Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Life in Mono

This Guardian article describes the experiences of the music critic Nick Coleman since he woke up one morning last August and suddenly could not hear in one ear, having suffered 'sudden neurosensory hearing loss' (an unexplained hearing loss, it would seem), plus there are problems with balance (I assume they have excluded Meniere's disease as a possibility). Obviously not good for his profession (hence lifestyle and everything). In addition he has some form of tinnitus which is extremely noisy and gets worse if there is background noise, such as music. Terrifying stuff, no?

He finds his responses to music, when he can bear to listen to it, now very two-dimensional, ie hearing the music does not bring the same emotional response that it used to do, except that sometimes it does. This he is currently exploring with Oliver Sacks, the psychiatrist (who has just lost the sight in one eye) and David Levitin, both of whom have written books on the interactions between the brain, the mind and the music.

It will be fascinating to follow his journey and to see where it leads him - but who would want to be in his shoes?

Interestingly, in Germany there is a condition called 'Gehoersturz', also a sudden loss of hearing, for which people are admitted to hospital very urgently. It is usually curable, from what I hear, and often it is linked to stress. Strange, though, that other cultures don't know about a condition which would be, one would think, extremely measurable.


granny p said...

Listening to Verdi currently - courtesy internet and radio 3 - I can't imagine anything WORSE. And it isn't even my profession.