Hearing Blog
Chris' personal story

"Music sounds as good now as it did 20 years ago…" - Chris

Published 22/11/2018
Last Updated 22/02/2024

Music lover regained his hearing and started playing his guitar again after 20 years, all thanks to his bloom™ audiologist and his lawyer.

I was referred to bloom™ hearing specialists by my GP back in 2012. I had gone to him asking for help because it had become painfully obvious to me and my family that I was losing my hearing.

Conversations had become awkward... me constantly asking people to repeat themselves... Group conversations were even harder and at times acutely embarrassing as I misheard or didn’t hear at all.

I found myself lip-reading and reading body language because I just couldn’t hear what was being said. So many times it all went wrong and I made a fool of myself. There is nothing more humiliating than being laughed at.

But, as if that wasn’t hard enough... I’m a man who has grown up with music in my blood.

I have played acoustic guitar since I was a kid. I was a teenager in the 60’s and music was everything to me. It has shaped me as a man, it has given me a lifetime of memories and it is music I use to express my deepest emotions.

With the hearing loss, I lost my music.

Heartbroken, the guitar stayed silent in its case… the songs I used to write fell silent and the world became a sad and silent place.

I walked into bloom™ hearing specialists that first day begging for help.

I didn’t know it then, but that was a life-changing moment and the beginning of a wonderful journey.

The lady who greeted me was Jo Baker at the bloom™ clinic in Unley Park.

I have been blessed in my life to have met some wonderful people; and this lady, I am pleased to say, I place up there with the best of them.

I knew from the start that she cared, and it was impossible not to feel her warmth. I trusted her for all of that, and it was trust well-placed.

She has been both kind and considerate and has always done her best to help… what more could I ask of anyone.

I’ve seen several audiologists in the years since then. They have all done what they could, but it has been an uphill struggle.

I didn’t have the financial resourses to afford hearing aids that are capable of compensating the degree my hearing loss.

At the time I was single dad with 3 kids trying my best to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.

I was at the mercy of Medicare... The best they would give me was of little use. I was trying to wear aids that hurt my ears and caused countless infections. The sound was worse than deafness itself.

Then a year or so ago a new audiologist appeared – Amanda Seamans.

Another life changing moment.

After a few meetings with her trying to make sense of the issue, she asked me how this had come about. We talked about why this was happening to me and what may have caused it.

For the first time I was made aware of Industrial Deafness.

I had worked for some time in an Engineering Company. We produced heavy steel structures for industry. During my time there I had worked on the production of steel telecommunication towers. There were many hours working inside the tower with a 9-inch grinder. The noise was unbelievable and back then, there was no such thing as adequate hearing protection.

The money I earned was not worth the price I paid for it.

Amanda offered to help with a claim for some compensation.

I had never considered blaming anyone for it. I blamed myself for being stupid enough to put myself in that situation.

I was a young father with a family to support and the company offered me extra money for the job that no one else wanted to do.

I didn’t blame them, I blamed me.

But Amanda saw it differently and I am so glad that the she did and that she convinced me of her wisdom.

She put the claim forms in my hand and insisted that I fill them out and get them back to her; which I did.

From there things moved quickly; a call came from a lawyer who told me he’d received my claim forms and was asking if I would allow him to represent me.

I would have begged him to do so.

That was the start of the legal battle between us and the ‘Other side’.
Within weeks I was sent to a professor of audiology for an assessment... and several weeks later sent to another one by the ‘Other side’.

It wasn’t long before the news came that the ‘Other side’ had accepted liability and that I was granted new hearing aids every 5 years for the rest of my life.

What an incredible win it was!

But there was more to come. My lawyer spoke to me about his feeling that this was a case that deserved a compensation payout. He was insistent and persuasive and promised me there would be something offered. Again, I was asked to trust the man and take him at his word; which I willingly did.

Amanda felt the same and both she and Jo were voices of encouragement that helped me pursue this.

Well, just a couple of weeks ago the news came through from the lawyer…
We’ve won our case and I have been awarded a financial settlement. I won’t say how much it is... that is not important here. But I will say, it’s enough to change my life and offer me some little security in these twilight years of my life.

But I didn’t do it for the money... it was about getting some acknowledgement of the damage that was done and the lack of care or consideration shown to me at the time by a company that could and should have afforded to do things better than they did.

It was about acknowledging the price I’d paid as they took away my music to get their dirty job done.

And, it was about acknowledging the wisdom of people like Jo, Amanda and my lawyer, who had my best interests at heart; people who cared about me and not just money or a job that must be done.

So here I am with new hearing aids that actually work.

My guitar is out of its case and again it sings to me and again I sing my songs with it. How I have missed these moments!

I can’t even begin to tell you how much that gift means to me.

Music sounds as good now as it did 20 years ago and for that I am grateful beyond words.

For all of this, for all the sounds of this incredible world that I’m hearing again, for all the conversations that I am able to be a part of, rather than being shut out of; embarrassed, humiliated and trapped in a world of silence... I thank you.

From the bottom of my heart and with all the love there is in me... I thank you.

For what you people do and for who you are and for the way you care... I thank you.

To Jo and Amanda...

A company is only as good as the people with in it.

You are both really special people; and bloom™ is a better company for you being there. You asked me to trust you, and you have rewarded that trust beyond any expectation. None of this would have happened without you being the wonderful people you are and the friends you have become.
For that I thank you.

I hope these words somehow convey my humble and heartfelt gratitude for all that you’ve done for me and for all it has meant to me.

You have changed my life for the better, you have made a huge difference and I am forever in your debt.

I can only thank you all; the people and the Company. However inadequate those thanks may be.