Next year, country music star and gifted storyteller Troy Cassar-Daley will perform his most popular songs about life on the land and his own experience with hearing loss to help encourage others to take action.
upcoming 2019 Greatest Hits national tour will have him on the road for most of the year doing what he loves – meeting the locals and performing his songs about the highs and lows of country life. And as an ambassador for Australian Hearing, encouraging them to get their hearing tested and to take measures to prevent hearing loss.
“I’ll be spreading the word about how important hearing health is, and how you only get one shot at it, so it should be respected and checked regularly,” says Troy.
It was witnessing the impact of hearing loss on a close family member that inspired Troy to become an ambassador for Australian Hearing. “Our family had been touched by a child with hearing problems and I was moved to see the difference it made to his life and learning,” he explains.
Since becoming an ambassador in 2016, Troy has shared his personal experience with countless audiences and wrote I Can Hear You Now,
a song about how it feels to suffer hearing loss and the joy experienced when a hearing device is fitted for the first time. Insightful and heartfelt, Troy has found the song rarely fails to get a strong emotional response from his audiences: “The reaction is mainly tears and that’s just from me! It was wonderful to be able to customise a song for Australian Hearing for all to share.”
Troy’s involvement with Australian Hearing also led him to taking a hearing test, which revealed he has some hearing damage, largely from exposure to loud guitars over this 30-year career.
Like many, he was unaware of having hearing damage. “The results brought it home to me and made me very aware of my activities at home that can potentially do damage, like a whipper snipper, for instance, or riding my old tractor,” he says. “All my habits changed after that initial test and I’m more careful than ever when doing these things.”
Seeing first-hand the effects of hearing loss has further strengthened Troy’s dedication to his role of ambassador. “So many of these problems are a simple fix and preventable, which makes me more passionate about spreading that simple message of regular hearing checks,” he says.
“I’d like to see older folks, mainly men, get their hearing checked after years of living with industrial deafness, because once they address it, they seem to be welcomed back into the world. They have spent years straining to hear and missing very important conversations. We need them back, talking and listening, so we can learn more from their generation.”
Troy prevents further damage to his hearing while on stage and in the recording studio with in-ear monitors. “I now protect my hearing by wearing Shure 535 monitors. They give me a choice of how much volume goes into my ears and I’ve been fortunate over the past 12 years to use them or things could be quite different,” explains Troy.
The monitors attracted the attention of one young fan and sparked an opportunity to talk about hearing loss and prevention. “A young boy came up to me at Bairnsdale who had hearing aids in and he wanted to ask me about mine! He thought my Shure 535’s were similar looking to his. We spoke about what they did and he proudly showed me his custom ones he’d just received. It was very moving.”
At the moment, Troy is preparing for his upcoming tour, which kicks off at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January and will see him visit over 40 towns across Australia over 11 months. “The highlights will be performing with my daughter Jem, playing lots of older songs and seeing old friends around this incredible country of ours!” he says. “The people always seem respectful and really appreciate us taking our show there. The saying ‘country hospitality’ is alive and well in the bush, believe me.”