No Guts No Glory

At rehearsal tonight we were without a drummer. I decided to bail on the guitar and help out the team on drums. It was a lot of fun. But I am so paranoid about my hearing since the onset of tinnitus. I found myself hoping that I did not cause any damage to my ears by playing the drums.

There is no doubt that the tinnitus that I have been experiencing has come down significantly. It flairs a little bit every once in a while. For a few minutes here and there during the evening and when I first wake up in the morning. Some people afflicted with this terrible condition call it the T-Monster. Whatever I am experiencing is quite mild compared to some of the horror stories out there on the web. I really do not even notice it for most of the day and evening.

Most of my battle is pyschological. I think I will be okay with the passage of time. But I have certainly gone through a lot of stress with it. And there are days where the presence of tinnitus still causes me a lot of anxiety. I’m not sure why. I guess I will have to ask my therapist.

It Is Not All In My Head

The ringing in my head has pretty much disappeared. There is still a fairly noticeable whooshing sound, primarily out of my left ear, which is generating noise in my head. It comes and goes into my conscious mind, reminding me that spending time in a really quiet place, at least for now, is not a good plan.

My hearing is highly sensitized to the sound likely due to all that I went through over the last two weeks. I hope that the sound continues to lose energy and that I begin to adapt to the sound so that I can move on with other things in my life.

I am now able to get a full night’s sleep which is a tremendous relief. For most of the previous week, I was actually frightened to go to bed. I went in to work even though I was completely exhausted. I wasn’t sure how much longer I would be able to function without sleep. Regardless, I was thankful to be at work so that I could focus on something other than the sound in my head.

I am pleased that sleeping pills were not necessary. I am still a bit scared though. I have spent most of the past thirty years of my life working with sound. It would be hard to give that up. Thankfully, I have tested my hearing and the ears can perceive full range sound quite well.

So the physical challenge with tinnitus really had an impact on me. And the unexpected death of a friend really had an impact on me.

I find myself armed with a new resolve about life. To recognize and celebrate the many blessings that I am fortunate enough to enjoy.

Tinnitus Part II

I met with the doctor today to review my current challenge with hearing. And some good news. After an array of tests, the human audio system of Richard Cleaver is in excellent working order.

His view is that the tinnitus that I am experiencing is temporary and it will soon be on its merry way. Most cases of tinnitus are quite minor. He cautioned me that Dr. Google will highlight the extreme cases which is simply not consistent with the overwhelming majority of people who experience the condition. And, for me, the experience of tinnitus that I have gone through over the past week has been very scary. I can’t imagine the stress that some people have to go through with prolonged tinnitus.

A number of notable people who have endured tinnitus include Ludwig van Beethoven, Bono, Betsy Casey, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, John Densmore, James Hetfield, Guy Kawasaki, David Letterman, Gabe Lopez, Craig Nicholls, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Bedřich Smetana, Sylvester Stallone, Jack Straw, Barbra Streisand, Peter Sun, Pete Townshend, and Thom Yorke. Lots of musicians in that list.

So. Can I still play music? Yes. Can I still record audio and do live sound? Yes. The only thing I can’t do is play the violin. And that’s because I don’t know how to play the violin.


I know what it’s like not to be able to fall asleep at night because of the noise of a jet turbine in my head.

I’ve been there.

I know what it’s like to be incredibly exhausted in the afternoon … following a restless night … but not want to take even a brief nap, because I knew I’d wake up with twice the roar I started with.

I’ve been there.

I know what it’s like to want to beat my head against the wall because of the noise. I know what it’s like for the idea of putting food to my mouth to cause my stomach to knot up with nausea because of the trains going by in my head.

I know what it’s like to be an adult male in his late forties and want to put my head on my 80-year-old mother’s lap so she can rub it and make things quiet … and I know what it’s like to see tears in her eyes because she can’t help.

I’ve been there.

I know what it’s like to want to die. I know what it’s like to see a loving wife sick with worry and fear. And I know what it’s like to just about fall apart when a five year old son looks at his father’s ears and says, “Daddy, I wish I could just reach in there with my fingers and pull that bad noise out so you could be happy again.”

You see, I’ve been there, too. So I think I know damn tinnitus.

And I’m here to tell you that you can overcome it.

I hope he is right. I see the doctor tomorrow.

Sometimes I feel like I am going insane with this noise in my head.