Musician: ''Best investment I ever made''
Having the ability to hear all the sounds around you doesn’t only connect you to people, it connects you to life. Those sounds include the rustling of leaves in the wind, birds singing outside your window, and even the sound of your own breath.
Tim A. is a musician, and for him sound isn’t just a part of life; it’s how he earns a living. A pianist, guitarist and vocalist, Tim has been musician for twenty years, and relies on his hearing to be able to hear himself play, to hear those playing with him, and to hear cheers from the audience during a show.
Losing his hearing would put his passion and work in jeopardy – it could lead to playing and singing wrong notes, and hurt his ability to continue his career in music.
A musician from childhood, Tim honed his skills playing in his family garage, with friends, and in his school band.
“Music was always a big part of my family,” says Tim. “We always had rock n’ roll records playing in the house, and my brothers and sisters play instruments too.”
Tim didn’t always play it safe with his ears. He admits that in his younger years he rehearsed and played live shows without any hearing protection.
"After rehearsing or playing with a band without earplugs, or going to concerts without any hearing protection, I would notice the ringing in my ears. I realized I was damaging my ears, so I started wearing headphones when rehearsing, and then switched to swimmers earplugs which were better for hearing protection.”
On the recommendation of a friend, Tim decided to visit an audiologist to get his hearing tested, and get fitted for custom ear molds.
"Now I wear custom ear molds that fit perfectly in my ears," says Tim. “And I love them! The ones I have include a filter, so I don’t hear certain frequencies of sounds when I’m playing music. They allow me to hear the sounds of my instruments and the instruments around me, as well as feedback from the audience. They’re perfect.”
And for Tim, it’s not just the sound quality that matters.
“With these custom molds, I don’t have to worry about them falling out, like I did with the earplugs. Now I can wear them on stage, hear all the sounds I need to, and not have to worry that I’m damaging my hearing.”
Tim took steps early to protect his hearing, but he knows other musicians who didn’t, and he has seen the effect it had.
“I know lots of other people who played and listened to loud music without any protection, and who now suffer from tinnitus and hearing loss. They can’t play live music anymore, and they can’t even go to concerts. It’s too hard on their ears.”
“I don’t want that to happen to me. To lose the ability to hear and play music would be devastating.”
Tim loves music, but he also loves nature, spending time with his nieces and nephews, and cooking. Tim understands that all of these things would be compromised if he lost his hearing.
“I don’t want to have trouble following conversations and not be able to communicate with my family and friends. I know people who suffer with hearing loss, and I see how frustrating and isolating it is for them. I want to continue to enjoy my life, with all my hearing intact. And hearing protection when I need it allows me to do just that.”