The sentence “Let’s just see what the morning brings”, from The Tragically Hip song Wheat kings, turned out to have extra significance for one of the band’s members, namely guitarist Paul Langlois.
As the Canadian rock band, referred to as The Hip, was recording its album, Now for Plan A, guitarist Paul Langlois suddenly lost all hearing in his right ear, resulting in him becoming completely deaf on his right side.
The Hip-guitarist was diagnosed with sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), a relatively rare condition which involves the onset of unexplained one-sided deafness.
Early treatment for sudden hearing loss (SSNHL) may potentially save a person’s hearing. Most people recover from the condition, but about 15% have hearing loss which continues to worsen. Further treatment may involve various types of hearing aid or cochlear implants.
The “New Normal”
Being diagnosed with sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) left The Tragically Hip-guitarist Paul Langlois in an anxious state. He feared that his music career would be over if he lost the ability to sing in key.
A small blessing for the guitarist, however, was that the band was in the studio recording and not on the road. This allowed Paul Langlois more time to get used to and adjust to ‘the new normal’.
Musical and social adjustment
Following the diagnosis of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), Paul Langlois always plays on the right side of the stage while touring with The Tragically Hip. This means that the band is on the guitarist’s left side, where his good ear is. Paul Langlois’ condition therefore does not force him to switch the way the band lines up onstage.
With time, the guitarist has adjusted both musically and socially to the sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) in his right ear. From being anxious and worried about his musical future, The Tragically Hip-member has become more relaxed about his condition.