Dec 17, 2009 - 5:34 am
Kevin had a follow-up appointment with the audiologist yesterday. Kevin had a baseline hearing test before he started chemo. The cisplatin chemo he had did affect his hearing, which is why they switched his treatment plan mid-way to carboplatin and taxol. The follow up shows that he has hearing loss in the upper range of sounds, and he continues to have a constant ringing in his ears. He can hear spoken word fairly clearly, unless it is very softly spoken or the voice is high pitched.
The problem for Kevin is that this high range loss affects the way he hears guitar sound. Before the cancer diagnosis, this was his passion. He played guitar every day, sometimes for hours at a time. And when he wasn't playing guitar, he was making guitars. All the components of a guitar have a tone, and he spent a great deal of time knocking the parts to make sure their ring was resonate. This insured that when the guitar was assembled, it would have beautiful ringing tone instead of a flat, dead tone.
We recently attended a SPHONC support group meeting for head and neck cancer patients, and his audiologist was the speaker. She brought an array of hearing aids, and after the meeting he was really excited about the possibility of regaining his hearing again. Playing guitar is not very enjoyable to him because of the change in the sound, so he was very hopeful that the hearing aids would improve this for him.
Turns out that hearing aids are really only focused on improving the clarity of the spoken word, and his audiologist didn't know much about how guitar sound might be improved. In her years, she has never had a patient who played/made guitars who needed this kind of support, so she really didn't know if a hearing aid would help his situation. It is an expensive proposition to buy a set just to see if it might work. She said she would do a bit of research on her part, and we were asked to do the same to determine if there was a product that seemed to be a good match for Kevin's needs.
So my question to you all is does anyone have experience or suggestions about the improvement of hearing upper level non-human sound with hearing aids? What brand? How well does it work? What are the continued challenges?