Health and Hearing: A Broader View (Part I)

All I wanted to know, after losing 100 percent of my hearing in the left ear in 1978, and much of the hearing in my right ear in 1980, was… why? Why did this happen to me in my late 20s while I was supposedly in perfect health? Why did it happen at the exact moment in my musical trajectory when I had reached a peak – winning acclaim, earning hefty dollars and with a bright future assured.

Me, before my hearing loss


My plea was certainly to try and understand what had happened to me from a health standpoint after so quick and dramatic a loss. But more importantly, it was to see what I might be able to do about it. Other than telling me what happened, the doctors couldn’t tell me why – or what to do about it.

The polytomography showed no tumors. Steroids were administered to address potential immune issues, but there were no answers coming, and no drugs or surgery to help me forward.

They called it bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. A perfect term if you’re a hearing professional. A garbage term if you were me.

What could I do about sensorineural hearing loss?

Nothing, they told me. This was for life – including the accompanying tinnitus in both ears. And there would be no turning back. Only a hearing aid stood between me and silence.

I recognize for many among the “hearing lost,” that information would have been enough to know, and a hearing aid would have provided the necessary accommodation. Carry on. ‘Nuff said.

But it never was and never has been enough for me, in part because of my personality, and also because I had the added impetus – or more accurately, desperation –  to get back to music in some way, shape or form.

That was 34 years ago. Continue reading “Health and Hearing: A Broader View (Part I)”