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Page history last edited by jef chippewa 11 years, 8 months ago

eContact! 9.4 — Perte auditive et sujets connexes / Hearing (Loss) and Related Issues

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Hearing (Loss): Testimonials


Hearing Loss


I’ve experienced hearing loss three times:

  1. When working in electronic music with headphones for 3 hours, even though the dynamic levels were not high;
  2. Because of an MRI after an automobile accident and not using ear protection (very bad loss);
  3. Recently after an automobile accident when an airbag went off.

— Vivian Adelberg Rudow


Physical Discomfort, Extreme


Since the 1980s, Heimbecker has had rare moments of extreme personal disturbance in concerts that are too loud and mixed too harshly. When it happens Heimbecker reports that, “I have to get out of the room and get those vibrations out of me, because they are physically destabilizing for me. I can get upset and sometimes sick, which has been intensified by an inner ear infection condition I caught in the early 1990s. On these rare occasions, my equilibrium is effected, making my world spin for several minutes.”


—Steve Heimbecker, quoted in an interview with Vincent Bonin, December 1, 2004. Steve Heimbecker, Songs of Place book and 2-DVD 5.1 box set (2005). Interview reprinted in eContact! 9.2 — Canadian Regions: The Prairies (March 2007).


Tinnitus, Impact on Day-to-Day Life


I experience fairly annoying symptoms caused from Tinnitus that at times mimic hearing loss. My tinnitus takes the form of white noise at a fairly constant level. However, if I’ve had some wine or very salty food, it gets much worse. The white noise sometimes gets in the way of my hearing what another person is saying if they are speaking in the same range as the white noise. [My partner]’s rather diffuse and soft way of speaking seems to be in pretty much the same range as this white noise. This just means I either tune him out or have to ask him to repeat himself a lot.


The tinnitus crept up rather slowly. In fact I originally went to an audiologist thinking there was something wrong with my hearing as I was finding it so hard to hear some people when they spoke. At that time I was given a clean bill of health — my hearing was fine. Nearly a year later, I awoke one Sunday morning with the realization that it had been a very long time since I had experienced silence. When I returned to my doctor telling him of the constant sounds in my ears, he diagnosed me with tinnitus. There doesn’t seem to have been anything that triggered it. I am not one that has ever enjoyed anything loud and so have for the most part avoided loud concerts etc., even in my youth. I also was never one to listen on headphones much either except when doing my degree in music — all that music history!


I can’t wear headphones for longer than 10 minutes now without becoming very uncomfortable and concerts where the music is anywhere above normal in terms of levels cause my ears to ring for hours afterwards.


All this means that when I take a Soundwalk, which is something I rather enjoy doing, I constantly have to filter everything I hear through the white noise of my ears.


— Nadene Thériault-Copeland, February 2007


Tinnitus, Onset


much damage is caused really through one’s own stupidity...


i started having tinnitus (or rather recognizing i had it) when I was about 26, due mainly to the environment i was working in at the time. while working long hours in the university computer lab i was subjected to the constant buzzing of 15 or so low-quality computer monitors and the painful whines of the spinning hard drives. there was also a motion detector which emitted an extremely high frequency that almost noone could even perceive, even when it was pointed out to them, which was like having a fine wire drawn slowly and constantly though my ear drum.


during this period i was also playing a sort of game to increase my aural perception, and would challenge myself to hear and perceive as much as possible simultaneously in various situations throughout the day. for example, on the bus i would listen to the various pitch and noise components of the motor, the conversations around me, noises on the street, etc. and try to hear to them as a sort of unintentional and extremely complex polyphony. my perception increased radically during this period, but unfortunately included the increasingly present tinnitus tones (there were several).


a couple of years after the tinnitus set in and became “stable”, i attended an extremely loud nomeansno performance (i had heard them several times previously, but never this loud) as part of a 15th anniversary celebration of CBC’s brave new waves (in montréal). immediately after leaving the venue i noticed that the level of my tinnitus had suddenly spiked to an all-time high, and the sound quality had suddenly became frighteningly dull, lacking much of the upper frequency range. i had earplugs in my bag the whole time and although i had thought about doing so, i simply couldn’t be bothered during the concert to get them from the coatcheck...


prior to this event, i had experienced elevated levels of the tinnitus after concerts or after being in a very loud bar for several hours, but never to this degree, and usually the levels went back down over the course of the next day. this time the levels stayed at a painful level for about three days and i feared permanent damage. the levels slowly descended over a week, but ultimately remained at a noticeably higher level than before the concert and i experienced constant discomfort. over a period of three years or so of care, the levels again became tolerable, but are even today always present, and to such a degree that i am constantly aware of their presence.


— jef chippewa, February 2007




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