Currently viewing Vol. 1 • Issue 3 • 2014

Music and Hearing Loss: What Works for Me

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I am a 17-year old musician and started wearing hearing aids last year. One day, I was in a recording studio and just for fun, I asked them to increase the high frequencies of my song to make up for my hearing loss. I couldn’t believe the clarity! That’s when I knew that hearing aids could make a difference for me.

When I started singing at age 13, I did well in competitions such as Saint John Idol (2nd place) and YTV’s The Next Star (Season 5) but judges would sometimes say that I hit the notes too sharp. I had way more difficulty monitoring my voice when I wore in-ears at live shows.

Soon after, I found out that I had a mild high-frequency hearing loss in both ears. I didn’t expect to learn THAT while shadowing my mother in audiology for “Take Your Kid to Work Day.” The doctors blamed meningitis that I had when I was 7 weeks old plus a family history of hearing loss. I didn’t bother with hearing aids because my grades were good but after that day in the studio, I knew it was time.

Step 1: Finding the right hearing aid. I tried several RIC products but they were uncomfortable. I chose Oticon’s because the earpiece curves better in my ear and because one side turns the volume up and the other turns it down depending on if I am playing guitar or piano.

Step 2: getting the sound right. I tried lots of different settings but I liked the DSL Child best. The automatic phone was a nuisance because it changed when I wore headsets in recording studios. I liked the auto learning because after a while, I didn’t have to change the volume as much.

I only use one program which is set for music. Recently, I had it adjusted because the piano wasn’t crisp enough (compression was 1.1 for mod-loud sounds) and now it sounds better (linear 1.0). I have a streamer but I don’t wear it because it’s awkward with my guitar and piano plus I jump around a lot on stage.

My hearing aids are very important for my work in music as I am a singing contestant on a new YTV show called The Next Star: Supergroup (Tuesdays, 7:00 pm EST, March 11-April 13). I have had no feedback on set and the aids never fall out when jumping around (I did worry about that beforehand).

Overall, I believe that my hearing loss makes me a better musician because I understand more about hearing and sound.

Editor's note- Kyle McVea recently won the TV music competition Supergroup and now has a professional touring and recording contract. His audiologist (and mother) reported that 'He had an amazing sound crew and equipment and was completely comfortable with the monitoring.'
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About the author
Kyle McVea

Kyle McVea

Kyle McVea, a grade 12 musician from Quispamsis, NB, is known for his dedication to the community as he finds ways to give back through his singing, dancing and acting performances. He has become an inspiration for teens due to his work ethic, hearing impairment, dedication, and leadership qualities demonstrated through school and community involvement. As a previous contestant on YTV’s The Next Star (Season 5), Kyle was cast by Toronto-based production company, Tricon Films, to participate in YTV’s newest show, The Next Star: SuperGroup, currently airing on YTV, Tuesdays at 7:00 pm EST.