Those who have tinnitus know how challenging it can be to live with it. My perception of my surroundings has for decades been continuously affected by tinnitus. Can’t even remember when it started, but it was long before I started playing music and attending concerts. Last year I took a hearing test, first time ever. It was the first time in my life a doctor could see my tinnitus curve. That wasn’t a surprise for me. What was a surprise for me was the actual hearing curves. My hearing is like the one of a twenty years old person (according to statistics). That makes me wonder how my hearing was like twenty years ago.
My tinnitus is high pitched and sometimes gets louder than usual, and by usual I mean like a person talking kind of volume. I hear it in three dimensions and it’s not only one frequency. Sometimes I can hear what sounds like voices and melodies, really low and masked under my tinnitus. But those are also part of my tinnitus. It can be really annoying at night, imagine yourself trying to sleep with a constant ringing in your ears. I learned to listen to it as music. So instead of having a constant ringing in my ears I like to think that it’s music. But I must say that it can be exhausting, both hearing it and trying to befriend it. Can you imagine listening to a one song that is almost four decades long with no pause?
Well, I had a short pause. During the summer of 2018 I experienced something awesome. For some minutes my tinnitus disappeared, completely. At first I didn’t understand what was happening, I was kind of looking for something. My brain was telling to my body that something louder than my tinnitus was approaching, but there was nothing louder than my tinnitus nearby. When I realised that is was my tinnitus that was gone, I didn’t know how to react. I went inside the changing room at work, I went around just to hear the absence of my tinnitus. I shed some joy tears. It didn’t last long, after some minutes my tinnitus started fading in again. But for some minutes I could hear the leafs dancing in the wind without those extra frequencies on top, every thing was cristal clear!
That has obviously a huge impact on my music. Silence for me has a completely different meaning than for those who don’t have tinnitus. I hear absolutely everything mixed with my tinnitus, only loud noises can mask my tinnitus. And when everything is so quiet that I can even hear my heartbeat, then my tinnitus feels like thousands of insects screaming in my ears. So yes, my tinnitus is undoubtedly my biggest musical influence 😂
I play guitar, bass, drums, no-input mixer and vocals. Playing no-input mixer gives me the opportunity to exteriorise my tinnitus, I can create the same frequencies that I hear inside me and give them new dynamics. It’s a sort of exorcism for me. I can play those frequencies and shape them at my will. When I play music I can not only exteriorise all my feelings and perceptions, I also gain control over my tinnitus.
Those who know me really well know that I don’t easily lose my temper, I’m sure that my tinnitus taught me some patience.