Ears and Hearing

02024-06-06 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

The most mind-blowing moment, not only for De La Mata but the scientists too, came when they managed to actually record the sounds that she heard in her ears – which now appear as ‘Left Ear’ and ‘Right Ear’ which begin sides A and B on the album – and in doing so opened up questions about the nature of tinnitus itself. “The NHS definition is that it’s a phantom sound that your brain is creating, that it isn’t something ‘real’, so you should try to ignore it.” By having De La Mata place her ear into an anechoic chamber, with an ultra-sensitive microphone perched in her ear canal, they were able to provide significant evidence to the contrary. “After the first recording of it, it was ‘There’s no way, this isn’t possible.’” They tried again with her breath held, and again with her tensing her ears, and again with other members of staff, but each time it became apparent that yes, the noises De La Mata hears are seemingly something physical. 

Uneasy on the Ear: An Interview with Lola De La Mata

Most musicians have some form of tinnitus. It comes with the job. Accidental feedback, a cable failing… there are many ways to lose hearing and it doesn’t have to be the result of exposure to extreme volume. Accidents happen. Most wood workers cut their fingers at some point. Like I said, part of the job. 

What is interesting about the linked article I quoted is that De La Mata was told she had severe tinnitus but instead of a phantom sound she heard something that could be recorded, therefore a sound somehow created by some part of her ears. 

This demonstrates that we still know very little about the ears. Perhaps what De La Mata suffers from is not actually tinnitus but a different affliction, as yet unnamed. I imagine we will need new ways to measure every person who hears tones, to find out whether they hear phantom tones or real sounds. 

1 Comment

  1. anne

    a finger heals , not the same.

    tinnitus, if constant, would be dreadful.
    Phantom vrs real …is a real concern…. curious about the research now.

    (know what chronic issues can be like …mine, is -eyes – even with perfect vision…very little research cause pharma can’t make money)-


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