A Truly Life Changing Experience
I was really pleased to meet Andrew Hugill who is a professor of music and a composer at EUHA recently. Andrew suffered hearing loss from Meniere's disease which is quite a difficult hearing loss to treat because of its nature. In essence, Andrew hasn't enjoyed music for over ten years, simply because any hearing aid he tried helped him to hear better but never came close to allowing him to appreciate music. That is ten years without something he loves, but with the LiNX Quattro, things have changed. Here is what I found out.
Andrew loves music, it really is as simple as that, he has devoted his working life to it. However, when he suffered a hearing loss brought on by Meniere's his ability to appreciate it was destroyed. Meniere's disease causes fluctuating reverse slope hearing loss. Reverse slope hearing loss is a rare phenomenon and most hearing aids struggle to help, primarily because they are designed to focus on high-frequency emphasis which is usually where the problem lies.
I asked Andrew what his experience had been with hearing aids before. Andrew explained that while hearing aids did help with his ability to communicate, they just didn't allow him to appreciate music. Music sounded alien to his ear, no matter how good the hearing aids where.
I asked him what has changed for him, he replied that pretty much everything has. The LiNX Quattro delivers music to him in a normal manner, allowing him to appreciate the full soundscape of music from the low lows, to the high highs. For the first time in ten years, he is now listening to music again. That is an amazing statement for a man whose whole life is centred on music.
For the first time in ten years, I am listening to music again
Andrew's hearing loss is compounded by the fact that he has a perforation in his eardrum, which means that he has to wear a vented ear mould. Of course, for the full enjoyment of those low-frequency sounds, he needs all of the low-frequency amplification possible and the vent in the mould allows some to escape. His solution, a simple one, vented ear moulds for day to day use and un-vented ear moulds for the enjoyment of music and when he is composing. Unfortunately because of the perforation, if he wore closed ear moulds all of the time there is a high chance of him getting an ear infection.
I really enjoyed talking to Andrew because we actually share a lot of different vision around the future of the hearing aids we wear. Both of us are interested in augmented audio reality and how hearing aids may one day deliver much more than just the ability to hear better. One thing really struck me about Andrew, his re-discovered ability to enjoy music has re-invigorated him.
It has made a huge difference to his outlook and his plans. He is planning a project now centred around music experience. He envisages writing a piece that will allow people with different hearing abilities to enjoy it. It will be a complex task and I wish him well with it.
His story was moving, for a man whose joy is obviously music, losing the ability to enjoy it must have been devastating. His experiences with Quattro and his reaffirmed love of the music that is a massive part of his life was fantastic to behold.
I really appreciated spending some time with him because it allowed me to consider my own perspective on what hearing aids do. It has also spurred me to try to ensure that we at Hearing Aid Know help everyone with hearing loss understand what hearing aids can do for them. Arbitrary nonsense about stigma or embarrassment should never put someone off a device that can truly make their life better. Andrew has spoken himself movingly about his struggle with Meniere's and you can read his account here.
Like Your Music? Try LiNX Quattro
I have tried the LiNX Quattro and I will be reviewing it very soon, as will Steve. I like my music, but I am by no means an expert. Andrew Hugill is, so if he says the Quattro is good for music, I think you can take his word for it.
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Posted by Geoff
Geoffrey (Geoff, anything else makes him nervous) Cooling is an Irish hearing aid blogger and has been involved with the hearing aid industry for over ten years. He has worked in private practice dispensing hearing aids and as a manufacturer's rep. He has written two books and they are both available on Amazon. He loves technology, passing on knowledge and is legendary for many other things, primarily the amount he curses, his dry and mischievous sense of humour and his complete intolerance of people who are full of themselves. Please feel free to connect with him
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