The Phantom Sound is an experimental documentary animation about the experience of tinnitus, hyperacusis and hearing loss. It is approximately 4 minutes long and is in mixed media, incorporating interviews with tinnitus doctors and patients. Highlighting the emotional impact it can have on a person’s life and the resilience developed from their experience.
Apart from one form of tinnitus, that only affects 1% of people, tinnitus is mostly generated within the brain and does not have any sound source. The tinnitus root cause is almost completely unknown, there still is no certain understanding as why it occurs, there are theories but none proving to be the sole reason.
When interviewing Dr Hashir, an audiology expert, he said there is no main cause of tinnitus, however age and lifestyle has a large part to play. There is no cure, and no foreseeable cure in the future, CBT however can help address the rout causes and emotional distress, and help reduce its impact. The importance of this project is spreading awareness that there is hope for drastically improving the affect tinnitus can have on your life. I am shining a light on tinnitus as a common condition to persuade my audience to take their ear health more seriously, and hopefully spark a more personal interest to protect their ears as much as possible.
I love the fast and unpredictable method of scratching onto 16mm film. Scratching into black film has a sharp and aggressive look that I like for representing conflicting emotions, whereas the colour on clear film is dreamlike and freeing. 2D animation on paper, I have a lot of experience with, however this project I wanted to try digital animation. My peer Naaman Azhari has inspired and taught me to play with rotoscoping, it has become an invaluable tool for this project, when representing the inner turmoil tinnitus can bring. My analog drawings however are always the foundation of my projects, and allow me to be instinctive when translating emotional thoughts onto the physical page.
The Sound of Metal, was one of the core inspirations for the project, along with my own experiences with tinnitus. The sound design was a crucial tool for me to understand what the emotional and literal experience was like, for these reasons I experiment heavily and utilise sound throughout all my projects, but for The Phantom Sound it was more crucial than ever.
I have experimented with pitches, textures, patterns and distortions in sound to create an eery atmosphere. These methods alongside with rotoscoping and 16mm film have been the essential when communicating the experience of tinnitus impacting not only your hearing but also the interactions with your audiological surroundings. Highlighting how your perception towards your surrounding environment can be skewed and blurred. When your sense of hearing is altered, it can reshape the world you exist in, necessitating adaptations to accommodate your unique needs.