Hello everybody, my name is Martins and I come from Latvia and I want to share my unique story, maybe not so unique in the end. And I have to apologize that my problem is not tinnitus but it is hearing loss. But I couldn’t find another forum.
When I was 2 years old (now being 22) I had meningitis complications after the illness was moderate hearing loss in left ear and little hearing loss in right ear. The damage is mostly in low and middle frequency range (see the attached audiogram).
I still remember first time when I and my parents realised about hearing problem. I was about 4-5 years old and my grandmother was speaking with family member on the phone and she called me over so I can greet my relative, she put the phone to my left ear to which I responded : "Grandma, I don’t hear with this ear! " instead I put phone to my right ear. After conversation was over she was confused and she asked me what do I mean by not hearing with my left ear and I answered to her that it’s normal for me. It was just the way it was for me and I thought that every person hears less with one of their ears.
Couple of years went by and my parents, more precisely my grandfather decided to take me to music school (piano lessons) funnily enough to take your kid with hearing loss to music school. I wish I could ask today my grandad why he chose music out of all the other possibilities. Anyways I didn’t like it (keep in mind that Latvia is post soviet country so the teaching methods and teachers where rooted in USSR kind of approach, where all the problems most of the time are seen just a lack of discipline and lack of practice briefly speaking) in fact I hated it I wanted to quit many, many times but my parents outsmarted me with finding excuses about finishing the year and then we would see, then when year was finished there was excuse, but look how much you have already finished etc. Nevertheless until age of 15-16 I was playing piano and singing in music school, singing being my main subject. Around age of 15 I had to switch from singing to wind instrument and it turned out to be trombone. If you are still reading - the bell of trombone is next to players left ear (its my most damaged ear).
So I started to play trombone and again I didn’t enjoy it like the rest of musical activities I had to do before in music school. But around same time I discovered purely by myself rock music and the sound of drums and guitars and I started to learn to play guitar and became obsessed with it. Although I already have been playing instruments and singing I actually had no any clue about what music really is but through guitar I for the first time in my life I really experienced and understood it.
Time went on, life happened and I studied trombone in highschool instead of guitar I was suffering because I was not able to hear my instrument properly I suspect that was also the reason why I didn’t get attached to the instrument. I was not able to produce pedal tones still I’m not to this day. I’m kind of tone deaf in low register although I have played bass guitar for couple years as well, mostly relying on my eyes instead of ears. It was really difficult for me to do same things on trombone as my fellow classmates. Teachers expected from me the same level as from the rest of the students. I was completely in myself I was not telling anyone about how I felt. I had a difficult time when I had to play together with piano accompanying. I think it’s because I kind of have one ear with which I can hear defined pitch if I close my good ear and listen to music mostly what I hear is drum cymbals or anything else in that frequency range. Nevertheless I survived music highschool I graduated. I went through serious anxiety, stress and panic attacks I was completely depressed. Teachers and my parents didn’t really understood my situation and i also didn’t really know how to properly articulate myself.
I went on to study abroad I auditioned for the music conservatory in Netherlands I got accepted and now I’m in my 3rd year of bachelor in music. I see it as life brought me here, it was not my own conscious decision to come and study here. But luckily I’m in very nice environment here where I can explore myself much more than I would be able to do it in other conservatory’s.
Teachers, parents my girlfriend at that time encouraged me to come here. I have hearing aid from Phonak, high end one, but it’s basically useless when it comes to music.
My biggest issue is to recognize low frequency sound so maybe somebody has similar hearing loss and have suggestions how could I practice it. How to deal with it.
If you read this I really appreciate it and I would like to hear any kind of opinions and reflections.