Do You Hear It Too?

A book designed and written to help new tinnitus sufferers become accustomed to the auditory disorder through medical information, first person knowledge, and shared experiences.

The book would be delivered to new sufferers by ENT Specialists or family doctors following their diagnosis.
What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is an auditory disorder often described as a ringning in the ears. It’s a phantom sound heard within the head of an individual with no external stimulus. I have this in both ears.

Why a Book?

What I hope to achieve with this book is delivering reassurance, education, and relation to tinnitus sufferers, more specifically, new tinnitus sufferers. This will ideally ease any emotional and psychological issues related to having tinnitus.

Research for this project consisted of reading medical texts, exploring online tinnitus chatrooms, and speaking with others who have tinnitus.

Studying medical texts allowed for me to gain a background knowledge on tinnitus, learn about the emotional and psychological effects, and how people are being treated for the disorder.

Exploring online chat rooms gave me first person knowledge regarding how people currently live with tinnitus, and understand what collective knowledge is being discussed between tinnitus sufferers.

Communicating with those who currently have tinnitus let me ask specific questions to sufferers. I could direct my research concerning specific issues and successfully find answers. This research was conducted through surveys as well as online interviews.

Experimentation began when creating a visual essay on the topic of tinnitus. The visual essay uses expressive letter forms, glitch effects, and photography to communicate what it feels like to have the auditory disorder.
Left to right, the visual essay depicts aggravated tinnitus, the standard feeling of tinnitus, and soothed tinnius.

The letter forms are created using ink and a brush. This allows for the forms to be spontanious and organic. They cannot be repeated perfectly. This connects to tinnitus being a subjective disorder. Different people are effected at different severities, nobodies life is affected in the exact same way as another.

Glitch effects represent an internal malfunction, this is essentially what tinnitus is. It is a sound produced by an auditory system malfunction causing a sound to be produced that does not exist outside the body.

Photography adds a physical quality to the visual essay. Tinnitus effects the body as well as the mind in ways such as sleeplessness, anxious shaking, and possible ear pain.

The colour scheme for the visual essay remains achromatic. This was a decision made from my own experience with tinnitus. When I close my eyes and listen to the ringing I visualise no colour, but rather a staticy texture. This texture can be found as the background for all three pieces of the visual essay. Kind of like a snowy television screen.

The final product of this project uses the design decisions made in the visual essay and my own authorship.
The book begins by introducing myself as a tinnitus sufferer and outlining what it is that I would like the reader to take away from the book. Then the book moves into delivering medical information to give the reader an understanding of the definition, and general background knowledge of the auditory disorder. From here I tell my story, how I could have gotten tinnitus and the personal issues I went through. Finally the book closes with presenting the valuable information gained through contacting other tinnitus sufferers.