June 2018 Daily Liberal
A Dubbo musician’s world has opened up again after she underwent surgery to regain her hearing.
Lindy Blekemore “started going deaf” in one ear at the age of 30 and her hearing gradually deteriorated, but her situation worsened two years ago when her cochlea collapsed after surgery.
For the next 12 months distorted hearing meant interests she loved - including her role as conductor and musical director of Harmony Singers - became increasingly difficult. When Mrs Blekemore was almost “run over” by a car because she couldn’t “hear anything on the left side” she decided to brave gruelling surgery once more for a cochlear implant. In May last year it was “turned on” and while improvement has been gradual, she described it as “life-changing”. “Now it’s awesome, but it’s been a journey, yes, and for a musician, probably more so,” Mrs Blekemore said.
The passionate musician who has shared her talents within the choir, as well as Dubbo Theatre Company and school choirs, reflected on the past two years. After the first surgery, and her cochlea collapsing, everything had “sounded like it was under water. The girls from work would go out to tea and I wouldn’t go because it was just so hard, I couldn’t hear, any conversation. And that’s very common for people with hearing loss on one side as well. So you tend to isolate yourself or you go places where you know there’s not going to be a lot of background noise. So I coped with work and I coped with going home.”
In the past year, sounds gradually returned. “I remember the first thing I heard in that ear was a bird singing, and I thought wow,” she said, with emotion. The improvement in her hearing has allowed Mrs Blekemore to return to music. Harmony Singers is back from its period of recess and looking for new members. “It’s working out well, we started this term, and it’s been going really well,” the musical director said. “And I’m enjoying it.