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Stu Nunnery
Stu Nunnery is a professional writer, speaker, composer, musician, recording artist, actor and activist from Rhode Island. He has a special kinship with musicians and singers with hearing loss, but writes and speaks on a variety of hearing issues from his 35 years experience with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. He has hearing in one ear and sight in one eye, which makes for interesting sensory challenges from time to time. He seeks to be of help, hope and inspiration to those of whom he affectionately calls the “hearing lost.”

A Tragic Turn To Music Success: Q&A with musician Sam Baker

Sam Baker is an internationally recognized folk musician and recording artist from Texas who lost his hearing in a tragic, violent and wholly unexpected way:

While traveling by train to Machu Picchu in Peru in 1986, a bomb placed on a luggage rack above his head by the Shining Path guerrilla group exploded, killing seven passengers including three people who had been sitting with him. Baker was left with numerous injuries, including brain damage, a cut artery, and blown-in eardrums, leaving him deaf in on ear, limited hearing in the other and a persistent, intense case of tinnitus. His injuries required 17 reconstructive surgeries. The fingers of his left hand were left badly damaged, but over time he was able to grasp a guitar in his other hand and return to music.

Despite his history and challenges, Sam has gone on to music success, with his 2013 album “Say Grace,” being named one of the top 10 country music albums of 2013 by Rolling Stone Magazine

As a fellow musician with hearing loss, I am taken by Sam’s story, especially how he has rebuilt himself to make music again. I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to him about his story: 

Posted in Blog Music

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These are the people who really allowed me to ‘hear’

As I consider the people who have made a positive impact on my life and enabled me to live more fully with hearing loss, I realize that that list is long.

My hearing journey started in 1978 and has been a dramatic two-act play. For more than 30 years I did not think about my hearing loss. Rather, I kept it in the back of my thoughts.

In fact, I tried hard and acted as if I did not think about it. Survival was simply trying to make life as “normal” as I could and not let on. Part of that was the dearth of resources and organizations back then that were not connected to the medical field and with whom I could connect. Part of it was a willful disregard of the hearing loss community even as it grew into prominence and importance for all of us. It took me many years to consider myself part of it.

All that changed for the good in 2009.

Posted in Hearo

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7 Night-Time Necessities for the Hard-of-Hearing

Most hearing professionals agree it’s a good idea to take your hearing aid out at night.

This is for many reasons – it could come out while you are sleeping and get lost in the sheets, or fall on the floor where you could step on it in the middle of the night. However, the primary reason is to allow your ear to breathe and your hearing aid to dry from moisture and bacteria. Nighttime is a good time to allow this to happen.   

But there are safety risks when removing your hearing aids at night. 

Posted in At Home Blog Hearo

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How hearing rehabilitation can help deaf musicians

Hearing loss is an especially unique and tragic experience for anyone who enjoys listening to music, playing an instrument or singing, as part of their daily rituals or professional career.

Most of us carry in our muscles and memories  a library of musical sounds, melodies, rhythms, phrases, motifs, and lyrics from simple folk tunes to classical and every modern popular musical form. We depend on music to provide familiar, comforting, exciting, memorable, life-changing, direct and background touches to our lives.

After hearing loss, music can become painful to listen to, distorted, out of pitch, excessively loud and/or soft. Mixed with tinnitus, as it often is, recapturing music in our lives poses daunting challenges and few promises from the experts.

Fortunately today, the issues of music and hearing loss are more and more being taken up by specialists in the hearing fields.

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Playing Classical Guitar after Hearing Loss: Q&A with Charles Mokotoff

Are you a musician who lost your hearing? If you are, you surely are not alone.

I first met Charles Mokotoff, a professional classical guitarist, through the Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss (AAMHL) in Washington DC.  The association serves as a resource for musicians both professional and amateur to exchange information and promote each others work and journey.

Charles has a tragic hearing loss story and yet a highly successful musical life.  

Posted in Blog Music

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How to Enjoy Music after Hearing Loss

Does hearing loss affect how we enjoy music? If so, is it possible to regain our enjoyment of music even after hearing loss?

Many of us with hearing loss have stopped listening to music because it does not sound how we remember it. Nevertheless,  more musicians, singers and music lovers with hearing loss are coping and finding their way back to music.

Recently I attended a seminar about the impact of hearing loss and hearing aids on music enjoyment that was hosted and led by Geoff Plant, a hearing rehabilitation specialist, musician and mentor of mine. The seminar explored the challenges of experiencing music after hearing loss, the claim that hearing aids do not always provide a quality musical experience, and strategies being used to more fully enjoy music. 

Here’s what I learned… 

Posted in Blog Music

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Are my Hearing Aids and Cell Phone Compatible?

Wondering if your cell phone and your hearing aid or cochlear implant are compatible?

Many people report feedback or “squealing” when they place the handset of the telephone next to their hearing aid. T-coil hearing aids can eliminate this feedback because their microphones automatically turn off to block out ambient sound and the hearing aids only amplify the phone signal.

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has regulations to ensure such devices are compatible with hearing aids and cochlear implants. Here’s what you need to know: 

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8 Communication Tips to Strengthen Relationships

I’ve adjusted to my hearing loss in many ways and have asked those I love – friends, colleagues and acquaintances – to adjust to me as well. But with some 35 years with hearing loss behind me, I’ve been thinking it’s time to refresh my relationships.

It’s embarrassing to have to ask people to repeat themselves, not just once, but over time and for many years. But sometimes it’s necessary. Those of us with hearing loss can continue faking it to avoid that embarrassment but that only goes so far. We’re found out eventually. That said, it’s also true that it’s not always me and my hearing when something spoken to me is not clear. Many people mumble, drop their voices, turn away and do other things that can make interpersonal communication challenging.

So how can you continue to have good relationships, despite your hearing loss? 

Posted in Blog Relationships

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The Lady’s Harp: Turning Tinnitus Into Art

In a remarkable demonstration of turning lemons into lemonade, musician, composer, technician and creative artist Daniel Fishkin decided to turn his experience with severe tinnitus into art.

While working on his college thesis recital in 2008, his ears started ringing. And as it has for many of us, they never stopped ringing.  But in Daniel’s case, tinnitus not only changed his life, it also reshaped his art.                            

“I found myself in this double bind where loud sounds were very painful, but if I shielded myself from loud noises I was reminded of my hearing damage constantly,” Fishkin says. 

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