Hearing Loss and Music – The Challenge!

As my hearing loss continues to decline, I am noticing an increased inability to hear music. Even with the use of my hearing aids, it takes a few minutes to recognize a melody. I love a variety of music: classical, jazz, tunes from the fifties, sixties, and seventies, songs I grew up hearing are among my favorites and I do not wish to be without music in my life.

I asked my audiologist’s advice about hearing music. He explained that as my hearing continues to decline, I will lose all ability to hear high-pitched sounds, which will create problems with my ability to hear music. Over time the music, like the spoken words, will sound more garbled. In addition, my memory of songs may alter. It is the combination of my ability to hear and memory to identify and “hear” songs I enjoy today. This process requires more time to recognize a song or notes from a symphony. And despite my best efforts, it seems that I no longer hear music as I once did. Today, I piece together musical notes, recognizing a melody or lyrics quite a bit from memory.

It was not the best news for me to hear about my reduced ability to hear music. Who would be pleased to learn they could no longer hear something they appreciated and loved so dearly? I am not alone on this journey through hearing loss. Anyone with hearing loss in the severe or profound range has a reduced, or inability, to hear musical notes. As it is with all hearing loss problems, there are those who recognize the issue and work to do something about, while others may not. Music is like a universal language that can touch the soul and, as a music lover, I wanted options. My audiologist encouraged me to keep listening to music as much as possible and to continue to exercise my mind to remain tuned to the sounds associated with music.

When fitted with my hearing aid, my audiologist suggested I try the music setting available, which is programmed in on my iPhone app. He cautioned that given my profound loss, the results may not be all that great, but it was worth a shot. Recently, I attended several concerts and used my program to hear the music. It felt as if a miracle had occurred. Despite my hearing loss, and thanks to my hearing aids and iPhone app, I was able to hear the music! During the classical music concert, I heard symphonies by Bach and Ravel clearly. This led to me and my husband attending more concerts, where I continued to recognize and hear the music. My husband and I are once again able to share our mutual love of music, together.

To keep my ears tuned, play music at home. My husband downloaded all our old CDs onto his computer and came up with playlists, ordered according to genre. Depending on our mood, we choose what to listen to for the day: Beatles, Diana Ross, Bob Seger, Beethoven and Chopin.

My audiologist firmly believes in working every day to practice hearing. He encourages me to tune into life even when it’s difficult or when I don’t hear everything. He firmly believes the more I train my brain to hear, the better hearing I will have and I believe in his wisdom. With my new hearing aids and hard work, I once again can enjoy the music I so love.

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Linda Bilodeau

I’ve grappled with hearing loss since 1978. Through it all, I’ve faced periods of denial, acceptance, curiosity, trust and hope. But more often than not, I’ve felt annoyed, angry and frightened. I’ve encountered despair, loneliness and envy. I’ve experienced panic attacks. I’ve met understanding people, kind souls who helped me a great deal and others who thought I had nothing short of an invisible plague. As a way of coming to terms with my hearing loss, I’ve decided to put my feelings about my disability down on paper. My hope is to better understand myself and perhaps you’ll find a little something in my meanderings that will help you, too.

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