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Hearing Loss And Singing


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#1 Guest: Dagny_*

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 04:04

I woke up this morning with incredible pain in my left ear. It turned out that a bad cold I've been suffering from had also morphed into an equally bad ear infection, which ruptured my eardrum. Although I soon found out that it would heal and I wouldn't have any permanent hearing loss, when I thought I might only have limited hearing in my left ear, I was literally in tears because I thought that, among other things, it would make singing very difficult.
My question is, does anyone know what effects hearing loss has on singers? Obviously if it's total that's the end, but what about limited hearing loss? Say, partial hearing loss in one or both ears?
This question may be beyond the scope of this board, but I'm interested in finding out what other people have heard about it. I'm going to be looking on my own on the internet and perhaps ask my doctor if I can make it back for a follow up visit (my insurence may not cover seeing an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, so I might not be doing the follow up like they recommended), and if others are interested, I'll certainly post whatever I find out.
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#2 Guest: Digby_*

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 07:44

Oh goodness, poor you

My immediate reaction is, unless you absolutely have to, don't sing until you are fully healed as the vibration from the singing may delay the healing process (and hurt!)

I am no doctor, but having had full use of your hearing the knowledge of pitch has already developed so from that point of view, whilst it certainly wouldn't be easy losing some of your hearing, I wouldn't have thought it would be completely the end.

Hope it heals soon

good luck
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#3 Guest: meerkat_*

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 07:46

Can I just reassure you about two things? Firstly, generally ruptures from ear infections do heal completely (it happened to my daughter, and she has perfect hearing again now). Secondly, if there is lasting damage, in one ear, it's definitely not going to have a lasting impact on your singing. My dad had chicken pox as a child, which settled on his ear and completely destroyed his hearing in one ear. As he's grown older, natural aging processes have meant he's got only quite partial hearing in the other ear (he needs to lip read to hear ordinary conversation, a lot of the time). But his voice is just as lovely now as it's always been.

I'm sorry this has happened, and I understand why you feel so upset, but do try not to worry too much, and just put your energies into recovering.

Take good care of yourself Dagny.
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#4 Guest: sarah-flute_*

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 09:05

I burst an eardrum when I was in my late teens, and it has healed completely - I still am more prone to infections in that ear, but I don't think it has affected my hearing... it took quite a long time to heal, and I had horrible buzzing noises/distorted hearing in that ear while it did, but no permanent hearing loss or anything. So, don't panic.

*hugs* if you're a huggy person.
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#5 Guest: possom_*

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 09:23

I know someone who began singing lessons later in life although she was completely deaf in one ear. She was fantastic! She had a habit of singing to the good ear so that her mouth was crooked though blink.gif

I had a really bad ear infection 2 weeks ago, took over a week to go and kept getting awful noises, pops and all sorts, is ok now. My sister says you can buy Hopi candles at the health food shop, these are small candles that someone holds in your ear and then burns all the wax out, she says they're great so i'm going to get some and give them a go.
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#6 Guest: meerkat_*

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 10:20

the candles are good - but definitely not if you already have a perforation. Do be careful!
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#7 Guest: possom_*

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 10:43

QUOTE(meerkat @ Apr 30 2006, 11:20 AM)  

the candles are good - but definitely not if you already have a perforation. Do be careful!


Yes, good point! Sorry, should have mentioned that!
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#8 Guest: Dagny_*

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 18:11

QUOTE(sarah-flute @ Apr 30 2006, 04:05 AM)  

I burst an eardrum when I was in my late teens, and it has healed completely - I still am more prone to infections in that ear, but I don't think it has affected my hearing... it took quite a long time to heal, and I had horrible buzzing noises/distorted hearing in that ear while it did, but no permanent hearing loss or anything. So, don't panic.

*hugs* if you're a huggy person.


I am quite a huggy person, so thank you. And thanks to all of the rest of you too. I'm actually feeling a bit better already, the antibiotics start working pretty fast. I'm certainly not going to be singing any time soon though.

I did some research on the issue. The most common thing that came up is that singers and musicians in general are at a greater risk of losing their hearing than many other people due to Noise Induced Hearing Loss. It's not just the typically "loud" type music that causes it too - if you play with an orchestra, sing opera, or even teach music you're in danger. The first symptom is loss of hearing of high frequency sounds. You can also lose your ability to hear changes in pitch. Tinnitus, ringing in the ears, is also a problem.
They had less about the effects, but they talk about overcompensation as being the biggest problem; basically, you sing/play louder so that you can hear yourself and make sure you're on the right note, which presents problems artistically (you're playing too loud) and can cause damage to your voice. Although you have all given examples of people who still sing with hearing loss, from what I've read they must be rare because if you can't stay in tune, hear changes in pitch, or use dynamics effectively (all consequences of hearing loss) and I see how you can sing.
I guess that's a good reminder for all of us to take care of our hearing.
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