For the past 30 and some years, I have been fortunate to be involved in the Live Sound Industry, a career I thoroughly enjoy. Originally from the US, I settled in the United Kingdom 20 years ago to raise my family. During my time here, I have worked in various roles:
- Live Touring Front of House and Monitor Mix Engineering
- Music Stage Monitor Engineering for Television Broadcast
- Live Audio System Design and Installation
- Consultation for Live Sound Broadcast Television.
Unfortunately sometime in 2010, I developed some hearing impairments which would change the course of my life. These hearing impairments were caused by over exposure to crowd noise in my work environment and not from the technical work I actually engage in. I was shocked to learn that despite my precautions throughout my career to protect my hearing, the one ‘thing’ that would get me was something that we all could fall victim to. That ‘thing’ turned out to be over exposure to loud sounds that were beyond my control. In this case it was over exposure to crowd noise, something I never anticipated. As a result of the exposure, I now suffer from the combined hearing conditions of noise induced Tinnitus and Hyperacusis.
In the most basic terms, Tinnitus is a condition of hearing sounds that are not there and Hyperacusis is a condition of intolerance to certain sounds, everyday sounds.
Tinnitus is a condition most people are aware of. Hyperacusis is a condition a bit more obscure and seemingly, more difficult for people to get their heads around.
I have had to alter my career path and give up certain aspects of the work that I enjoy and take pride in. Fortunately, along with the help of my colleagues at ACS Custom UK and support from family and friends, I have now developed coping methods to deal with these conditions. As a result of this, I now aim to raise awareness of Noise Induced Hearing Issues. In my work and travels, I am amazed at the number of people I come across of different ages, gender and work/social environments, who are affected by Noise Induced Hearing Issues. Many share their stories about how their symptoms are similar to what I have experienced and I find those symptoms vary greatly from individual to individual. I say ‘Issues’ because this is not always about hearing loss.
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