Leading musical director gets his hearing back

Leading musical director gets his hearing back!

Contributed by James Pocock

31/05/2024 00:00:00 • 4 min read

Mike Dixon, 67, is one of the UK’s leading West End, TV and radio musical directors and conductors.


During his varied career, he has worked on high-profile concerts and special events, such as The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee concert at The Royal Albert Hall and live TV recordings of ‘An Audience with…’ Lionel Richie and Shirley Bassey, as well as many West End shows, including Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Grease and We Will Rock You.


He has worked with a host of stars from stage and screen, including Sir Elton John, Bette Midler, Michael Bublé, Sir Tom Jones and Andrew Lloyd Webber, to name but a few.


This year, Mike is preparing to conduct a concert to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day (6 June 2024) at the Royal Albert Hall.


Leading musical director gets his hearing back


Mike first noticed a change in his hearing about ten years ago, but it took him eight years before he finally got his ears tested and his first pair of hearing aids fitted.


As a conductor and a musician, I’ve been in front of loud forces for a number of years – a mixture of large orchestras and rock bands. When you’re standing in front of an orchestra, the noise is so loud because everyone’s aiming at you. I’m sure I’m not the only conductor to have hearing loss,” Mike says.


“About 10 years ago, I noticed that things weren’t quite as they should be with my hearing, but like most people do, I ignored the fact that there was a problem.”


“Finally, after talking it through with my wife – because she was the one I was mostly saying ‘pardon?’ to all the time – I finally went to get my hearing tested.”


Mike tried the very latest hearing aid technology, the revolutionary Oticon Intent™, at his local Hidden Hearing clinic in Hatch End, and describes being able to hear music, phone and video calls directly via Bluetooth® as ‘game changing’.


Leading musical director gets his hearing back


Q&A with Mike Dixon

  1. What challenges have you encountered related to your hearing loss?
    “Hearing loss is such a gradual thing that you don’t tend to notice specifics when it’s happening. It was only after I got hearing aids that I realised how much I had been missing. Every so often now, I take them out of my ears and think, ‘Oh my goodness, that’s what the world used to sound like’ – it feels like someone has put their hands over my ears. You realise that you’ve been living with a weird kind of muting of real life.

    At home I couldn’t hear the beep of the dishwasher or the oven timer. My wife would say, ‘the cooker’s beeping can you get that?’ and I’d say, ‘I can’t hear it’.”

  2. How do you tell people about your hearing loss?
    “I’m quite clear with people that I’m wearing hearing aids – I do tell people and use it as a talking point. In my own small way, I’m trying to help people understand that it’s the same as wearing glasses. People are so used to seeing people wearing glasses, which often become a fashion statement. Hearing aids can be seen in the same way.

    There’s certainly still a stigma around hearing loss and wearing hearing aids. Hopefully, as more and more people are getting used to wearing ear bud headphones, that will change.”

  3. When you have spoken up about your hearing loss, what has been the reaction?

    “I’ve had quite positive reactions, actually. People have been interested in the fact that I don’t need headphones anymore, having not realised that you can stream music, the TV, your phone and computer through certain types of hearing aids.
    It’s absolutely terrific. I’ve given my wife my AirPods because I don’t need them anymore, I can
    stream everything through my hearing aids.”

  4. What activities do you really love and are glad you can still enjoy because you’ve addressed your hearing loss?

    “Now, when I go for a walk, I can hear birdsong and other simple, lovely things like the sound of leaves as you walk through them. Lots of the natural musicality of life had gone before I started wearing hearing aids and that’s such a shame. When I began listening to music with my hearing aids, I started to hear all the detail and top end of certain musical instruments that I had been missing. I wish I had acted earlier to get my hearing loss sorted. Now, the simple joy I get from walking about and listening to music properly again is amazing. I've also been to the theatre several times since getting my new hearing aids and have found the best way to listen by using a setting in the app that’s particularly good for live concerts. It takes time to get it right. I’d say it takes about six months to get completely used to wearing hearing aids. There are so many things that you find out as you go along the journey.”

  5. What advice would you give to people with hearing loss who are reluctant to try wearing hearing aids? “I would just say try it. You will 100% benefit from getting tested and having hearing aids that enable you to experience life properly again.”


Oticon Intent hearing aids

You can book your free hearing test online today by following the link. Or if you just want to get a general idea of how well you can hear, you can take our quick, five-minute online hearing test. It’s free and we’ll email you your results straight away.