“It’s almost like the aids know exactly what I need,” says Alt-J drummer Thom Green who now wears new Widex Dream hearing aids fitted at Harley Street Hearing. Thom, 28, who has a moderate-severe hearing loss, first began wearing Widex aids last year. He became aware that his hearing aids needed to change in response to his demanding lifestyle when Alt-J began their immense rise through the music ranks.
In 2012, Alt-J embarked on a year of near-constant touring and accolades. The band’s debut album won the British Mercury Prize, the four-piece was nominated for three BRIT Awards and An Awesome Wave was crowned BBC Radio 6 Music’s Album of the Year. At the BRIT Awards 2013 ceremony in February, host James Corden interviewed Thom – wearing Widex Dream – at the band’s table live on television.
“I think if I had been wearing my old NHS aids I would have struggled to hear anything James said,” says Thom. “There was a lot of echo from his voice when he was sat next to me: I could hear him talking and then the delay from the PA system. It was pretty hard work but I heard everything I needed too; in both ears too, not just the side he was sitting on. I used to get pretty nervous about things like that because there’s nothing worse than having to ask an interviewer to repeat themselves, especially on live television.”
Dream has been designed to maintain the fidelity of all sound entering the aid, so the wearer can enjoy louder sounds with comfort, a feature which Thom has noticed. “The aids respond to big chances in dynamics,” he says. “If I go from a quiet room to a one full of people, they immediately adapt so I’m not overwhelmed with noise before they adjust.”
As well as their favourable small size, the Harrogate-born musician is also pleased with the sound quality of his Dream aids. “As far as I can tell, you can’t get closer to natural hearing as you can with the Dream hearing aids,” he says. “And that’s the goal – hearing well enough that you’re not aware that you’re wearing hearing aids.”
He adds: “I’ve never had better hearing than I do now. I think my lifestyle and my job are good examples of someone with hearing loss having the best hearing they can; I no longer worry about missing out on things with the Dream aids. It’s definitely worth investing in something like this as it has a bigger effect on your life than you realise.”
For further information on Alt-J visit, www.altjband.com; and to find out more about Harley Street Hearing visit, www.harleysthearing.co.uk