Saturday 3 January 2015


As I write this, I'm parked at a local pub.  Good ale, free wifi and power for the 'kit' with landlord approval.  The music in this establishment is controlled by the staff; it appears to be a huge playlist of online content (MP3, at least) as I've not heard the same thing twice in many months of visits.
However, the choice of choonage doesn't meet with my desires, so it's not uncommon to excuse myself from the surrounding public thanks to Google Play Music and Bose noise cancelling earphones.

I've 'endured' tinnitus for a number of years.  As the condition can manifest itself in a myriad of ways, I'll explain my 'condition' as hearing a high pitched sound - constantly.  If you've ever been to a decent live gig, you may have experienced the same thing, either after you've left the venue or the following day.

I have always wondered about the source of my tinnitus.  Sure, I've been to some local gigs (mostly ropey, but it's good to see that Nuclear Minogue are still doing their stuff) and a few 'proper' stadium performances by the likes of Red Hot Chilli Peppers (WORST. GIG. EVER. in Derby), Muse (x3), Foo Fighters (x2) and a slew of amazing loud performances at the Leeds Festival in 2011.
However, I'm not to be considered a hardcore live music fan and any 18yr old that's been to a festival or two will easily surpass the number of live performances I've seen (although I'll still have the edge on quality, I think).

So why do I 'suffer' this condition?

I did spend a year working behind the bar three nights (9pm-3am) in a nightclub (well, it was what was passed for a nightclub at the time) so maybe that's it?
The NHS were very helpful in identifying exactly where I'm at; yes I have a loss of hearing, but not "that much" (so no hearing aids required), only selected frequencies - annoyingly, the ones that are most useful for hearing speech.  The advice I received was both practical and extremely helpful.  The downside of this 'coping' advice was that it depends heavily on others understanding the issues I experience and taking steps to help, for example, understanding when I don't quite catch the words (I hear the sound, but can't decipher the individual words), and there's little of that understanding forthcoming.  I have pondered getting hearing aids (even in they're dummies/fake) to have people concentrate.
Perhaps there is a reason I conduct much of my business on the phone? (where I can control the volume...)

My answer appeared over Christmas.  Chatting to my 9yo son (geek talk, mostly) he told me that he can hear a noise.  A high pitched noise.   All the time.
Oh.  So perhaps it's genetic.  My son hasn't been to gigs or worked in a club, and although he does like Metallica and the Foo Fighters (that's my boy!) he's not experienced a real live "loud" gig.

The flip side, in father mode, is helping him understand how and why - I've got little to work with.

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