Q & A
Allan MacDonald has been drumming for over 45 years and has been living with tinnitus for the past 12 years. Here is his story.
Q - What is your band history?
A – I started learning the snare drum in 1973 with Rothesay and District taught by Derry McDermott. I then played with 100 Pipers Whisky and then Caledonian Airways, Polkemet and Strathclyde Police/Greater Glasgow Police under the leadership of Eric Ward.
Q – When did you first become aware of any issue with your ears?
A – I had a loss of hearing in my left ear around 12 years ago.
Q- What were the initial symptoms?
A – It all began with a buzzing sound in the ear. I ignored this for some time before attending the doctors. I was diagnosed with a cholesteatoma (diseased growth) in my left ear and had an operation to remove this from the middle ear. Around 4 years ago, the same issue occurred with my right side and undergone the same procedure to the right ear.
Q – What is your current condition and how has this effected your personal life and day to day living?
A- The tinnitus has become worse since loss of hearing in both ears and has created issue with sleep and I have issues with hearing people in conversations in noisy environments. I find playing the snare drum strange due to pitch changes in ears during rehearsals and indoor practice exacerbates this even further. Currently my left ear has chronic hearing loss. I could get an operation to add an implant but this is not guaranteed to work and could aggravate the problem. I get by with wearing hearing aids
Q- Did you know about tinnitus before you suffered from it?
A – I had heard of tinnitus before I had it and cannot express the need to protect your hearing in all walks of life, including the work place and your social life.
Q – What advice would you give to any younger player?
A – There is no cure for tinnitus and masking sounds through headphones only gives slight respite from the constant droning and high pitch tones in the head. I wouldn’t wish tinnitus on anyone and hope the new generation of drummers are mindful of the damage that can be done by ignoring the facts around noise level damage and the risk to their hearing.
Find out more information on tinnitus by clicking the below link