Deafness and playing

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by jockinafrock, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    I recently had confirmed that I have a conductive hearing loss (otosclerosis) in my left ear. There's almost no hearing in that ear, and I've known for yonks things weren't right, but hubby thinks I was just ignoring him... ;)

    Anyway - it really affects my ability to hear certain things with any clarity. Tuning is a nightmare, especially since I play rep and everyone's on my left! Find it difficult to distinguish between flat and sharp now, and this is actually quite upsetting.. :(

    Possibility of having the 3 bones (y'know, the hammer, anvil and stirrup...) replaced with prostheses (Don't know how they'll fit all this paraphenalia in!) but has anyone any experience with deafness, and how they've coped?:dunno

    Great excuse for not getting up in the morning is if I lie on my right side I wouldn't hear a bomb go off, let alone the alarm clock! Wish it had been a prob when the kids woke thru' the night as babies, mind... !

    Thanks folks!

    ps - you'll have to shout!
  2. a very flat b

    a very flat b Member

    I lost my hearing in my right ear after an infection a few years ago. I haven't found a paticular problem when playing. Actually being on BBb and next to the percussion it sometimes help.
    In all seriousness the brain is a clever piece of kit and it will start to compensate.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  3. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    I can hear most things perfectly well, but I have great difficulty hearing what folk are saying to me if there are any other peritheral sounds going on.

    My hearing loss is due to spending 30 odd years standing in front of PA Speakers with a show band.

    I was prescribed a digital hearing aid which is useless because it amplifies all the background noises as well as the speech so the detail is still obliterated.
    They can be adjusted by a technician, but I've given up on mine - it's languished in my desk drawer for the past few years.

    I have dreadful trouble hearing what MDs are saying and those sat next to me must be sick of me asking "Where's he going from" or "What number in the red book" ?
    It can be embarrassing when I THINK I know what he's asked me and I give a totally unrelated answer.

    Every cloud has a silver lining though.
    I have perfected the art of feigning deafness when Mrs W asks me to do the washing up or some other distasteful chore and blaming it on my duff lugs.
    She claims my deafness is "Selective" but she can't prove it can she ? - Heh Heh !!

    - Wilkie
  4. stevo700

    stevo700 New Member

    I've been using digital hearing aids, (both sides), for about 3 years. They took a lot of getting used to, but they've made a huge difference. I thought our lot could play quietly before ;)Some others I know can't get on with them at band at all, and one of our 'less gifted' players said that they "make my playing sound awful" Welcome to our world......
  5. hellyfrost

    hellyfrost Member

    I've been deaf in my right ear since birth, but wasn't diagnosed until I was 16 (thanks to the local hospital's poor quality service!).
    I like you find tuning a nightmare, although I do find it easier on cornet than it was on horn.
    My left ear compensates most of the time, and tries to hear everything, but I'm told this will start to deteriorate at some point, but they can't be sure when.
    As a teenager it used to really bother and upset me so I rarely ever told anyone. I always found ways to get everyone standing on my left, choose a seat at a table where I'll be on the corner and can hear a lot better, nod and smile when you've no idea what someone just said to you ;) and you'll start to learn to lip read as well. Noisy places are my worst nightmare for having a conversation, a busy bar or pub, loud restaurant etc. because I have to turn my head and get them to talk into my good ear.
    As for band and playing, I cope at the moment by having a great guy who lets me sit on his right even though I'm bottom third cornet so that I can hear him and get the tuning and timing right. In a horn section I always like to have one other horn player sitting to my left so I can tune properly, although it doesn't always happen and I end up way out of tune and get some funny looks from conductors :rolleyes:
    You'll find ways to cope, don't worry! I know how you feel though, it is quite upsetting xx
  6. cornet-blower

    cornet-blower New Member

    Dear jockinafrock

    My grandfather played BBb bass and held the position of deputy-bandmaster for many years with his local Salvation Army band and he was totally deaf.

    Regretfully he died when I was very young and I didn't get the chance to chat to him about it, but his deafness never stopped him from doing what he wanted to do.

    As 'a very flat b' said, the brain is a marvellous thing and often compensates in other ways. You should just persevere and enjoy every opportunity that comes your way.
  7. MrsDoyle

    MrsDoyle Supporting Member

    Sorry to hear about your complaint.

    Best wishes.
  8. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    I am partially deaf in both ears. Hearing aids to boot.

    You get used to it.

    Tuning can be an issue, but there are other ways of telling.
  9. YellowTubs

    YellowTubs New Member

    Pretty much the same as me, I have major problems trying to hear people when there is other noise in the background. I'm attributing this to years of brass band drumming and loud thrash metal abuse!! :metal:

    My wife has been talking for a while about some form of hearing protection. Has anyone any ideas or experience of this in a banding situation?
  10. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    It's a part of my life that I accept, it's just the effects it has... Short of the look on the conductor's face how do you tell you're out of tune? And more to the point, what if it's someone else that's actually out of tune...? I appreciate Evelyn Glennie 'feels' the sounds, not so easy for me I'm afraid..
  11. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    My apologies, Jock, my post wasn't helpful at all, really.

    Tuning is an awful subject. You can actually feel if you're in tune or not by how the chord feels. I couldn't tell you how I do it. A mixture of feel and listening.

    And when it's someone else and you think it's you. You just have to trust in what you are doing. I know a player who got really hung up on tuning and it nearly destroyed him because someone new joined the section and changed the tuning. He thought it was him that was out of tune but couldn't figure out how to fix it. Fortunately for him, he was asked to do work with another section and had a quiet word with someone about it who assured him that his tuning was excellent.

    The biggest tuning problem I find in bands are the people who steadfastly insist that they are in tune. Their tuning slide has been there for 20 years and they are always in tune, regardless of how much gunk has been put down there since it was last cleaned how ever many years ago.
    As a trombone player, if ever there is a note out of tune, the band always looks to the trombones. Always.
    Valving isn't a case of put this valve down and it's in tune. That's BS.
    What I meant by "You get used to it" is literally just that. You do get used to it. There aint no quick fix and please don't play to a tuner. You just have to persevere and practise.

    Play in tune with yourself first and foremost. Know what notes are naturally sharp or flat on your specific instrument then worry about the band.
  12. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    Cheers for that...! :D
  13. johnandy

    johnandy New Member

    Hearing loss is a serious problem. It is always better to hold it an initial stage so as to avoid the major harm to our life. Hearing loss directly affect the life routine and make it a hell. I would suggest you to go for the available online hearing tests and ensure your hearing ability.
  14. KenIrvin

    KenIrvin Member

    It may sound like a daft comment but why not try moving further down the line. Surely its only convention that dictates Rep is on the outside back row
  15. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    Did even better than that - got out of the band totally!! :biggrin:
  16. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I have to say that's sad. I could never imagine not playing. I've gone deaf in my right ear and I get a lot of tinnitus because of that. I'm not stone deaf, but I have lost a lot of the higher frequency ranges. I blame it on having to sit in front of drummers who insisted on banging the carp out of their kit regardless of the dynamics involved in the music, and who occasionally took childish delight in making me jump or cringe away from their carefully placed cymbals. After over 40 years of this, it should hardly be surprising that there should be some loss. So far, tuning is not an issue, but I find it very difficult to join in conversations in noisy places and I think people sometimes think I'm stand-offish. It's just that I can't really understand everything that they say - especially if I can't see their mouths clearly. I think, as well, that some folks don't like the way I stare at their mouths when they talk. But if I don't, I've little chance of following the conversation.
  17. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    Hi Mike - wasn't the probs with my ear that made me go ... more sick of a certain power-crazed individual telling players they were c**p, fu***ng idiots, etc and decided to join another band!
  18. euphymike

    euphymike Member

    Tinitus in both ears just flat of G#! Due to playing in pop and rock bands. As it was financially very good and a great life I guess I accept it for my sins! Although had it since '92 so getting a bit tedious now!
    I'm lucky that I have people around me in the band who accept it. However, it has heightened my tuning sensitivity greatly. Alas no reason not to play the right notes in the right places!
  19. theflyingcornet

    theflyingcornet New Member

    Well I think a certain amount of deafness is akin to good honest battle scars, if your hearing damage is a little more noticeable than the average, then its a sign of the years of commitment you have obviously dedicated to brass bands at all levels for which you can only be applauded! As long as you don't go down the road of adjudication at any level in the future, you can and should be proud of toy well earned hearing loss.
  20. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    This was exactly my problem. I also found that some folk took my lack of response, or inappropriate response as an indication of my ignorance, stupidity or both.

    I lost my high frequencies during 35 years standing in front of PA speakers whilst fronting a Bavarian Oompah Band.

    As you say, it is more difficult when there is peripheral noise. Group conversations are also very difficult.
    Soft spoken MDs (a rare breed I know) were also a problem for me.
    Steve Butler must have been heartily sick of me leaning over in band practice and whispering in his lug "Where's he going from"!!!

    - Mr Wilx