In collaboration with Mariagiovanna Nuzzi.
Tinnitus is a half hour composition exploring the sound world of people with hearing disorders. The sound design in this piece is based on an interview with someone experiencing tinnitus, describing the sound to me and comparing it to the synthesized sound that I have created, as well as discussing the social and psychological consequences of experiencing hearing loss and hearing a ringing sound all the time.
- Sound design and composition: Marije Baalman
- Text and voice: Mariagiovanna Nuzzi
Tinnitus (/tɪˈnaɪtəs/ or /ˈtɪnɪtəs/; from the Latin word tinnītus meaning “ringing”) is the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound.
Tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom that can result from a wide range of underlying causes: abnormally loud sounds in the ear canal for even the briefest period (but usually with some duration), ear infections, foreign objects in the ear, nasal allergies that prevent (or induce) fluid drain, or wax build-up. Withdrawal from a benzodiazepine addiction may cause tinnitus as well. In-ear headphones, whose sound enters directly into the ear canal without any opportunity to be deflected or absorbed elsewhere, are a common cause of tinnitus when volume is set beyond moderate levels.
Tinnitus can also be caused by natural hearing impairment (as is often seen in aging), as a side effect of some medications, and as a side effect of genetic (congenital) hearing loss. However, the most common cause is noise-induced hearing loss.
As tinnitus is usually a subjective phenomenon, it is difficult to measure using objective tests, such as by comparison with noise of known frequency and intensity, as in an audiometric test. The condition is often rated clinically on a simple scale from “slight” to “catastrophic” according to the practical difficulties it imposes, such as interference with sleep, quiet activities, and normal daily activities.
Tinnitus is common; about 20% of people between 55 and 65 years old report symptoms on a general health questionnaire, and 11.8% on more detailed tinnitus-specific questionnaires.