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blog: Phil Bayne

HEARING LOSS AND WHAT YOU CAN DO

It is a sad fact but if we are unfortunate enough to become deaf, generally speaking, we will be the last to know!  There is however a positive side to this blog, but first I would like to share my personal experiences with you. Initially I noticed that family and friends had become very irritating; telling me 'you just don't listen!' I thought, 'it's their fault because they won’t face me when they speak, they mumble, they walk away as they speak ...don't they?'  They say they have told me something important when clearly they haven't mentioned it at all!  If this seems familiar to you, don't waste any more time like I did;  it’s very hard, but try to face the fact that you have probably got a hearing problem. 

After many months, my wife gently suggested I should have a hearing test, of which I became angry and defensive. I ignored it!  Best way I thought.  However twelve months later I had to accept that there may be a 'slight' hearing problem!  It was becoming embarrassing when socialising. I would give incorrect answers when people spoke to me, or tried to have a discussion.

I gave up the guitar, our band, singing, song writing and broadcasting.  Previously for 40 years, together with my wife Pam, we had enjoyed life as successful musicians and entertainers. In the 1980's we were presenters for BBC Radio Cumbria's Country Music programme, 'Go Country'. Suddenly I realised that intros and keys had become impossible to hear. Finally I had to face the fact that I had become extremely deaf. 

For a musician, an actor, public speaker and in fact anyone who has to face this life changing 'loss', I would say please don't waste time being in denial as I did, get a referral for a hearing test as soon as possible. If you are embarrassed, don't discuss it with anyone except your doctor... but do get on with it. There is so much help for those of us with hearing loss nowadays. Hearing loss does not automatically mean 'old age' and gone are the days of the old 'Ear Trumpet'. It is possible to continue with your career... with your life.

My wife, plus a long standing friend Colin Gibson, who is also a musician, decided to get to grips with the situation and try and pull me out of my depression.  I am very happy they did. Once I faced the hearing loss, and it had been assessed, it did take a little bit of time to adjust to the digital hearing aids, (there are many types of these available these days) but it is worth the effort.

As a musician I am happy to say that it is possible to adjust and over the past 12 months together with Pam, we have made 3 more CD’s.  We had always worked with a brilliant recording engineer in Tom Tyson of the Music Farm, Egremont in Cumbria for around 20 years, and he understands the problems of recording artistes who have become deaf. 

I used to think 'how could this happen to me' but that's not the answer nor is it the case now.  I would like to say a big thank you to my lovely wife Pam (who also helped me to put this piece together) and our good friend Colin Gibson.

If you think, or know, that you have hearing loss, you should seek specialist advice and help. You can also get in touch with Help Musicians UK.