This is the story of my tinnitus, which affects my ability to enjoy silence. Through the telling of the story, I’ve tried to create a kind of music that questions where the edge lies between signal and noise.
Tinnitus (ringing in the ear) is one of the most common medical conditions in North America. I’ve struggled with tinnitus since 2004. Sometimes, noise is my ally, especially at night. It’s made me think about what makes us call certain things noise, silence or music, and it’s led me to believe we’re suffering from a sort of societal tinnitus.
The original music in this story includes audio derived from everyday sounds that we think of as noise: the hum of my refrigerator, the whine of my TV, the buzz of my computer, and so on.
Featuring the voices of Gordon Hempton (sound ecologist, Grammy-award winning recordist, defender of One Square Inch of Silence) and Dr. Glynnis Tidball (my audologist, who runs the Tinnitus Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada).
The creation of Signal to Noise was funded by a Sound Bank grant from In the Dark (inthedarkradio.org). Special thanks to Francesca Panetta and Nina Garthwaite.