Read Rune's story

The Rock revolution forced the Jazzmusician Rune
to turn up the volume. That eventually resulted in tinnitus
and hearing loss. Today he is again master of the sounds.

Life stories

I used to give up and simply asked people to write a note of what they had in mind

Rune Liedström is 81 years old but he has neither retired from his work nor his guitar. Today he works at the trade union for musicians and the tinnitus society in Gothenburg where he, among other tasks, is a writer for both these organizations’ members magazines.

It is naturally easier to work beyond retirement age when your health is good and when to get to do things that you are passionate about, which Rune is. His current activities also tells a story about what he has been devoted to be before.

Since the beginning of the 1950’s he has been working as a professional musician. A career where he accompanied names from Josephine Baker to Jokkmokks-Jocke. In the beginning it was mostly Jazz, but as Elvis, Tommy Steele and Bill Haley appeared it became harder to make a living as a Jazz musician.

- People where listening to rock music and to be able to stay in the business I had to adapt and follow the trends. I turned up the volume on my guitar amplifier – rock was supposed to be played loud. I didn’t reflect so much at the time, but I remember for example once when a bartender put a rag in his ears because it was so loud, says Rune and laughs.

I could not even tune my own guitar properly

Rune himself didn’t have any significant problems with the loud volume, not until a gig in Varberg in 1972. Rune and his wife Lena had planned to continue to Heidelberg in Germany with their car after the gig. When they turned on the recently purchased car stereo, Rune found that it didn’t sound very well.

- Damn these new things, they don’t sound good at all, I said to Lena.
- What do you mean? The sound is crystal clear, she said.
Then I began to wonder what it was all about, says Rune.

When he came back from Germany he has so much noise in his ears that he couldn’t even tune his own guitar. He had gotten tinnitus. At that time, tinnitus was more of a mystery. Rune got a number of different diagnoses and medications but nothing helped.

Through his friends in the tinnitus society, Rune has now found aids that facilitate his everyday life. He has lost a lot of his hearing abilities which particularly causes problems when he attends meeting where many people speak at the same time

- I used to give up and simply asked people to write a note what they had in mind. Now I have a wireless system that allows me to hear what I want to hear. In his home he uses personal amplifier Maxi, that allow Rune and his wife to watch TV in the same room, but with two different volumes.

- It is wonderful. We can both adjust the volume individually just the way we like it. In fact, these hearing products have changed the most in my life. I can now say that I am again the master of the sounds!

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