Author Topic: Music-makers - coping with hearing loss  (Read 3431 times)

Offline Jane_Jig

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Music-makers - coping with hearing loss
« on: Mar 07 2014, 10:43 PM »
I sing in chamber groups, play in a band, and like dancing.

When I first started all this, it was bad enough losing some hearing in one ear, but I realised it heard pitch differently from my good ear - and was sharp or flat depending on frequency.

Anyhow, how do other musicians cope with staying in tune with those around them?

I know initially I would tend to sing sharp - which is almost as unwelcome as singing flat all the time.

Offline jennywrees

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Re: Music-makers - coping with hearing loss
« Reply #1 on: Jul 13 2014, 10:23 AM »
Hi Jane,

I have just read your thread and, as a fellow musician, felt compelled to respond.

I do not, at last testing, have hearing loss and my ENT specialist is of the opinion that I may have atypical Meniere's.  Of course, in Meniere's there are no maps and no promises, so he has warned me that I may at a later time lose hearing.

Even the thought of losing my hearing caused a great deal of fear to rise in my body and mind, and I have had to determine and at times of weakness, re-determine not to become a victim of my own fear and live ruled by it. So I guess, this counts as my first coping mechanism  - do not allow myself to become a victim.   

Although I am not suffering hearing loss I do suffer a tremendous amount of hearing distortion.  I am a composer and write media music, which means I spend most of my time working under headphones or through monitors.  Like you I can now no longer trust my hearing.   Actually, and perhaps why I felt compelled to join the forum in order to respond to your thread was that for many years I was a singer too and can really empathise with your experience.   Anyway, coping mechanism no. 2 for me is to find new ways of working, for example spending more time building the skills which will allow me to rely on my inner ear which remains true. Finding monitoring equipment which cleans up the signal I hear through the headphones.  I also remind myself that not  only do we rely on the ears for hearing, the skin and bones of the whole body can hear!  surely there are ways to learn to listen through the body - you could try singing in bare feet!  :)       So, Coping mechanism no 2 can best be described as .... Being open to new ways of doing things.

 A very wise man once said that defeat begins within our own heart.  I truly believe this and if at any time I feel on the point of being defeated by my circumstance and illness then I remind myself of this, and I strengthen my inner resolve to win through.  I also bring to mind others who have overcome huge difficulties,  such as pianist Paul Wittgenstein (May 11, 1887 March 3, 1961), who lost his right arm during the first world war and went on to devise new ways of playing and continued to work as a professional pianist after the amputation. He and others inspire me to find a way through.

This is sooooo long  ;) just one last thing.         For me music is mostly about the heart, it is an expression of the heart, so that as well as seeking new methods of working I seek to develop a beautiful heart.  Such a heart, I believe, allows our music to  really touch the heart of others.  Of course, as musicians, we aspire to technical perfection, but mere technical finesse can leave one cold and, in my opinion, is nothing if not based on the heart.

Please continue to sing and to make music.

Offline Elaine

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Re: Music-makers - coping with hearing loss
« Reply #2 on: Jul 20 2014, 08:49 PM »
I hadn't realised that I was pitching wrong and tuning up my cello wrongly until I got hearing aids.I have now lost hearing in one ear and continue to play now and again but not in orchestras any more as I'm noise sensitive in my deaf ear .
My advice to you is to continue playing for as long as you can and you enjoy it  :)

Offline goddardo

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Re: Music-makers - coping with hearing loss
« Reply #3 on: Dec 07 2016, 02:03 PM »
Following a MD attack, I had what they call two tone interference for 2-3 months. The only way I can describe this, is for eg, when I played a guitar E note, in my affected ear it was in F !!! This also affected the way I heard music CD's...This has now improved, although I still find it harder to pitch myself when singing due to the fact that I cant hear my own voice in my head as well nowadays. One way around this is to wear custom moulded ear defenders. They enable you to hear your own voice more easily...sort of similar the the finger in the ear method of keeping in pitch....Hope this helps