I am having the strangest experience here of late, and I thought to share it with ATS, not only because of the general fascination that I find in the
experience, but also in order to elicit some hypothesis from this highly intelligent and creative community.
Just lately, and intermittently though it seems to be increasing in both frequency and length, my hearing will suddenly take on a profoundly
“chorused” effect. Now for those of you who might not know what I'm talking about when I refer to a chorus effect, I'm essentially describing
an effect which is commonly used amongst musicians (I'm a guitarist) where an effect is applied that separates the signal leaving the amplifier with
a like-wise tone that lags behind the original sound by just a minuscule amount (and I'm talking microseconds). The effect of doing this creates a
very “full” sound, and it is the sound that I use exclusively.
Now just a bit about me and my hypothesis of what is happening. I'm more or less a hermit and have lived for years and years as a guitarist, but
this is the first time that I've found myself exploring such solitude and, frankly, motionlessness. Essentially, I sit on my couch most of the day,
same place everyday, and rarely leave this position save to sleep, shop or shower (the big 3 S's). My amp sits just a few feet to my right side,
basically just off of my right ear by maybe 4 feet. Like me, it does not move, so I guess you could say we're a bonded pair. Just for those who
might know I'll mention quickly that this is a Fender Ultimate Chorus 2X12 (meaning it has 2 12 inch speakers sitting side by side). I don't use
effects. I never change the sound and I never turn off the amp, so it sits next to my right ear and creates this low pitched throbbing sound (again,
guitarists will know what I mean). The TV sits in front of me which I watch waaay too much, so the sound is pretty ever present in that ear. I leave
it on so that I'll play. My guitar sits next to me like a girlfriend, and this is basically a technique that I use in order to constantly cajole
myself into playing, which keeps me sharp, practiced and in order to continue to evolve my sound. Then, of course, when I do play, I often play quite
loud (it's a fairly loud amp), and all that volume goes into that right ear. So...to my point.
I believe that the constant exposure to my amplifier has somehow created this effect that is beginning to manifest in my ear. As I mentioned earlier
when giving a cursory explanation of the chorus effect, there is basically a “root” tone. That is to say, if you were to turn off the chorus on
the amp, it would be the “second” or lagging sound that would drop off, because that's the one being created by the amps effects module. In this
vein, I definitely perceive that my left, or unexposed ear is the “root” ear, and the right is becoming the effect itself. I swear, this is the
strangest thing. I actually didn't realize the profundity of it until tonight. I walk and talk with my girlfriend and I've been having the
experience, but tonight this little girl across the street yelled over to us to say hello, and when I yelled back over to her, when I really raised my
voice in order to carry across the street, I noticed it powerfully! As we continued on our walk I was experiencing it strongly with my own voice, but
she, being on my left side, I didn't hear it as I kept my face forward. So I conducted a simple experiment. I held my head perfectly forward and
had her speak directly at my left side...no effect. Then I turned and faced her directly and had her do so again...chorus effect.
Now there are only two things that could be occurring here as I see it, and this is where I look forward to hearing from this community.
1) I've caused some sort of physiological damage to my right ear through constant exposure to loud sound. A perfectly plausible explanation that I
think most people would probably say is the case (but hey, this is ATS, I don't get on here to talk with “most people”).
2) I have created through this ceaseless exposure an actual change in my brain physiology. That the right ears almost always waking stimulus includes
this chorus effect, that my brain itself has developed this effect as part of its normal condition, so that when I walk away from the amp now, the
brain itself recreates in my perceptual reality.
Though it's somewhat disconcerting, other than the effect itself I'm not really experiencing any aberrant conditions, though I am getting a touch of
vertigo. That's it.
And so ATS...what are your thoughts?
I thought just now to include a sample of me playing, just in case anyone is actually curious enough to see just who is this crazy musician with
guitar effects in his head...
Yeah...that would make sense. Ha! It was just such a strange experience that I wanted to put it out there to see if anyone had any thoughts on it
or, even better, knew what I was referring to, but damned if the Post didn't go nearly completely ignored (save for you of course). I thank you for
your kind words and concern.
Lead Guitar player here...I spent the entire time from 1964-1998 on stage, standing on rt leg, lt ft on wah or some other pedal, guitar slung lt of
course, with rt ear turned a bit back w whole body toward 1 sometimes 2 Marshall stacks.(or once upon a time 2 Fender Twin Reverbs on top of 2-2/15"
Dual Showman bottoms.)
What with nightly exposure to rt side volume in rt ear....after a hearing test...I have a 30% hearing loss on that side. Ted Nugent and Pete Townsend
of the Who have the same issue.
I have tinnitus 100% of the time...and refridgerators, fans, etc..vibrate at certain notes that only I seem to notice.
I've experienced the chorus, phase shifting, Doppler type sounds for years when not on stage or in the studio.
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