A passionate musician suffering from moderate to severe hearing loss said he has been given a new lease of life after being fitted with the latest hearing aid technology by leading audiologists in Southampton.
Lee Desty, 61, a former programme editor for BBC South Today, left the world of journalism after 41 years to pursue his dream of becoming a full-time songwriter in 2015.
However, he said he began to feel ‘frustrated and depressed’ after he noticed his hearing was starting to deteriorate, which began to affect his guitar playing.
Lee said: ‘Most musicians will tell you there is nothing worse than losing your ability to hear what you’re singing or playing.
‘I’m a fingerstyle acoustic guitarist and I love to experiment and explore my guitars to discover new melodies. I had one favourite guitar I really fell out of love with and didn’t play because I thought it was producing really dull and flat sounds.’
Lee decided to visit the Specsavers Audiologists in Southampton to get his hearing examined, where he was seen by audiologist Margaret Delaney-Munn.
Following the test, Margaret suggested Lee be fitted with receiver in canal (RIC) hearing aids – a comfortable and discreet device that is designed to address communication difficulties experienced by people with mild to severe hearing loss.
Lee agreed to be fitted with Widex RIC hearing aids with an RC-DEX, which is a wireless remote control used to adjust the volume and settings of hearing aids to suit differing listening environments. He said he immediately noticed a vast improvement in the quality of his hearing.
‘The day I switched on the special music setting on the hearing aids I had one of those jaw-dropping moments where the full quality and beauty of that guitar's full sound suddenly appeared. I was close to tears.’
Back to his best
Since the fitting, Lee has returned to the stage and played two half hour sessions at the Southampton Music in the City Festival on 7 October.
He has also gone on to release his second album – Usual Alias – featuring 17 original songs combining elements of pop, folk and rockabilly. One of the songs on the album, ‘Always Reminders’, has reached the semi-finals of the 2017 UK Songwriting Contest.
Lee is now donating all the proceeds of the CD album sales to the #2MillionSteps charity campaign to build a local children’s emergency and trauma department at Southampton General Hospital, and has so far raised nearly £600.
He said: ‘The audiologists at Specsavers did an amazing job – I can’t thank them enough. They have quite simply given me a new chance, a new opportunity to hear and create new music, allowing me to keep doing one of the things I love most - writing songs.’
Get in tune with your hearing
Dr Alison Vaughan, hearing partner at the Specsavers Audiologists in Southampton, said: ‘It’s clear to see that Lee is incredibly passionate about his music so I’m delighted that Margaret and the team could help him continue his career.
‘Whether you’re concerned about hearing loss or not, having regular check-ups should be part of your regular healthcare routine. At Specsavers, we recommend anyone over the age of 60 to have a hearing check carried out.’
All of Lee’s songs and albums are available to download on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music and Google Play Music, and can be heard via his website at http://www.leedesty.co.uk.