5 artists share their tips on how to produce when you have tinnitus

today08/02/2024 4

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More often than not, tinnitus is untreatable and the best solutions come in the form of therapy or simply ‘ignoring it’. For producers who spend their day-to-day behind a screen and booming studio monitors, both professional and hobbyist, this can be an arduous experience that dampers work and an enjoyable pastime.

“Tinnitus can mess up your day, it can distract you,” explains US producer SHA SHA KIMBO, who began noticing the effects of tinnitus following years of clubbing in her 20s. “Some nights the tinnitus is so bad it keeps me awake, and when I’m stressed, it gets even worse,” she says. “As producers, we’re taught to hear sound differently like catching a sample when watching a TV show or noticing a specific frequency. It’s really difficult when you have tinnitus because it’s like a non-stop soundwave in your brain at all times.”

Read this next: “My life changed overnight”: Dealing with sudden hearing loss and tinnitus

Tinnitus can also be accentuated by small, usually unnoticeable habits such as drinking caffeine or having a restless night’s sleep. “Sometimes when I’m very stressed, have had a lot of caffeine, haven’t slept enough, or have been to a club, my tinnitus will get worse,” says Berlin-based producer and vocalist Lyra Pramuk. Lyra began noticing tinnitus in her right ear in her early 20s, years before she began going on nights out (although later made worse by clubbing), which was originally thought to be brought on by jaw, neck, and muscular tension. “It’s important to remember that tinnitus is connected to the entire central nervous system, so when we are tired, stressed, or sick, tinnitus can be amplified.”

For London producer and NTS resident LDLDN, who began noticing the symptoms of tinnitus 15 years ago, it’s become increasingly noticeable at any time of day. “As I started producing and DJing out more, my tinnitus became much more present,” he says. “Having tinnitus definitely affects your quality of life, both inside and outside music.”

We’ve spoken to five producers from across the music industry about their experiences with tinnitus as part of our ongoing series for Tinnitus Awareness Week 2024. They spoke about how it impacts their life and work, and shared some advice for those who suffer on how to navigate the complex nature of producing music with tinnitus. Check out their tips below.

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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