The twenty-seven-year old musician is a first violinist for the Cairns Concert Orchestra, leader of the Cairns Chamber Ensemble and a member of the string quartet Strings 4.
A budding musician
As a young child, Erin’s hearing loss went undetected, as it seemed impossible that an extremely talented, budding violinist, who relies heavily on sound precision, could be having hearing issues.
It wasn’t until Erin was 15 years old, after turning the TV volume up consistently loudly, that Erin saw Dr John Wells, who diagnosed her with 20 per cent degenerative hearing loss and was immediately referred to Australian Hearing Cairns.
The team at Australian Hearing assessed Erin further and recommended for her to be fitted with hearing devices, a time Erin remembers vividly:
Working out a solution
Australian Hearing suggested I bring my violin to the fitting, which was a brilliant idea, as we were able to fit my hearing aids to suit my violin volumes. I remember hearing sounds again for the first time in years, including birds singing. It was funny, I actually thought the birds were inside my head as they sounded that close – much to the amusement of everyone around me, Erin laughed.
School was often a lonely time for Erin. She noticed she had hearing difficulties from as early as eight-years-old, but it wasn’t properly diagnosed until her mid-teens. In the meantime, she missed out on social conversations and this often made friendships more difficult.
A new era
Today, Erin has a number of very close friends, and has been living with her partner, Robbie Johnstone, accomplished conductor and violinist, for the last seven years. By day, Erin is a payroll officer and by night, loves playing in her various music groups, especially performing classical pieces and modern movie themes.
An important element is a strong relationship with her audologist.
Australian Hearing has been fantastic to me, they are like family. They always fit my appointment times around me, not them. The best thing is, that they have fitted me with new hearing aids, as technology advances. Previously, people used to sound like robots to me when I wore my aids, she says
Now, with my new aids, the difference is dramatic. The volume levels are perfect, the filters are so much better, which means I can focus on the sound brilliantly.
Erin’s Italian-made violin is a treasured possession. But her Siemens’ hearing devices, fitted by Australian Hearing, are equally valuable. Without them, there would be no music in her life.