Here’s an article published by Hearing Link about my hearing loss and the release of my new EP HALF-HEARD. Hearing Link are a leading UK charity for people with hearing loss, their families and friends.
Rob Finlay was a singer-songwriter and filmmaker, loving life and looking forward to travelling to Peru to make a documentary about Pink River Dolphins in the Amazon. But a Rabies vaccination he received ahead of his travels in 2014 brought on agonising tinnitus and he woke the next day to find he’d lost his hearing in his right ear.
“It was frightening and baffling. I went straight to the doctors where they tested my hearing with a tuning fork; both air and bone tests confirmed that I’d lost my hearing,” Rob recalled.
A friend encouraged him to go to his local hospital in Essex that day for immediate medical attention. Doctors prescribed steroids to reduce the inflammation and dizziness.
He was diagnosed with Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss caused by the vaccination, which is very rare.
Rob’s recovery took months and four months after his diagnosis he was fitted with a hearing aid which made life easier for him.
His hearing loss impacted on his musical career, robbing him of the chance to play live.
Despite this Rob, now 34, has remained positive by writing about his experiences. He also sought information about hearing loss though forums, blogs and Hearing Link’s website www.hearinglink.org.
Rob said: “I spent a lot of time searching for information, and because the information was so varied and often terrifying, it was good to find Hearing Link where there was sensible information in one place.
“Reading the forums and articles on the site reassured me and helped to give me an insight into a world that I had never really considered. I was terrified for the first couple of months and very depressed for at least six months.
Hearing Link helped me get through those tough times.”
A year after losing his hearing, Rob’s confidence slowly began to return and he re-immersed himself in his music.
Rob said: “My hearing loss really stopped me in my tracks. I was just starting to play big gigs and festivals, and was building momentum in my career. It took me out of action as I had to cancel gigs.
“Nearly two years on, I still haven’t returned to the circuit and playing live and rehearsing is difficult for me. Instead, I’ve concentrated on writing and I recorded my new EP HALFHEARD which was a great experience.
“I loved working in the studio and being creative. It’s always hard work, especially when you are trying to cram in a lot with a limited budget. The EP’s title is certainly inspired by my hearing loss. I hear everything from one side of my head now. It’s a kind of double-edged title because I feel that as an independent artist these days it’s incredibly hard to get heard above the noise of commercial music. Many people don’t really listen to music like they used to and I think that’s sad.”
Rob hopes to secure a publishing deal for his material and will continue to write and record. He might even write directly about his hearing loss journey.
He said: “The most important thing for me is to continue to develop my song writing skills. Great songs tell a story and you never know what life’s going to throw your way for your next lyric.”