From 1986 to about 1998 I produced records and worked as a recording engineer. At my busiest I was doing 300 sessions a year recording everything from punk rock to orchestras, touring a bit, mixing concerts from NYC to Moscow and in general having a ball.
The whole thing was ended by tinnitus. It was heartbreaking, moreso because I always was incredibly careful with my hearing - wearing earplugs in loud environments, listening at low volume levels, avoiding anything loud.
1997 was about the worst year of my life. I was still doing sessions, and often found myself crying in the bathroom, scared that if I went into the control room I would be deaf, or people would discover I had tinnitus and would pull their project from me. I would leave sessions in the early mornings, drive home and fall asleep with my dog on the floor of my kitchen near the refrigerator - the purr and hum of the refrigerator's compressor would drown out the ringing so I could sleep. And in the morning, I would wake up and there would be a moment of silence. And the moment I noticed the moment of silence the ring would start again.
Eventually, I sold all my equipment, lost a lot of friends, and went into theatre, directing plays and teaching acting. I learned to not hear the ring - it is still there, but most of the time I forget it.
I wish, to this day, that I could be in the recording studio making records. I miss it like unrequited love. Writing this, my ears are ringing - they know when they're being talked about.
There are still mornings I wake up to a bouquet of silence, only to hear the ring a split second later.
This section of the site is a WIP... more on it later. I can't work on it for any amount of time - thinking about those days invites the the ring to visit. I am dying from it right now. Gah!