Frank Wartinger contributed insight and clinically-based commentary to a powerful article written by Angus Finlayson (@angusWFinlayson) for the electronic music publication Resident Advisor. The feature of the article is the accounts of two musician's with tinnitus and how the auditory condition has shaped their lives and careers.
Talking About Tinnitus
By demystifying tinnitus and openly discussing how professional musicians can continue to have a fulfilling relationship with music, this article repeatedly hits on an important message: don't ever stop! Keep going and do so in a manner that respects your ears and hearing.
Act Before You Should Have Acted
The article feedback has been positive and engaging. However, a telling trend has emerged from the comments - those who endorse caution have already been burned.
From those who have not experienced first hand the warning signs of hearing damage, we still hear the chant of "if it's too loud, you're too old". That saying is ironic since both our youth and hearing health are delicate - even transient - and certainly worth appreciating and protecting. Consider that both these things are true: one day it will be too loud AND you will be too old.
I Have Tinnitus... Is It Too Late?
Far from it! If you're noticing constant ringing in your ears or dulled hearing after every rehearsal or gig, these are warning signs that should encourage action. If our feet hurt from running we would given them a rest and look into more supportive footwear. Our ears don't feel pain like that, but with tinnitus and temporary hearing loss, they are able to tell us when something needs out attention.
Reach out to a hearing professional and discuss how you can keep your career on track. Indeed, there are ways of helping even the most dire situations. What's more, musicians often notice improved performances and increased satisfaction when they begin to rehearse and perform with their hearing health in mind.