Stories - Musicians 4 Hearinghttp://www.musicians4hearing.org/stories/Tue, 27 Feb 2018 04:42:55 +0000en-GBSite-Server v6.0.0-14944-14944 (http://www.squarespace.com)Stories breaking down barriersThe Low End TheoryMusicians HearingTue, 27 Feb 2018 04:58:55 +0000http://www.musicians4hearing.org/stories/2018/2/27/thelowendtheory56c6cad0cf80a157220fb8ee:57007ac840261d8834997231:5a94e1cff9619aaa565cb379"Losing my hearing was something that never even crossed my mind as something that could happen to me, but here I was. If there was ever a peak of my “career”, this was the time. I had dedicated nearly 20 years to being a fan and 10 years trying to perfect my craft and at this point I felt that all of that was wasted. What was I meant to do now?"Music was an integral part of growing up. Hip Hop quickly became the soundtrack to my life. The moment I heard it, I knew it was the one. I became engrossed with the Hip-Hop culture:  DJ’ing, breakdancing, graffiti and most importantly rap music; my head was nodding long before I heard the emcee start spitting their verse. “What was that? I’ve heard this song before, my Dad used to play this jazz record, but it sounds… different.”

It was sampling. Taking something and re-interpreting it into something else. I’d played instruments before and I knew that rock bands would write their songs from scratch; starting with an idea; some simple guitar chords and letting it build from there or maybe it would start as a jam between members. But Hip-Hop production? That was different. It blew my mind. It wasn’t creating something from nothing. It was creating something from something.

 Image by When Saturn Returns

Image by When Saturn Returns

When I was 19, I began my production journey. I would wait for close to half a day for a copy of Fruity Loops to download on what was even slower internet than we have now just to see what would happen. I locked myself in my parent’s study until I had figured it out. A day or so later I’d mastered it, and then went back for more.

The next few years were a blur.

I moved to Sydney, graduated as a Sound Engineer, DJ’d around the place, started rapping, produced for artists, then moved to Melbourne, released a 7” vinyl, mixed tracks for other people and decided it was time to release my own debut EP. Making the EP was tonnes of work so I hired someone else to handle the mixing side. The night before listening to the final mix, I went through my list of to-dos:

album - check, artwork - check, film clip – check.

I woke up the next morning with a sharp pain in my ears. It felt like my ear drums were being stabbed with needles. Looking back, I don’t know why, or how, but decided I’d just truck on and go to work. It was near to midday when I looked around the office and realised something didn’t feel right. You know that sound mechanical keyboards make when you type? It sounded different. Dull. The office chatter wasn’t as loud as it should have been. The phone was ringing? I was under water.

Losing my hearing was something that never even crossed my mind as something that could happen to me, but here I was. If there was ever a peak of my “career”, this was the time.

From work I went straight to an audiologist. The verdict was that I had lost a considerable chunk of my hearing (mainly mid and higher frequencies for those sonically trained). I could hear perfectly fine the night before, and the day before, and the days and weeks, years and months before that. So what’s up with that? They had no idea. “Maybe it’s nerve damage from your wisdom teeth” they told me. “So, let’s get them all taken out and oh yeah, you’ll need to get hearing aids if you don’t want things to get worse.” 

You can imagine the sort of emotions this would unearth. This wasn’t a rollercoaster, this was more like The Tower of Terror at Dreamworld. Down, down, down and fast. I got hearing aids but nothing sounded the same.

I was tired trying to concentrate during simple conversations, everything was just… loud. And music? I tried a few times and it literally hurt to listen to it, and it hurt even more knowing I could never actively be a part it.

 Image by When Saturn Returns

Image by When Saturn Returns

I had always looked after my ears. Sure, I had a few nights at loud gigs and parties, but I never experienced tinnitus. I always took mixing breaks. Losing my hearing was something that never even crossed my mind as something that could happen to me, but here I was. If there was ever a peak of my “career”, this was the time. I had dedicated nearly 20 years to being a fan and 10 years trying to perfect my craft and at this point I felt that all of that was wasted. What was I meant to do now? This thing I loved had been taken away from me. Why me? I thought.

I started to embrace my hearing aids and would show them to people, rather than do everything to hide them and feel ashamed. I realised it’s just like people who need to wear glasses to help them see: there’s no difference.

It took me a while, but I came to realise that life is too short to ask “why me? I was beginning to get fed-up living a life without music. As the late Aaliyah famously says in her song, “Try Again”, “if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again”. So, I did. I’d try to listen to a quarter of a song, and a month later I’d try to listen to half a song and after eight months, I could handle a whole song. I fired up my MPC (that’s a sampler for those at home) and played with drums for a few minutes. A few months later I started chopping samples and within a year I could make music for around half an hour. Suddenly, a year and a half had passed and I could finally listen to a whole album in one sitting; actually listen and appreciate it. Around this time, I produced a 7 track EP for a fellow artist and that’s when I knew those 20 years weren’t wasted.

It was a long and terrifying journey but I learnt to accept the card I had been dealt. I started to embrace my hearing aids and would show them to people, rather than do everything to hide them and feel ashamed. I realised it’s just like people who need to wear glasses to help them see: there’s no difference. Man, glasses are even cool now. I found support online and educated myself and now I’m trying to help and educate others. 

I finally got to properly hear my album as well, a year after its release. Since then I’ve produced an instrumental album with another on the way. I’m still doing production for artists, I’m going out to gigs, listening to music, being social and loving every moment of it. I’m loving life, thanks to my hearing aids.

By Zac Daroesman  

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The Low End Theory
A History of the Weirdest Tinnitus CuresMusicians HearingSun, 04 Feb 2018 20:28:43 +0000http://www.musicians4hearing.org/stories/2018/2/4/a-history-of-the-weirdest-tinnitus-cures56c6cad0cf80a157220fb8ee:57007ac840261d8834997231:5a76f2ac71c10bcbfb74a287Tinnitus today is a rapidly expanding research area with new advancements being made every day, yet the elusive cure is something that continues to evade scientists. History, however, has a long-line of tinnitus treatments that vary as widely as they come.By Yovina Khiroya

Tinnitus today is a rapidly expanding research area with new advancements being made every day, yet the elusive cure is something that continues to evade scientists. History, however, has a long-line of tinnitus treatments that vary as widely as they come.

Soil & Oil

The very first mention of tinnitus in history dates back to 3000 B.C. when they believed that humming in the ears was caused by a bewitchment placed on them. To treat this, healers would infuse a reed stick with ingredients such as soil, oil and frankincense, which was placed in the ear canal. Chanting and singing would follow to try and banish away the tinnitus, unsurprisingly however, documentation reports that this was not quite as successful as they had hoped.

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"Woman’s Milk"

Around 300 B.C. the trend continued with placing things in the ears. Pliny the Elder, who coined the term tinnitus, recommended a variety of concoctions, from earthworms boiled in goose grease, to woman’s milk. Other treatments altered, based on the location of the sound. For example, if the patient’s tinnitus originated from the head, it was recommended that a mixture of cucumber juice, radish honey and vinegar should be placed in the ear. However, if the tinnitus was perceived as coming from the ears, it was suggested that the patient hold their breath until they laughed.

How any of this was supposed to help is definitely unclear, yet it shows the progression of understanding in that tinnitus can be heard from different locations (i.e. in the head/in the ears) for different people.

Hot bread

Possibly one of the most bizarre was a 14th Century Welsh treatment, which suggested taking a piece of very hot bread, slicing it in two and putting it in each ear. The original manuscript explains, “Bind and thus produce perspiration, and by the help of God you will be cured.” One can only hope.

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Wind

Doctors in the Renaissance times believed tinnitus was caused by trapped wind in the ears. This saw the introduction of surgery as treatment for tinnitus. Surgeons would create a hole in the hard bone behind the external ear, releasing the trapped wind and thus, curing the Tinnitus. Alternatively, a silver tube would be pierced through the eardrum so the surgeon could attempt to suck the wind out themselves.

In spite of these painful remedies, the 19th century did see great advancement in tinnitus research. French physician, Jean Marie Gaspard Itard, for example, is credited with first suggesting a link between hearing loss and tinnitus, a link that holds true today.

Teas and tongue

Some of the more unconventional tinnitus treatments today include tinnitus teas. These usually contain a mixture of calming ingredients, such as camomile and lavender, and the herb, ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo is extracted from the maidenhair tree, one of the oldest tree species on the planet, whose uses in health have been documented for thousands of years. Modern studies, however, have found no firm evidence to suggest the extract can cure tinnitus.

Another of today’s more interesting tinnitus cures is called ‘MuteButton’. The MuteButton is a little box with a set of headphones and electrode attached. Through the headphones the wearer hears a gentle sound whilst the electrode stimulates the tongue. The theory behind this is that the brain will learn to associate real sound with real stimulation of the tongue, thus reducing episodes of tinnitus.

All in all, the days of bizarre tinnitus cures are certainly not over. One can only hope that with continual advancements in science,  cures such as breast milk ear-drops and cranial drilling, will never be put back on the table.

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A History of the Weirdest Tinnitus Cures
5 Fun Facts on TinnitusMusicians HearingSun, 04 Feb 2018 13:14:06 +0000http://www.musicians4hearing.org/stories/2018/2/4/five-things-to-know-about-tinnitus56c6cad0cf80a157220fb8ee:57007ac840261d8834997231:5a76f9abe4966bf9ce631c0cFor the trivia lovers among us

Pliny the Elder

The term Tinnitus was coined in 1601 by the philosopher Pliny the Elder, the definition being, ‘Eares ringing and singing, or having them any unnaturall sound and noise.’ His treatments for tinnitus included various mixtures including leek juice, breast milk, rose oil, cumin and honey.

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Stupid Car - Tinnitus Mix

Radiohead released a ‘Tinnitus Mix’ of their 2009 song Stupid Car with white noise mixed in. White noise is often useful in the management of tinnitus as it can cover up the sound of the ringing, and therefore reduce the awareness of it. 

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Smoko nogo

Smoking cigarettes is not only harmful to your lungs, the toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke have also been linked to chronic ear infections, hearing loss and tinnitus. It all comes down to whats in your smoke, and many contain ototoxic chemicals - ones that can cause damage to the delicate inner ear. One study in particular, reported that of workers exposed to the same amount of noise daily, those who smoked had four times greater incidence of hearing loss than those who didn't. 

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Audiology & War

In large part, audiology was born out of war-time, with the profession solidifying during the second World War, with treatment of returning veterans. Today, its relationship to the profession continues, with tinnitus and hearing loss ranked the most common injuries for Australian soldiers returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Symptom, not a disease

A common misconception is that tinnitus is a disease or illness in itself, however, it is best described as a symptom of one or many underlying issues. Modern management strategies seek to alleviate the tinnitus intensity by targeting these issues as directly as possible. These include avenues such as stress reduction, wax management, muscular relaxation for issues such as whiplash or TMJ, or the use of hearing aids. 

By Yovina Khiroya

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5 Fun Facts on Tinnitus
5 Artists Conquering TinnitusMusicians HearingSun, 04 Feb 2018 10:58:00 +0000http://www.musicians4hearing.org/stories/2018/2/4/5-artists-with-tinnitus-who-are-crushing-it56c6cad0cf80a157220fb8ee:57007ac840261d8834997231:5a76e3d371c10bcbfb7348abFinding comfort in the success of others.Finding inspiration in the success of others

 

I recently woke up deaf in my left ear. As you can imagine, it wasn’t one of my favourite experiences. Whilst my hearing didn’t disappear completely (and has now mostly returned), at the time, my world was enveloped by something all too consuming – tinnitus.

I’ve heard a high-pitched ringing in my ears for years now, yet it never seemed to truly bother me, hovering displaced somewhere in the background. However, this day a new sound entered that was far louder than anything I’d ever heard. It was the sound of a running waterfall, roaring into my consciousness, overpowering everything from my concentration to my ability to properly hear music. Worst of all, it had a strong tonal element sitting solidly around 515 Hz (or so I measured), which just happens to be a slightly flat C5.

As a musician, I now had a constant off-key distraction to work against and initially felt completely unsure as to whether it was indeed possible to continue. Fortunately, this thought eventually led to something more positive – surely other musicians had faced something similar? Surely other artists had learned to live with the challenges of this internal distraction? And surely others had managed to not only create but succeed at doing so. Eventually I wound up here, searching for a list of inspiration to help pull me out of despair and realising there wasn’t one. So, here’s my list, and I hope it helps you too.

Chris Martin (Coldplay)

I’ve been a huge fan of Chris Martin’s since stumbling across Coldplay’s EP, The Blue Room. Co-creation of the phrase ‘conscious uncoupling’ aside, the man is a genius. However, he is also an artist who has gone on the record about his experience with tinnitus and the need to care for your ears. Martin apparently started hearing tinnitus at the age of 25, which would place this in the same year that he and Coldplay worked on and released their breakthrough album, A Rush of Blood to the Head. Impressive.

 Source: NME

Source: NME

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams is undoubtedly a huge inspiration for me. Not only does he experience tinnitus, but he lives with Meniere’s Disease, a condition of progressive deafness and balance issues (to say the least). He first started hearing tinnitus in 2005, describing it as “an overwhelming noise that never stopped in my left ear, 24 hours a day…. on a good day, it sounded like the wind was howling and there was a siren. On a bad day, it sounded like I was standing in front of a jet engine in front of my left ear”. While he may have taken a two-year break from music to get on top of it all, he came back soaring to achieve more success than he ever had, working on a prolific number of songs and an album reaching No. 7 in the Billboard charts.

Barbra Streisand

When you’ve one 10 Grammy Awards, can you call yourself a success? I damn well think so, and these make up only a small handful of the overall accolades Streisand has received over a lifetime of achievement. And yet, she too has done it all with ‘strange noises’ in her ears, ones that started as early for her as the sixth grade, meaning she has gone her entire performance career living with and conquering tinnitus. Streisand has been vocal about her experiences, using her platform to help raise awareness and demystify it all.

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Sting

I have a guilty confession to make: I love Sting. I grew up remotely, where the majority of my musical exposure came from the limited collection of my parents’ CDs, and you can bet they were played on repeat. With Sting’s Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984-1994 being one of them, how could I not become a fan? He too has written, recorded and performed hearing not only with tinnitus, but also with deafness at the hands of sound over-exposure and age. Neither of which appear to have slowed him down, and having seen him recently perform with Paul Simon in 2015, I’d say he’s still sounding top notch.

Radiohead

Both the singer (Thomas Yorke) and bassist (Colin Greenwood) have gone on the record as hearing tinnitus during their lives. Greenwood in particular suffered a rather sudden and scary incident, going deaf during the recording of the band’s album, In Rainbows. While his hearing mostly returned, he joined the ranks of fellow bandmate, Yorke, to experience tinnitus. As challenging as this must have been for both, Radiohead continued to power through to not only release In Rainbows in 2007, but a further two records since, including their most recent instalment, A Moon Shaped Pool, which once again took the band to No. 1 in the UK’s Official Albums Chart.

No one can deny how difficult living with tinnitus can be. It impacts us all uniquely, making it a very individual journey. For me, however, I found comfort in the knowledge that other musicians had not only experienced something similar, but continued to write, record and perform.

I hope it does the same for you too.

 

By Siobhan McGinnity
BSc., MClinAud, MAud, PhD Candidate

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5 Artists Conquering Tinnitus
Tinnitus in Children and AdolescentsMusicians HearingSun, 04 Feb 2018 10:40:02 +0000http://www.musicians4hearing.org/stories/2018/2/4/tinnitus-in-children-and-adolescents56c6cad0cf80a157220fb8ee:57007ac840261d8834997231:5a76dee4e4966bf9ce60a4c8We often hear about tinnitus in adults, but we rarely hear about the children or adolescents who are affected by tinnitus, yet recent studies have shown that tinnitus occurs as frequently in children as it does in adults, but is often not reported.By Susan Tegg-Quinn
B. Nurs, M Clin Aud, M Aud. 

 

We often hear about tinnitus in adults and associate it with ageing and hearing loss, but we rarely hear about the children or adolescents who are affected by tinnitus.

Tinnitus is any sound that we hear in our ears or head that is not related to an external source. Many different sounds are reported, including ringing, buzzing and crickets.

Recent studies have shown that tinnitus occurs as frequently in children as it does in adults, but is often not reported. As with adults many children and adolescents who experience tinnitus are untroubled by it. However, for those children for whom tinnitus is worrisome, their concerns should be listened to. Troublesome tinnitus during childhood or adolescence can contribute to sleep difficulties, concentration problems, poor attention, learning difficulties, irritability, emotional distress, anxiety and tiredness.  As with tinnitus in adults, tinnitus in children can occur regardless of age or hearing levels and many children with normal hearing experience tinnitus. However, as with adults, tinnitus becomes more common in children who experience hearing difficulties, ear infections or during times of stress, be it emotional, educational or health-related.

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In many regards it is not surprising that we hear so little about tinnitus in children. Children may not have the language skills to discuss their tinnitus. Many children describe tinnitus as an action like a ping pong ball, some give it an identity (the zombie), some give it a name of their own or may ask a question such as, “Why are all the voices yelling in my head?” Another complicating factor is that children with tinnitus will often have had it as long as they can remember and may not be aware that others do not hear that same noise. Often tinnitus only becomes apparent when a child becomes older and is able to describe the tinnitus and realises that not everyone shares their experience.

Recent studies have shown that tinnitus occurs as frequently in children as it does in adults but is often not reported.

Not all children with tinnitus are distressed by it; many accept it and continue untroubled. However, for those that are distressed, age-appropriate intervention and family support is highly successful. Children and their families can be assisted to understand the tinnitus and develop very successful coping strategies. Providing factual information, support and reassurance is also very important when there is so little awareness about the condition.

If a child does indicate that they have tinnitus, treatment should involve a holistic approach focusing on the child, their family and their school environment, not just their ears. Treatment should involve both medical assessment by an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist to rule out any underlying medical concerns and audiological management. Audiological management involves testing the child’s hearing, taking a thorough history, exploring when the tinnitus started or changed, when the child notices it, what aspects of their daily lives are affected and whether there is anything in the child’s life that impacts either positively or negatively on the tinnitus. It is also important to understand both the child’s and family’s beliefs and fears about tinnitus since these may be shaped by the media or the experience of others and be inaccurate but still highly influential.

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One large difference between the treatment of tinnitus in adults and children focuses on their understanding of tinnitus.  All children should be given age-appropriate explanations for their tinnitus. They should be reassured and helped to both externalise the noise and to understand that many other people also hear extra noises. Young children in particular have wonderfully vivid imaginations and an incredible ability to create stories that can be used to help them manage their tinnitus. Often when a young child has tinnitus they will make sense of it on their own by inventing a story. If their story or explanation is that the noise they hear is the result of a monster whispering in their head or zombies that are trying to catch them in their sleep, then their experience of tinnitus can be terrifying. However, when we help a child to use their imagination, imagery and story-telling to create a new story around the tinnitus, we can very effectively and quickly turn their experience from one of terror to one of mastery and victory or even peacefulness.  Tinnitus management is most successful when children and adolescents are assisted to develop a sense of control over their tinnitus by developing their own ideas and strategies for managing the difficulties associated with their tinnitus. Other measures also involve using environmental noises and external noise sources for sound enrichment, addressing any hearing issues, assisting with sleep difficulties, obtaining assistance for any concerns regarding anxiety or emotional well-being and developing strategies for the classroom.

Tinnitus in children is very common and the majority of children with tinnitus are not troubled by it. Yet for those children who experience troublesome tinnitus, the impact can be significant. Thankfully effective assistance is available: children and their families can be helped to externalise the tinnitus, develop effective coping strategies and create new stories and images that explain the tinnitus in positive and non-threatening terms. When the distress is removed children can move forward and continue to grow and develop happily.


Resources:

Baguley D., Bartinck G., Kleinnjung T., et al. (2013). Troublesome tinnitus in childhood and adolescence: Data from expert centres. International Journal of Paediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 77 pp 248-251

British Society of Audiology, (2015). “Tinnitus in children Practice Guidelines”

Kentish R., Crocker s., (2006) ‘Scary Monsters and Waterfalls’ , tinnitus narrative therapy with children. In Tinnitus Treatment Clinical Protocols. Ed. Tyler, R. Thieme Medical Publishers.

Kentish R., Crocker S., McKenna L., (2011). Children’s Experience of Tinnitus: A Preliminary Survey of Children Presenting to a Psychology Department. British Journal of Audiology. 34:6, pp335-340

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Tinnitus in Children and Adolescents
Hearing Tinnitus, Grieving SilenceMusicians HearingSun, 04 Feb 2018 10:13:30 +0000http://www.musicians4hearing.org/stories/2018/2/4/hearing-tinnitus-grieving-silence56c6cad0cf80a157220fb8ee:57007ac840261d8834997231:5a76d4920d929789ff01418fThe five stages of grief and tinnitus. The 5 Stages of Grief and Tinnitus

By Siobhan McGinnity
BSc., MClinAud, M Aud., PhD (Candidate)

It’s been years since I first tuned into the sound of my high-pitched tinnitus. Initially a ghost that only visited post gig or long night out, it suddenly appeared on a mundane afternoon with absolutely no reason at all. At first I thought it would go away, so I ignored it. But then, it crept up and up in volume, getting to the point where even following conversation was difficult against its competing hiss. I lost sleep, I googled answers, I self-diagnosed tumours - you name it, I did it. I went on the panic train that many people do, looking for a cure that doesn’t exist and demonising a part of my body that had simply made a mistake.

The five stages of grief are often imagined as a linear process, a stair-case up towards a more peaceful you. In reality, however, it's a hot-mess, twisting and turning in every which way.

Years on, and as a trained audiologist, I now lecture in and counsel on tinnitus. While tinnitus is a highly unique experience, too often I would see the same patterns repeating themselves in my clients; some seething with fury, others bargaining for their ‘reason’, and some stagnant, immobilised with depression. One day it just clicked for me and I asked one of them, “Has it occurred to you that you might be grieving?”

Grief isn’t just for the loss of a loved one, it’s for a loss. And what could be more painful than the loss of silence? It’s the best friend you never knew you had. The companion that let you read a book in quiet, meditate and hear only the trees, or fall asleep to nothing at all. It underpins each moment of relaxation, and when you take that away, for some, you make being relaxed a hell of a lot harder.

We don’t often acknowledge the emotional side in audiology, but with tinnitus we absolutely should - its intrusiveness linked to our emotional state, stress and anxiety.  So, I started talking about grief with my clients and watching the difference it made. For many, it gave them a structure to pin their experience to, for others, self-forgiveness as to why they had been so angry. Each response was different, but each was positive.

Grief isn’t just for the loss of a loved one, it’s for a loss. And what could be more painful than the loss of silence? It’s the best friend you never knew you had.

The five stages of grief are often imagined as a linear process, a stair-case up towards a more peaceful you. In reality, however, it's a hot-mess, twisting and turning in every which way. With that in mind, here are the five stages of grief and how they might relate to you. 

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Denial

The first stage is the classic moment of shock. How could this be happening to you, what is happening to you, it can’t be permanent, it will go away, you’re fine etc., etc. In many ways, the shock element of this process helps us cope with the sudden change. It has a place in our healing.

Anger

Anger is an energetic phase: it can feel a lot like a fire needing to burn and burn out. Blaming is often involved and shots can be fired, at others, at situations, at yourself. More often than not, it’s the latter. Stopping to recognise that every time you’re angry towards the tinnitus, you’re directing anger inwards towards a part of yourself can be a real eye opener for some. If you injured your knee, would you then blame your knee for the injury?

Bargaining

There’s a reason tinnitus ‘cures’ do so well on the internet, even if there is absolutely no evidence to back them up. The trade of money, time and resources in the search for an answer is rife. If I have this tea, maybe I’ll be better, If I buy this gadget, maybe it will work. Until someone realises they can’t bargain away their tinnitus, it can be very difficult to move forward. Still, it too has its place; it’s only natural for our minds to search for ways out of situations we didn’t choose or want to be in.

Depression

The black dog rears its head in many ways. The sadness or emptiness surrounding loss is felt not only for the absence of silence, but all the things you enjoyed that came with it. It includes the imagined loss of things you might find harder in the future. It can feel like you’re grieving not just the moment, but all the moments your mind lets you imagine.

Acceptance

This is not to be confused with happiness. To accept something doesn’t mean to go skipping through town with glee, it means to face the reality of something with calm, acknowledging the situation for what it is, and finding a way to move forward. When we come to accept our tinnitus, we’re letting ourselves accept that part of our mind that slipped up and made an error that one time – letting in a signal we were supposed to keep out and has decided to stay. There’s no fault to lay, it is what it is, and you still have a future.

Research tells us that those who manage best with their tinnitus are those who can find acceptance in it all. It lets our hypervigilant minds stop looking for the ‘answer’, sending the signal to the background where it can rest. This may not be possible for us all, but in grief the process starts. Hearing tinnitus means losing silence, and a loss of any kind gives you the right to grieve.


If you are experiencing feelings of loss and sadness and would like to talk to someone about it, the following resources might be of help:

Resources: Tinnitus Association Victoria // British Tinnitus Association

Audiology: The University of Melbourne Audiology Clinic

Support: Lifeline // Find a Psychologist

 

 

 

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Hearing Tinnitus, Grieving Silence
Spotlight: BATTSSpotlight ArtistMusicians HearingSun, 11 Jun 2017 10:05:36 +0000http://www.musicians4hearing.org/stories/2017/6/11/spotlight-batts56c6cad0cf80a157220fb8ee:57007ac840261d8834997231:593d057d893fc0758729f474I’m finally at a point where I’m confident in what I’m creating and feel I’m finally sharing and making what I hear and want people to hear from me...

Photo by Kathryn Rollins & banner image by Greg Holland

BATTS

aka Tanya Batt

 

Having met on the tin-strewn floor of the Meredith Music Festival amphitheater, there was clearly only one direction for our friendship to go; up. Tanya is one of those bright souls that spark into your world, bubbling like an effervescent Berocca to give you life when you thought you had none. Her music, is much the same. Bleeding heartache through a voice that can melt butter, she says the things you only wish you had (see For That I'm Sorry, or any of her songs... really). However, the space-obsessed artist has recently been on an incredible musical journey of her own, so we thought it was time we checked in...

You’ve recently gone through a trans-formative process. What do you feel you had to leave behind and where do you think you are now?

It’s quite interesting to look back now, even though it wasn’t long ago since I released ‘Lie To Me’ which was the last song of the previous chapter, it was a very long time ago I wrote that song with Ficci (her previous collaborative producer). I’m not quite sure what I left behind, my friendship with Ficci is still there and that’s what mattered to me most. He is super supportive and knew it was the right thing for me to do. For me at this current moment I’m in the best place I could be creatively. I’m finally at a point where I’m confident in what I’m creating and feel I’m finally sharing and making what I hear and want people to hear from me. I’m in a really great place and have never felt so excited to share music.

A career in music can be a tumultuous endeavour, what keeps you grounded when everything else seems so afloat?

Phwoarr, Bon Iver, Bon Iver, Bon Iver, but actually. Luckily I have some really amazing and supportive people in my life, as I don’t have much of a routine I do try to have certain things I do. I used to do a lot of yoga and that helped ground me, I have let that slip recently though and I do notice that. Other than that I do exercise a fair bit and make sure I listen to a lot of podcasts that aren’t music related. I think trying to make sure I do things outside of music really helps me stay grounded. If I get too lost in just music I start losing touch and feel a little suffocated. I try to read a lot to help with that too.

Make music you want to make, that’s what people want to hear.

I know it’s simple, but what does music mean to you?

Music to me, as common as this sounds, means the world to me. It helps me breathe when I feel like I can’t, it helps soundtrack moments in life to help with memories and remembering things, it helps take me on journeys that normally you wouldn’t experience. It helps me process emotions, I feel like it just goes hand in hand with everything making it better. It’s pretty special how people create these songs and they put a part of themselves in it, you’re not just falling in love with the song but them also, they put something in it that can’t really be captured in another song because if it’s done right it’s totally unique to that individual and you’re experiencing a part of millions of different people.

If you could share a sound with someone for the very first time, what would it be?

A baby or kid of young age laughing. I don’t think you can get much of a purer sound than that. It’s so real and natural and contagious. It practically fills your heart with such warmth. (I know that’s not music related but, you know)

Is there one song or artist that you keep coming back to throughout your life?

Bon Iver - Wash and Michael Jackson - Man In The Mirror

Why do you believe your hearing is worth taking care of (if you do!)?

Everything that we are lucky enough to have that works within our bodies we should take care of. We are so quick to self destruct ourselves and not take care of ourselves, even with what we eat/drink. As a race I find we take our incredible bodies for granted. Imagine if you woke up tomorrow and you couldn’t hear anymore? To me that would beyond destroy me, everything is important and we shouldn’t take anything for granted. It’s pretty simple to just do some research and pop in some earplugs at a gig etc.

If you could change/suggest one thing on the topic of hearing & music, what would it be?

If you’re at a gig and it hurts because it’s so loud, go and ask the bar for earplugs, and then do some research into getting some actual earplugs and protect yourself. It doesn’t take away the enjoyment of the music it just makes you enjoy it more. Also, invest in better headphones, because you’ll probably find you don’t turn the music up as much to try hear detail because it’s there at a lower volume with good earplugs/headphones. Also, take breaks if you’re surrounded by music for long periods of time. You’d give your legs a rest if you were going on a huge walk so give your ears a rest if you’re smashing them with music for 6 hours straight.

I’m finally at a point where I’m confident in what I’m creating and feel I’m finally sharing and making what I hear and want people to hear from me.

If you could give one piece of advice to young musicians and music lovers, what would it be?

To Young Musicians - It’s totally ok to make mistakes but try learn from them, also educate yourselves within the business side of things, that way people won’t take advantage of you as much, also try not to follow trends. Make music you want to make, that’s what people want to hear.

To Music Lovers - Keep listening to music, keep buying or streaming music, keep going to gigs and keep reaching out to the artists and telling them why you do the above. That will ensure that the music you love and the musicians you love can keep making music for themselves and for you.

Any exciting things coming up for you musically?

SO MUCH YES TO THIS QUESTION!! I just began recording my debut EP last Saturday! And although I already have 6 singles out, I never made an EP yet because I knew I wasn’t making what I wanted yet. Now I know what I want to create and I have the songs I am super proud of and very excited about, I can’t wait to record them and share them! My band are the most incredible humans and musicians and I feel so grateful to have them be a part of this process with me. I’ll have a new single out soonish and then the EP. I have a few big support shows I can’t announce yet and also I’ll be touring the new material too. Everything is exciting and I’m feeling very excited and lucky.

Is there anything else you think we should know? 

Saturn has 62 moons...and Irish Red Setters and Dalmations are my favourite dogs.


For more on BATTS head to her facebook, instagram or twitter to keep up to date!

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Spotlight: BATTS
Gillian CosgriffSpotlight ArtistMusicians HearingThu, 18 May 2017 12:54:59 +0000http://www.musicians4hearing.org/stories/2017/5/18/gillian-cosgriff56c6cad0cf80a157220fb8ee:57007ac840261d8834997231:591d93529de4bbe3ca052ac1I think we often assume that humans communicate through talking but the other half of that is listening, otherwise we’re all just yelling into a void.Gillian Cosgriff

She's been described as the next Tim Minchin, won endless caberet & comedy awards, caught the attention of Pharrell Williams, on tour more than a rock-star and YET, despite all her successes, Gillian Cosgriff is the most humble and down-to-earth pie you'll ever come across. I guess it should come as no surprise then that the queen of procrastination (self-professed) would give us her time to answer a few questions, be it out of kindness or avoidance of the next deadline...

What drew you to a profession in music?

We had an old upright piano in our house my whole life and I wanted piano lessons from as early as I can remember. I started learning when I was five and played ever since then. I lost the love for it a little when I was smashing through AMEB exams at school but after I finished and I was free to play whatever I wanted I found it again. I don’t think I ever wanted to do any job that didn’t have music in it. I love the wealth of opportunities it affords me as well – I spend most of my time performing right now but I also love teaching and working as an accompanist when I can too.

I think we often assume that humans communicate through talking but the other half of that is listening, otherwise we’re all just yelling into a void.
 Lachlan Woods Photography

Lachlan Woods Photography

What does music mean to you?

Music makes sense to me – it’s one of very few things that I find to be equal parts logical and emotional. I don’t know quite how that works, being able to see both parts of it at once. When it’s good it’s like falling into a great book – you’re just piecing together letters into words and words into sentences but your brain can create this amazing imagery. It’s the same with notes and chords and melodies for me. Two foot stamps and a clap are pretty basic but I know exactly where I was the first time I heard them as the intro to We Will Rock You. (Grade four basketball competition, in which I magically deluded myself into believing that a three foot tall nine year old could definitely do a slam dunk. I could not.)

If you could share a sound with someone for the first time, what would it be?

Oh man, that’s tricky. I like the idea of giving someone a sound that’s usually annoying but they’ll love it because it’s the first time they ever heard it – like an alarm clock or a truck backing up. If I wanted to give them a beautiful sound I’d get a cellist. Cellos are magic.

Music makes sense to me – it’s one of very few things that I find to be equal parts logical and emotional.

What is your favourite piece of music and why?

Just ONE? There are SO many. My single favourite song is still Semi Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind. I know every word and it always makes me happy. Yes, I know it is about crystal meth addiction. I still love it.

Why do you believe hearing is worth caring for?

Hearing is so important to me. I think we often assume that humans communicate through talking but the other half of that is listening, otherwise we’re all just yelling into a void. We understand each other through hearing, it’s human nature. (Human Nature is also a band. I’m sure hearing is important to them too.)

If you could give one piece of advice to young musicians and music lovers, what would it be?

I just rewrote this sentence maybe fifteen times. I guess I’m still figuring out what young musicians need to hear! I’d say learn everything you can from your idols and then make your own thing anyway. Read Austin Kleon’s book, “Steal Like An Artist.” It’s short, it’s cheap, and it’s more helpful to me than any advice I could give. To young music lovers I’d say support the artists that you love in whatever way you can! Be aware that being a musician is a cool job, but sometimes the operative part of that sentence is the word ‘job’. If you want the musos you love to keep making music, buy their CD or their badge or their t-shirt, or go to their show, or tell your friends to go to their show. The greatest support to me is audience members that come back every year and bring NEW friends. What a bunch of legends.


Want to see more? Catch Gillian Cosgriff at The Butterfly Club June 14-18
for a return season of To The Moon and Back. 

 Lachlan Woods Photography

Lachlan Woods Photography

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Gillian Cosgriff
Spotlight: Lee Naimo (The Axis of Awesome)Spotlight ArtistMusicians HearingSat, 01 Apr 2017 08:51:10 +0000http://www.musicians4hearing.org/stories/leenaimo56c6cad0cf80a157220fb8ee:57007ac840261d8834997231:58df3ebb1b631bf0ffccce2d'I love live music, I don't think anything compares to the feeling of performing in front of people and getting an instant reaction to that performance...I think everything I do in comedy will always have some connection to music.'M4H Spotlight with Lee Naimo
 

If you love comedy and music you've likely heard of a lil' trio called The Axis of Awesome, and if you haven't, welcome friend! They shot to fame with their '4 Chord Song', a mammoth kaleidoscope of pop-songs all with the same four-chord progression, and I've been struggling to keep up with them ever since. One-third of their contingency is the effervescent, Lee Naimo. Having started M4H in 2015, I know exactly who was there to cheer us on, and this man, was.

I love live music, I don't think anything compares to the feeling of performing in front of
people and getting an instant reaction to that performance.

Naimo, a multi-talented improviser, creative producer and loving dog owner, gave M4H one of our first donations (which we'll always be grateful for!), so I was keen to have a chat with him and see if hearing really was something he valued. 'I definitely think it's worth taking care of. Even outside of music, hearing is so fundamental to our everyday existence. It connects us to the world in a way that other senses don't and can't.' Delving deeper, turns our Naimo's also lived some experiences of deafness closer to home, 'My Dad worked around farming equipment for years and has bad hearing, and I can feel mine isn't as good as it used to be.' 

On what drew him to to music, the ever humble Naimo replied, 'I consider myself more of a comedian who can play guitar than a musician, but I have been performing music in some form or another for over 20 years.' At some point, you have to give the guy the label, especially if he's also secretly a bassoonist. 'Music is so personal, and I've always admired the musical comedians whose music can be listened to time and again. Even if you know the jokes, you still enjoy the musicality of them.'

I think everything I do in comedy will always have some connection to music.

Having seen cochlear implants turn on and those eyes go wide, I often like to ask people what sound they'd share with someone if that person was hearing for the first time. I guess it should come as no surprise that with his background in laughs, Naimo replied with 'the sound of the person they love most in the world laughing.' It warms me to my core to think of that, and not something I've ever imagined. Probably because my laugh is closer to a malfunctioning fog-horn than a melodic giggle, but that's not why we're here.

We drifted into what we love about music, and why it's so important for him to share it, 'I love live music, I don't think anything compares to the feeling of performing in front of people and getting an instant reaction to that performance...I think everything I do in comedy will always have some connection to music.' However, it was what Naimo chose as his favourite music that moved me, 'I love the album Resolve by Lagwagon, a punk band from California." Turns out that their former drummer passed away from suicide during the writing process, and as an ode to him, they wrote and dedicated every song on their album for him, 'It's heartbreaking and energetic and furious all at once.' 

Even outside of music, hearing is so fundamental to our everyday existence.
It connects us to the world in a way that other senses don't and can't.

When asked if there was one last piece of advice he could give, Naimo hit home for something I've definitely come across, 'I'd try and remove the stigma around hearing tests and hearing aids. I think it's vital to get your hearing checked. Sadly a lot of people are still too proud to admit that their hearing isn't what it use to be.' And for those just starting out in music, 'Keep playing, especially in front of people. Get your music heard, learn from the experience and keep working hard.That's probably more than one piece of advice, but imagine I said it really fast with no full stops.'

By Siobhan McGinnity

 Just the Axis of Awesome, being Awesome. (Photo credit: Patrick Boland)

Just the Axis of Awesome, being Awesome. (Photo credit: Patrick Boland)


Head here for more on Lee Naimo and The Axis of Awesome.

If you're interested in taking the first steps to protect your hearing, but not sure where to start, hit us up at musicians4hearing@gmail.com.

We're listening.

 


 

 

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Spotlight: Lee Naimo (The Axis of Awesome)
Spotlight: Tilman RobinsonSpotlight ArtistMusicians HearingThu, 23 Mar 2017 03:17:13 +0000http://www.musicians4hearing.org/stories/tilmanrobinson56c6cad0cf80a157220fb8ee:57007ac840261d8834997231:58d337e86b8f5b5c78bcc814"I think if you’re a musician and you’re not at least a little bit concerned about protecting your hearing then you’re kind of…. what’s a nice way of putting this? There’s a kind of romanticised notion around Beethoven going deaf and continuing to compose but in reality it would fucking suck."M4H Spotlight with Tilman Robinson

 

I've had the pleasure of knowing Tilman Robinson for a long time now, whether it be stumbling through uni halls, crossing paths at gigs or wines in pubs years later. One benefit of such a long acquaintance is having seen him grow, bend, twist and turn into the prolific, well sought-out artist he is today. His music toes the line between beauty and disagreement, challenges as it transfixes, whilst always provoking thought. It's simply too easy for me to feel physically present in whichever scene he's created and not my own. I was rapt when he agreed to answer some personal questions on each of our favourite topics music & hearing, even teaching me a thing or two on the way. 

Tell us a little about yourself & what you do...

I’m a composer, sound designer and producer creating electro-acoustic music across a range of genres including classical minimalism, improvised, experimental, electronic and ambient musics. I tend to work on my own projects and those of others as either a composer, producer or arranger. This can take form as writing/producing my own works to film scoring to multi-speaker installation works to recording with singer/songwriters and everything in between.

What drew you to a profession in music?

I feel like there has never been another option for me other than a career in music. This isn’t to say I don’t have other interests but I can never think of a time, even when I was young, that I ever thought I’d be doing something else. I have worked as a freelance musician for my entire adult life and while it is often grueling, exhausting, terrifying, financially unrewarding and frustrating, I can’t imagine doing anything else. My role within the music industry has changed significantly over the years and I constantly strive to learn new ways of making music or helping others. I can’t think of many other employment situations that could offer me this kind of creative fulfillment and ongoing fascination.

There seems to be an ongoing machismo in the music industry that belittles people worrying about their hearing.... The insinuation is always “toughen up”. No thanks

What does music mean to you?

There’s really no good way to answer this without just saying ‘everything’ in lofty ways so let me rephrase the question as ‘What do I think music means to society?’. It’s often a tired cliche that ‘music is the international language’ but I really believe it’s true. Music has the ability to cross linguistic and cultural divides and unite humanity if only for the briefest of moments. It can make complete strangers on the opposite sides of a political gulf grin and smile at each other while dancing at a Beyonce concert, or can make angsty teens feel connection while they get sweaty in a thrash-pit or in da club. In its supporting roles (as in underscoring film, theatre and other art forms) music has an almost subliminal effect of manipulating our emotions in various ways. Think of the phrase ‘tugging at the heart strings’ in reference to Barber’s Adagio for Strings or imagine Inception being anywhere near as exciting without Hans Zimmer’s brilliant score for it. Music, and the arts in general, are human expression and, in my humble opinion, I think that means a lot to us all.

If you could share a sound with someone for the first time, what would it be?

Ha. Well I guess my immediate response would be to play them something “beautiful”. A magpie singing, the sound of a small child’s heartbeat or the sound of the ocean on a windy night, maybe? Personally I find a lot of difficult and dissonant sounds beautiful though, so why not take the opportunity to play them something deemed “ugly” and see what their response is to it when they have no preconceptions? Are nails down a chalkboard really as bad as everyone thinks they are? What about the opening to Penderecki’s Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima?

There’s a kind of romanticised notion around Beethoven going deaf
and continuing to compose, but in reality it would fucking suck.

What is your favourite piece of music and why?

Oh man that’s impossible…. How about we limit that to some stuff I’ve loved in the past 6 months? Jóhann Jóhannson’s film score to Arrival (minus the Max Richter interjections that cost him an Oscar nomination) was phenomenal - super minimal and moving. Friendships’ Nullarbor 1988-1989 is probably the best Australian electronic album I’ve ever heard. Jenny Hval’s Blood Bitch is an amazing album about vampires and menstrual cycles. serpentwithfeet’s Blisters EP really floored me last year with its honesty and no-holds-barred lyrics. There’s just too much good stuff.

Why do you believe hearing is worth caring for (if you do)?

I think if you’re a musician and you’re not at least a little bit concerned about protecting your hearing then you’re kind of…. what’s a nice way of putting this? There’s a kind of romanticised notion around Beethoven going deaf and continuing to compose but in reality it would fucking suck. In the past hundred years, the amplification of musical sound (and the volume of sounds in general - especially in the city) has risen consistently to levels the human ear never evolved to hear. Hearing loss and ailments such as tinnitus are real and affect many musicians I know, all of whom lament not doing anything about it when they had the chance.

If you could change/suggest one thing on this topic (hearing & music), what would it be?

There seems to be an ongoing machismo in the music industry that belittles people worrying about their hearing. I can think of many conversations I’ve been a part of or overheard where someone has laughed at another person’s interest in protecting their hearing. The insinuation is always “toughen up”. No thanks… 

If you could give one piece of advice to young musicians and music lovers, what would it be?

For the musicians: support your scene, be involved, learn skills that give you a point of difference and always be creating. There are thousands of people that want to be musicians and so many of them are blinded by a notion that luck, a TV show or a certain radio station are their tickets to success in the music industry. The reality is that forging an ongoing career in the music industry is unbelievably hard work. For the overwhelming amount of musicians there is no shortcut. Work your ass off. Oh, and watch this.

For music lovers: support your scene, be involved, broaden your listening palette and above all, pay for the music you listen to. It’s increasingly difficult to make any kind of money as an artist. Don’t be fooled: to the average artist, Spotify/YouTube plays don’t really translate into any kind of income worth talking about. The best thing you can do is buy merch (a physical album, a t-shirt, a coffee cub) directly from the artist. Even if you don’t have a CD or record player or don’t intend to wear the shirt, the artist is going to thank you for the $20 they now have in there pocket more than the 30 times you listen to their song on Spotify. Plus, having a sweet album on vinyl so you can read the liner notes and touch the music with your hands is pretty awesome.

Any exciting things coming up for you musically?

Plenty! In my own world, I’m working on a little collaboration with a guy from Kansas that’s coming out as a 10” vinyl only release. Each record will have a hand painted cover by Gregory Euclide the artist behind Bon Iver’s self titled album artwork. It’s a lovely project he’s put together as THESIS. Other than that, I’m performing around the traps, working with a couple of great songwriters on new work, possibly scoring a documentary in the second half of the year, production managing a project that is cataloguing and performing the past hundred years of indigenous contemporary music, and starting to think about my next record. You know…. The usual….

To hear more from Tilman Robinson & his incredible music, follow the links below:

www.tilmanrobinson.com/

Facebook / Instagram / Soundcloud / Twitter

By Siobhan McGinnity

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Right Hear, Right NowHearing LossMusicians HearingWed, 13 Apr 2016 13:45:43 +0000http://www.musicians4hearing.org/stories/2016/4/13/right-hear-right-now-156c6cad0cf80a157220fb8ee:57007ac840261d8834997231:570e4c9937013bba01314c0a"Despite the fact that I excelled at school, and got higher marks than a lot of my peers, I'm ashamed to admit I could never quite shake that thought, that I was never smart enough, and that my intellect was tied to my hearing loss."By Kate Disher-Quill

 

I was born with a mild to moderate hearing loss, which is closer to a moderate loss these days. I was diagnosed when I was 3, yet it wasn't until I was 10 and given my first pair of hearing aids, that I really realised I had a "problem". I hated the idea that I had a "disability" and I simply denied it. I was coping fine in school, my marks were good, I had great friends, so I really didn't see the need to address this "problem" of mine. I got through high school and uni, talking very little about it, and rarely wearing the 4 pairs of hearing aids I was given over those 10 years. Rejecting my deafness and refusing to wear my hearing aids, is not something I am particularly proud of, but I have been trying to come to an understanding as to why I bottle it up and denied it for so long. 

I had always considered myself to be a confident young person, comfortable in my own skin and without insecurities. That is until I realised there was this part of myself that I had been ignoring. Whenever I happened to tell someone "Oh I have a hearing problem.. Umm yeah actually I have hearing aids.. Oh but no I don't really wear them..." I would tense up, my voice would shake, I would go red. It was clearly a huge insecurity of mine. Yet I would brush it off, forget about it, move on.

It wasn't until a couple of years ago after I finished uni and began my career as a freelance photographer, that I realised that my hearing problem was affecting my professional life. If I didn't hear things in a social situation, it might have been slightly awkward of someone might think I'm rude, however in the professional world, I realised it could mean losing a job or missing out on future opportunities. Despite that I was becoming more aware of my hearing loss, it certainly wasn't a priority to deal with, I still didn't wear my hearing aids, it wasn't even an option for me. The thought of a client seeing them on me made me squirm with embarrassment, as though they would somehow think I was less capable, and I'll admit it, less "cool".

It wasn't until a bit over a year ago that all this changed. I was reading an article in a magazine and it was about a 27 year old woman who was deaf. She mentioned the awkwardness of missing punchlines, the embarrassment of being a teenager and telling boys she couldn't hear, and the satisfaction of watching a DVD with subtitles. She then went on to explain that visual imagery has always been a huge part of her life, and that it seemed too natural for her to pursue her passion as a photographer. I read it and I cried. I felt like I was reading about myself and for the first time in my life I felt an incredible sense of comfort that these insecurities I had were not something to be ashamed of and that ultimately I wasn't alone. For the first time in my life I actually realised that having a hearing loss WAS a part of who I am, part of my identity and that I should be accepting, if not proud about it. I suddenly had this urge to talk to people about it, to share this part of myself that I had now realised was actually kind of fascinating. 

For 26 years I had bottled up my experience as a hearing impaired, "partially deaf" person and suddenly thoughts and memories poured out that I didn't even know existed. I began to think about my childhood, how I was apparently calm and quiet, yet I would dress myself ridiculously colourful (always colour co-ordinated) outfits. I thought about how I felt when I first got my hearing aids and when I had to see a "special needs" teacher - that memory is particularly painful as it was when I got the idea in my head that I would never be as smart as my friends because I couldn't hear everything. Despite the fact that I excelled at school, and got higher marks than a lot of my peers, I'm ashamed to admit I could never quite shake that thought, that I was never smart enough, and that my intellect was tied to my hearing loss.  

But I've also thought about how my deafness has had a positive impact on my life. I am a patient, observant, resilient and reflective person and I like to think my hearing loss has contributed to that. I have been told that I am a good listener (ironic, I know) because I give people my full attention and always look at them when they speak - a quality I strongly admire in others. And of course to have the skill of lipreading and sleeping through thunderstorms are two things I wouldn't want to live without. 

After I started to process these thoughts and memories I became excited to share them with people. I took photos of my hearing aids and I "came out" about my hearing loss. While this was in some way a liberating experience, above all else, I wanted to make others feel the way I now did. And so the idea for my 'Right Hear, Right Now' project was formed - a photography based project which tells the stories and experiences of deafness. From Deaf and hard-of-hearing children, teens and adults, to parents of Deaf children and children of Deaf adults. 

'Right Hear, Right Now' is about empowering people to accept and embrace their differences, to raise awareness and to ultimately transform perspectives into ones of inspiration and understanding. Essentially I want to create something that I would have liked to have seen when I was 10, 16, 21 and 26. A project which could have inspired me to accept my hearing loss long before I actually did.  

Over the course of a year I met and talked to numerous people who experienced deafness in some way or another. I met adults, young and old, teenagers, children, parents and relatives. People with hearing aids, with cochlear implants, those who sign, and those who are bilingual. But I also met those who choose not to wear hearing aids, not to get a cochlear implant, not to sign or not to speak. I have come to learn that there are so many experiences of deafness, so many different perspectives, attitudes and even debates. There is no right or wrong way, it is simply important just to know that there are many ways. 

Despite all the differences, the most beautiful part of this project has been connecting with every single person I've spoken to. Even though there are many things I cannot relate to and I cannot entirely understand; and the fact that sometimes I feel that I'm perhaps not quite deaf enough, there is still always a common ground. Not only has my world opened up and I have learnt far more than I had ever anticipated, but I have also been able to provide others with that same comfort that I experienced when reading that first article. And to me, that's really the core of this project. To educate people on what it means to be capital "D" Deaf, deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, hearing impaired or to have a hearing loss, and to provide people with a community where they know there is someone who understands. 

___

 

Learn more about Kate Disher-Quill and her incredible work here

Right Hear, Right Now is currently showing in Canberra until 24th April at PhotoAccess, Manuka Arts Centre. A presentation by Melbourne-based Deaf Photographer Ashton Jean-Pierre and an artist talk by Kate Disher-Quill will be held on 24th April at 2pm.  

 

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Right Hear, Right Now