Mike Michel’s “On The Mend Campaign”Dear Friends, Family & Colleagues:
I write the letter with a humble open heart. This is not an easy task. Nor could I foresee myself reaching out to my community asking for assistance. A self-starter by nature and a community oriented artist since I can remember, I’ve always taken my bumps and bruises alone. I’ve always been a hopeful artist and wished for a better tomorrow for all. But today I need your help.
Not only will the “On The Mend”
campaign facilitate my first recording in seven years, but the campaign will bring awareness to the perplexing brain conditions of tinnitus and hyperacusis. I also wish to dedicate my “On The Mend” music campaign to mental health awareness and wellness.The Situation
My life took a 360-degree turn for the worst on Nov. 21, 2013
, when I developed a debilitating case of tinnitus
(ringing and buzzing in the brain) and hyperacusis
(extreme sensitivity to sound). This has severely limited my music performance, recording and teaching careers, which has sustained me for more than 35 years. Tinnitus and hyperacusis affect 50 million people in the United States, 3 million of whom experience, debilitating symptoms. These symptoms can include: auditory cortex inflammation; brain-gating disruption (gating determines what outside noise stimuli gets filtered out and also stops you from hearing your internal organ noises and your internal electromagnetic highway); facial nerve pain; vertigo ; extreme sound sensitivity; auditory nerve pain; anxiety & depression. Unfortunately, I’m one of 3 million
. I hear three intrusive noises 24/7, two of which register over 70 decibels. My tinnitus & hyperacusis has also been exacerbated by an old head injury (Spheno Basilar Compression) that is putting pressure on my auditory nerve.
Tinnitus is now known to have strong genetic predisposition and can be triggered by dozens of scenarios. There is a medical myth surrounding these conditions, namely that tinnitus and hyperacusis are caused only by audio trauma. Most physicians will simply say to the tinnitus patient, “There's nothing we can do.”
There is hope. Finally, neurologists are onto something and now know that our gift of hearing is actually processed in the brain
and the auditory track follows an intricate path through many parts of the brain. Tinnitus and hyperacusis are complicated conditions in the fact that all human beings have unique brain hardwiring so there isn't "one way" to treat tinnitus hyperacusis cases.
You may be thinking, “Mike you’ve been around music your whole life. You’ve simply run into an occupational hazard.” Well, after an MRI and many other tests, my hearing is actually excellent. Antibiotics, head injuries, jaw injuries(TMJ), audio trauma, head trauma from birth, Meniere’s disease, severe ear infections, and certain kinds of immunizations are also causes of tinnitus and hyperacusis. While I am insured, most medical providers, including mine, do not recognize tinnitus or hyperacusis as valid medical conditions. There are only a handful of specialists in the world that deal with tinnitus and hyperacusis and I have spent $8,000 in out of pocket on homeopathic treatments, alternative medical treatments, osteopathic medicine, counseling, brain research and standard medical procedures
that my insurance wouldn’t cover.The Light
After two years of medical hoops, insomnia, depression, anxiety, troubling and intrusive noises, hyperacusis, auditory pain, facial nerve pain and two years fretting about my health, I’m finally seeing some light. Over the course of two years, I’ve put together a team of medical and homeopathic professionals and have instigated a tinnitus and hyperacusis management recovery program. My program is measured in years not months and is rooted in new neural pathway development in the brain, neural stimulation, audio habituation, medication, career reinvention, meditation, diet, exercise, supplements, cognitive behavioral therapy and moral support.
I am delighted to report that after a long stretch on the sidelines, I’m now able to teach music at lower volumes, write music on my acoustic guitar and perform in quiet, acoustic settings. This is miraculous as of last year I was ready to give up music, a thought that is devastating to me.
I’m still limited in the fact that I’m unable to go see live music or perform full throttle, but I’m making strides. I miss seeing my students, friends and colleagues play music. I’ve looked into other occupations and going back to school but music chose me again, so I am continuing my journey. I have to thank my partner, family, friends, teachers, doctors, music pals and students for keeping me afloat.
I feel such gratitude and warmth. THANK YOU SO MUCH! Here’s to squashing the noise!Why I Need Your Help
My 1974 Howard Early classical guitar (a family heirloom) has been the only instrument that hasn’t hurt my ears. It sounds so soft and it gave me life when I was in dire need. Twenty new songs have poured out of me thanks to that old classical guitar. This is a true blessing as it’s been seven years since I’ve written songs, made records or sung a song. I missed my writing dearly and I guess it took these set of circumstances for me to be an artist again.
These truly are the best songs I’ve ever written and I know they can help people. Through a rare circumstance I reconnected with an old friend, publisher, journalist, and all around good guy, Adam Wahlberg. Adam runs Think Piece Publishing which is based in Minneapolis. Think Piece publishes books and music that focus on mental health awareness, resiliency and wellness.
Adam and I had lunch to reconnect and I explained my circumstances. We both decided that my new songs needed to be recorded and that Think Piece would partner with me in insuring that this recording will be heard. “On The Mend” will be an upbeat and celebratory record.
As with any illness or challenge, people need multiple tools for management and inspiration. I hope “On The Mend” will be a tool for those who need a lift and inspire them and carry on.
As I’m sure you realize, making a great recording with multiple musicians and instruments takes time and money. Think Piece has offered to cover the marketing and manufacturing costs of “On The Mend” but I still need 8k to cover the studio costs, musician fees, mixing, mastering, art & graphic design.
I will be co-producing “On The Mend” with veteran musician and producer, Jason Orris, at the Terrarium studio in Minneapolis. My friends and longtime collaborators Steve Goold and Ian Allison will be playing drums and bass on the recording.
My intention for recording “On The Mend” isn’t purely to make a profit. Your donations via “Go Fund Me” will help me distribute free copies of “On The Mend” to our local veterans who suffer from tinnitus. Also, a portion of the “On The Mend” online and in-store sales of will go to various mental health institutions in the state of Minnesota.
Without you, I can’t make this recording. Right now we all have people in our lives that are suffering dearly, more so than I am. Every day I’m reminded of the many people in my life who live with disabilities. I plan on giving back as much as I can to this community I love, and I so appreciate any contribution you can make.
I will be forever grateful. Thank you!
Don’t take for granted, neglect or ignore your own special gifts as life is fragile. I wish you peace love and creativity! Sincerely,Mike Michel
" On The Mend" Converse & Collaborate Here!
Links For Positive Tinnitus & Hyperacusis Support
Mike Michel's Music Website
Think Piece Publishing ( cool info and articles about mental health, resiliency, & wellness)