Independent Project: Tinnitus and Autophony

Tinnitus is defined as: Tinnitus (pronounced ti- ni-tis), or ringing in the ears, is the sensation of hearing ringing, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, or other sounds. The noise can be intermittent or continuous, and can vary in loudness.

Autophony is defined as: The hyperperception of one’s own voice, breathing and other internal sounds.

A visual exploration of how I think Tinnitus and Autophony would look if they were visible. I began this project by experimenting with animation and moving image, each animation was created frame by frame using Photoshop. Using some of the type and styles from my favourite animations, I created a series of posters.Some of the posters say “autophony” and some say “tinnitus”. As they are very different conditions that affect the same part of my brain I wanted to have a similar theme, but still a distinctive difference in the appearance of the posters.  They are both disruptive in different ways, but they can be very hard to describe to people who don’t have these conditions.

For me I find social situations with large groups quite difficult, not because I don’t embrace the social situation, but because the autophony particularly disrupts conversations. I find it difficult to speak as I can hear myself and my heartbeat much louder than the person I’m talking to.

Using my previous skills and experience in HTML and CSS, I collaborated with Lee Doughty to create some creative code experiments using J5. After several failed experiments, eventually I created a responsive, user-interactive code that I feel visually represents tinnitus and autophony, using the images I had previously made. The code works by using the device’s microphone, it will pick up any sound, and respond by displaying the images from my project, at different CMYK values, and different sizes. The louder the sound, the larger the image appears. The more sound you make, the more images appear. I have now set up a server and purchased the domain name with the intention of any user being able to interact with the code.

website code mockup.jpg