I could ignore, 4 months ago I developed a low-pitched version that is IMPOSSIBLE to ignore. Like you, in the beginning I was very depressed and thought I would have to give up both my music and my dancing, but I'm slowly learning to adapt. Unlike you, I told everybody what I was dealing with (announced it on Facebook, in fact!), and I was surprised at all the people who popped up to express support and to confess that they too have tinnitus ... including musician friends I didn't realize had it. You've gotten a lot of good advice here already ... I think the lesson for all of us is to use our creativity to make things work, and to adapt but not give up.

      These days I play electric bass in a small jazz ensemble, and for the first couple of months after the T got worse, weekly rehearsals were a nightmare. I started to dread them. I tried regular earplugs a few times, and they helped a little but not enough. Then I discovered that if I wear a pair of reference monitor headphones when I play, it helps me hear my own sound up close while still hearing what everyone else is playing and saying. It's become enjoyable again. I get some razzing about looking like I'm in a studio, but that's ok. If it continues to look like this is a permanent condition, I'm going to look into some in-ear monitors and custom musician earplugs. See my post above for some links to companies that make these. Good luck and hang tough!
       

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