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A Guest Post from Andrew Ford
We all get that ringing sound in our ears from time to time. Nothing more than a mild annoyance, it soon fades away, back into obscurity and is quickly forgotten. But sometimes it doesn’t fade away, and then the anxiety level reaches DEFCON 1 and a full-on war breaks out in the mind.
Short of losing a limb, as a musician it’s hard to imagine anything worse. It’s like having two of your most annoying mates, shouting in your ears all day and night, and not even pausing for breath! For me, this was killing my enjoyment of music and killing my career before it had even begun. These were dark times…
It’s okay – you can come out from behind the sofa now. It’s not the end of the world. There is life after tinnitus. And you don’t have to sell your guitar and join a hermitage. There are many high-profile musicians who suffer from tinnitus, Chris Martin and Plan B to name a couple. There are even tutors here at the ACM who have tinnitus. And one thing that all these people have in common is that they are still doing what they love.
So, what can we do? As a musician, hearing loss is a given, but we are talking damage control. Get yourself some custom fitted earplugs. ACM have a deal with the guys at Read Audio offering student discounts, and you can get your ears moulded here on campus. At the very least, head down to Andertons and pick up some generic ones from there. They take a bit of getting used to, but it’s worth it. And remember to take lots of breaks to allow your ears to recover.
Anxiety and stress are probably the biggest contributors to tinnitus, so it’s worth keeping them in check. Mindfulness meditation can work wonders for this and can be beneficial for your overall wellbeing. If you are really struggling with stress and anxiety, get in contact with student relations and they will be able to make an appointment for you with an in-house counsellor.
Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming tinnitus presentation where I will be discussing coping strategies and will also be showcasing a beautiful musical instrument called the Hang.
I graduated from ACM in 2007 studying the guitar and have lots of experience playing keys for a number of reggae bands. I’ve played shows supporting acts such as Easy Star Allstars, Dawn Penn, Dreadzone and Akil the MC. These days I’m teaching piano, working at ACM in education guidance and making music for meditation and relaxation. Innerpieces.co.uk