Written by Jean Reiki
I first met Amanda Ling at a all-girl DJ gig called ‘Pop My Cherry’. Her scene credentials were already established; she was in the successful rock band, Electrico, and a well-known tech-house DJ. However, it was impossible to have a proper convo at loud gigs or parties, and there was no social media either, so we let the ball drop.
Cut to 2015. Amanda texted me after reading this blog post about my float experiments with binaural beats and white noise. She was unsure about the silence inside a float tank because she had tinnitus. This took me by surprise. I started wondering how I can introduce floatation to people with tinnitus or others who are uncomfortable with the silence.
What is tinnitus?
A person affected by tinnitus hears a ringing sound that is not coming from the environment, typically arising after prolonged exposure to loud noise. Having had it for 12 years now, Amanda shares that the first six were frustrating and added to her already existing anxieties.
The experiment: combining brainwave entrainment with floatation
In ancient days, Tinnitus treatment was the stuff of nightmares. Fumigating, holding hot bread over the ears, stuffing boiled earthworms, sap or herbs into one’s ears. Thankfully, our experiments were way less messy, though untested.
As Amanda floated, we masked the ringing with ambient music and 3D sounds of nature, piped into her ears via underwater earphones. To further ease her into a meditative state, I layered pure, theta-wave binaural beats at 5 hertz under the white noise.
Our findings have been encouraging. There’s much more I hope to explore in combining sound and floatation therapy. Here are interesting takeaways from our conversation, and you can hear a 5-min cut below.
Her former adage, “The louder, the more shiok!”
Loud music goes hand-in-hand with adolescence. It can bring on an altered state where we suppress other senses; what I call a form of ‘self-medication’. Sometimes, unknowingly, we end up “blowing the ears out”. This really resonated with me. Well, or at least it used to…
Amanda’s outlook in life: persevering, spirited, and grateful
Yoga, paired with Pranayama breathwork, has been Amanda’s essential tool to manage her hearing impairments. The anchor in her wellness journey, it is the space she turns to daily to find peace.
“When we’re able to tune in with the breath, we’re able to be a lot more aware, instead of sweeping it under the carpet. Because many times, people know it’s there but they’d just rather not deal with it. It’s more of training yourself to be there in that moment, and accepting it and making it your friend. It’s a challenge, but you have to accept that this is something that is going to be with you all your life. So it’s how are you going to be able to live with it so that you don’t have to hate the world for it.”
Exploring various holistic practices
Amanda explained that with singing bowls, there might be certain frequencies she cannot tune in to, but she has developed an intuitive sense of hearing. This means hearing sounds that are not normally audible, so it’s an exciting journey for her.
On how binaural beats eased her into floatation
When I asked her about this, Amanda laughed and said it’s like a crossfader. The familiar ambient/nature sounds help her to ease into the silence. She likes that each variation gives her different visualisations or focus.
“The one with pure binaural beats is just deep…if you need to meditate particularly on something, that kind of pure tone allows for that, creating space for that thought to come out, for that experience or revelation to come out, or even for you to dwell on a certain idea you’ve been thinking about.”
On reaping the benefits of floating
Epsom salt is rich in magnesium, which directly addresses the anxiety that tinnitus can cause. After her mid-afternoon float, Amanda felt very relaxed well into the night. Although the ringing was still there, it was less intense. She also felt a lot of relief in her hips and back.
Listen to a 5-min snippet of the conversation: