Four Tops Singing Star Duke Fakir to Promote Better Hearing
Sergei Kochkin (703) 684-3391
‘60’s Motown star says new, digital hearing technology has transformed his personal and professional life
ALEXANDRIA, VA: Duke Fakir, a long-time singer with the popular group The Four Tops, will promote the benefits of better hearing through the use of digital hearing aids as a member of the “Circle of Celebrities” of the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., BHI’s Executive Director, announced today.
Fakir,who has moderate hearing loss in both ears, was fitted with two hearing aids by audiologist Dr. Kelly Halligan of Northglen, CO. He called the hearing aids “sleek and sexy and completely unlike hearing aids a generation ago.”
“I love them. I have noticed improvements in both my personal and professional life,” he said.
Fakir joins more than 60 celebrities who have, in the past three decades, volunteered to be public spokespeople and supporters of better hearing by working with the BHI, Kochkin said. The celebrities participate in public meetings and speak to the media about the need for people with hearing loss to seek professional evaluation. In the past some have also appeared in television public service announcements.
Kochkin said Fakir will join the organization’s Advisory Council as well as its “Circle of Celebrities.” The most recent other new celebrity member is Dr. Vincent Cerf, known as one of the “fathers of the Internet.”
Fakir said his message to others with hearing loss will be: “Admit you can't hear and seek help. Today's technology is efficient and nearly invisible. Imagine not straining to hear every word. Imagine being able to participate in conversations, and hearing your grandchildren. It's great.”
“When I listen to my music in the car, I can hear the sounds deeper into the music, like cymbal beats and little tinklings that I missed before. I can hear my voice better when singing. Social gatherings are easy now.”
Fakir has been with The Four Tops for half a century. Duke (2nd from right in the photo) and his group made some of Motown's most memorable singles during the label's creative zenith in the 1960’s, including "Baby I Need Your Loving," "I Can't Help Myself," "It's the Same Old Song," and "Reach Out I'll Be There.” His group has cut 39 albums.
The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and have remained an in-demand live act.
“About 15% of baby boomers have hearing loss and the incidence among musicians exceeds 50% because of their exposure to loud sounds,” Kochkin said. “America’s 78 million baby boomers have grown up with the Motown sound of The Four Tops and we believe Duke Fakir will be a valuable addition to our Circle of Celebrities.”
Kochkin added: “Present day hearing aids are much more effective than ever before. One of Duke’s concerns with being fitted for a hearing aid was whether it could be seen. Dr. Halligan showed Duke miniature, behind-the-ear devices that deliver sound through a virtually invisible thin tube that fits over the ear and into the ear canal. Duke was able to overcome his concern about the visibility of the hearing aids, and also learned that he was not alone in having an easily correctable hearing loss.”
In explaining how he came to seek to be evaluated for a hearing loss, Fakir said: "I noticed there were things I couldn’t hear as well as I used to. Things like television and movies, hearing clearly at parties or restaurants. Even my wife's voice was sometimes difficult for me to hear. That was extremely frustrating!”
“When you can’t understand what people are saying, you tend to fake it. You nod your head as though you are hearing them, but really you don't have a clue as to what they said. People began to notice and asked me if there was something wrong with me. Who wants to admit that they can’t hear? I didn't want to admit it for a long time. I stayed away from hearing aids. I guess it was a macho thing. I just didn’t want anything hanging off my ear.”
Since being fitted with hearing aids, Fakir said, “I have noticed improvements in both my personal and professional life. Recently I had a business meeting with my attorney. Usually, I would have to ask her to repeat things two or three times to be able to understand what she was saying. I heard her clear as a bell. I was able to rest back in my seat comfortably and still participate in the entire meeting. No more straining to hear every word. No more guessing. No more faking it. What a relief.”
“My advice for people who think they may have hearing loss is not to wait any longer. Find out if your hearing loss can be corrected with modern hearing devices, he said.”
Founded in 1973, the Better Hearing Institute is a not-for-profit educational organization whose mission is to educate the public about hearing loss, its treatment and prevention. To receive a free copy of our 28 page booklet "Your Guide to Better Hearing," visit our website at www.betterhearing.org or call the Better Hearing Institute hotline at 1-800-EAR-WELL.
©2005 Better Hearing Institute. BHI does not endorse specific products or companies.