Speaker: Dr Marie Thompson, Open University
Tinnitus is a diverse auditory phenomenon that involves the perception of a sound for which there is no external source.
Though their relationship is infrequently considered in detail, tinnitus has a close connection with music.
In this talk, I examine the complex intersection of tinnitus, musical listening and musical labour.
Framing my argument in relation to two examples– Carl Craig’s 2020 sound installation Party/After Party and the legal case Goldscheider v Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation  – I identify an apparent tension between, on the one hand, recent attempts to acknowledge ‘auraldiversity’ in music (Drever 2019), and on the other, the often-paternalistic campaigns for musicians to protect their ears.
Where the former has sought to dismantle the audism that accompanies much musical thought and practice, the latter has often relied on tragic and pejorative constructions of hearing impairment and disability.
I suggest that tinnitus requires us to address this tension: it reveals music as a possible cause of disablement, as well as highlighting the need to rethink music’s ‘normate’ listener.
About the Speaker:
Marie Thompson is a Lecturer in Popular Music at the Open University. She is the author of Beyond Unwanted Sound: Noise, Affect and Aesthetic Moralism (Bloomsbury, 2017).
Marie is the Primary Investigator of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Project, Tinnitus, Auditory Knowledge and the Arts.
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