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Finding Joy With ME/CFS

Working on modifying headphones is a hobby project I have picked up partly because of my love of music and because I have fallen in love with the sound of music reproduced beautifully. I happen to have a very good ear and no headphones on the market at any price sound right to me, they all have errors in their frequency response or exhibit resonance or distortion that bothers me.

There is a rarely used driver technology called planar magnetic. i won’t get into the details because i don’t think you all would care :) but all the headphones you have ever heard use a different type of driver technology, the traditional electrodynamic driver. Planar magnetic drivers are special in how they reproduce sound, and they have incredible potential. But the acoustics of the technology are very complicated. The few companies that make this type of headphone have made some really outstanding drivers, but then they put them into housings that have poor acoustics and the potential of the drivers is diminished.

I happen to be able to hear these issues in the acoustics, I don’t know why my hearing is so good at picking these things up, maybe partly because I was classically trained as a violinist growing up. So I take these headphones and work on changing the acoustics to try to get the best sound possible from the drivers and I wind up with much much better headphones than what is sold stock. They sound truly incredible. it’s a long process of trying many things and learning to understand how these drivers work in an intuitive way. But it’s a lot of fun.

It’s a creative project that i can work on from bed that involves minimal activity. I still cannot work on them on my bad days, but on a good day this project brings me a lot of joy. It’s simple, selfish, and purely fun which is something I have very little of in my life.

I think it’s important that we all find some sort of meaning and joy in this life with ME/CFS. I never thought i would be playing around modifying headphones when I was 39, but we have to find something we can do in our lives that brings us meaning, purpose and joy. Even if it is less than what we envision for ourselves. It is the difference between living with ME/CFS and simply surviving ME/CFS. Sometimes all we can do is survive. But if we can find something like this, we can carve out a bit of a life with this illness.



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