Still Playing the Piano? Any Impact on Your Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Mister Muso, Oct 5, 2019.

    1. Mister Muso
      Busy

      Mister Muso Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007 / April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      When I first got severe tinnitus back in April/May I started avoiding all the things you are supposed to avoid like movies, loud music, busy traffic without hearing protection etc. One of the hardest wrenches to bear was not being able to go to my band practices which I do for fun, or even to play the piano in the house, which gave me a spike when things were at their worst. I had just rediscovered my love for the instrument a couple of months before I got tinnitus, which was truly devastating. After three months I felt things had improved sufficiently to play my electronic keyboard with the volume down low, and with tears of joy I was able to play some of my favourite pieces again. I've continued by playing the acoustic piano for a few minutes at a time, not every day but when I've felt able. Was sticking to the quieter tunes at first, still wearing earplugs and/or ear muffs, but recently I thought it would be good to finally memorise the tricky bits of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody". Mission accomplished, except I've spiked myself again a couple of times. My normal tinnitus has settled to a somatic hissing, but when spiked it "solidifies" into a loud ringing. In some ways I prefer that to the hissing, which comes and goes and reacts a lot to my surroundings, whilst the solid ringing is at least a bit more predictable. It always settles down again after a day or two, and I think I've come to learn the warning signs as to whether it's a good day or not to have a few minutes of my favourite pastime as a wind-down at the end of the day.

      There will doubtless be people here who tell me I should stop playing the piano altogether, as I am playing with fire and could make my tinnitus permanently worse. However I think I would rather have my right arm cut off than give up playing the piano completely. Any fellow musician will understand that. If you're not a musician, then I wish you well!
       
    2. Appleseed

      Appleseed Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Hey @Mister Muso Good for you! There are people here who would tell you to hide under the bed if the doorbell rings! Honestly, you have to balance being sensible with living and doing what you love. More often than not, the people who tell you to give up are not musicians and simply do not understand what music means to those of us who are. There are PLENTY of musicians and DJs who have carried on, being careful, but carried on with careers. I doubt the next post on here is going to be from Annie Mac, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards etc etc etc, because they are getting on with it! I’m so pleased for you.
       
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    3. GregCA
      Jaded

      GregCA Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      I play my drums at low volume. It gives me a morale boost, which is quite needed when you live with tinnitus.
       
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    4. Earing
      No Mood

      Earing Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise
      I play electric guitar and I almost always use musician's earplugs. That and I bought an LED sound meter to let me know what the dB are when I am playing. Mine is like this one but I got one with the cord connection on the side instead of the bottom so it can sit on a desk.

      412Bi-ZmVdL.jpg
       
    5. MattS
      Relaxed

      MattS Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Power Tools
      Not a musician here, but I still applaud you Muso. Some on here will definitely tell you that you're playing with fire, but I don't personally think that's true. The fact that you're still willing to chase the things that make your life worth living is a testament to your strength and vigor - were tinnitus to take that from you, it's then that you'd know it won.
       
    6. Earing
      No Mood

      Earing Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise
      Thanks. There is a brain use thing with musical instruments. As long as I can keep playing, even at lower levels at home, I can continue to learn, get better and be musically creative. It takes hours of daily practice over years and years to be proficient on an instrument. Today I can still play, rehearse, practice, record, write and create. Just not at ear damaging levels. I don't know if I will ever play on stage again, and if I do the stage volumes will need to be exceptionally low and controlled.
       
    7. Tinhorn

      Tinhorn Member

      Location:
      Buffalo, New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Struck by car (drunk driver) fractured skull.
      Good for you Mister Muso! Only you can be the judge of what is best for you as you proceed in life with your newly acquired T. I'm 52 and my T is also new to me but I've been playing guitar since '79 when I was 12. After 40 years I'm not giving up! Bought a nylon string classical acoustic in July when I got out of the hospital which is much easier on the ears than my electrics. I still play them but not plugged in. Sometimes I cheat a bit and use a Rockman headphone amp with the volume way down and the earphones off my ears, between my ears and eyes. I will give up my Les Paul when it is pried from my cold dead fingers!
       
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