Clear Channel Morning Man Loses Hearing
Jim Lago is the morning show host on Clear Channel talker KKTX-AM in Corpus Christi. He's been in the radio business since 1978 when he picked up a part-time job in Longview, TX on a music station. Since 1996 he's been the host of "Lago in The Morning," which focuses on local politics, local people and local businesses." In other words, he's Live and Local. A few days ago, Lago woke up and his hearing was gone. He wasn't sick, there was no warning and he had no idea what to do. He went into work that day and did his shift. We caught up with Lago this week to ask him what happened and what he plans to do next to be able to keep the job he loves and he's had for over 30 years.
So, what happened to your hearing?
I went to bed 16 October, 2013, with what I thought was normal hearing, woke up on 17 October, and couldn't hear a thing.
It must have scared the daylights out of you.
Initally, no. I awoke just before my alarm, took a look at the clock, had 10 minutes, tried to go back to sleep and couldn't, so I got up 2:47. It's pretty quiet in my neighborhood, very quiet in my house, but I had this strange sense that something was different. I blew it off as, "Hell, it's Thursday, and they always start slow."
I went to the kitchen, shoved a one-cup in the Keurig, closed the handle, pushed the button, went to my office. I was reading a note my wife left on my laptop as I opened the lid: " Be sure to watch Billy O if you have time," signed in, mailbox opens, and the news feeds begin. I grabbed the remote, turned on the TV, and was checking the headlines looked over at the TV, no sound. I've been having a round with the cable company so I thought it was just more of the same bad service so I turned the damn thing off. I finished my preliminary news scan, gathered some local notes, e-mailed them to myself at work. It's 3:30. Go back to the kitchen, get a cup of coffee, walk into the bathroom, turn on the shower, took a look at my beard to see if I really wanted to shave, thought "screw it," and got into the shower. Nice and steamy, and I put my head on the cool, cool tile and as the hot water pelted my head and neck, I realized I couldn't hear the water.
I reached for the faucet, and thought, what are you going to do? Get out of the shower, check to see if your ears are still there? No. So, I felt for 'em. Yep still there. I could not hear my fingers on my ears. I thought I'd take it a step further, stuck an index finger in each ear, couldn't hear that either. Finished my shower, got dressed, started to wake up my wife, thought better of it, and went out the door. Got to the station at 4:15. Absolutely the smoothest, most quiet ride my 2003 Ford F-150 4x4 ever gave me!
I walk into the building looking for my friend Dan Pena, morning guy at sister station KSAB, walk into his office, and I said, "Danito talk to me." He looked up, grinned, his lips were a movin' but no sound was comin' out. I said, "Yell at me." He looked puzzled, so I said, "Really Dan, yell at me...loudly." He started; I could hear something, but couldn't make out what he was saying. Heard the noise, couldn't make out the words. I explained what was going on.
What do the doctors say is wrong?
They haven't. Some possibilities, but nothing certain except that, according to my hearing test, I do not have enough inner ear activity to make a cochlear implant worth trying. I've just gone through a week of tests, two a day, blood work, x-rays, ultrasound, MRI, MRI with dye, and yesterday, that would be Monday, tinnitus. The 10-headed Hydra got so bad I had vertigo, felt a lot like sea sickness. Yeah and I puked a lot.
Did this creep up on you or happen all at once?
Overnight, more like a sneak attack.
Can it be reversed?
I have another appointment with Dr. Zane in the morning. He's going to go over my MRIs and give me options. The first option he told me today will be putting a couple of drops of steroids in my ear, and "then I'll puncture your ear drum, and we'll let that cook around in there." Two times a day on successive days, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
How has it impacted your broadcasts?
I'm not sure, I've only been back at work two days. Monday was good, callers were patient. I have a device in my ear canal that lets me hear a bit if the cans are up all the way, but one of my doctors thinks the reason my tinnitus was so bad yesterday is because I wore headphones and at full blast for four hours. Today I only used them to communicate with Sam, my producer, and the callers, then I turned them down. Tinnitus is bad again this afternoon, but nothing like the motion sickness yesterday.
What have your listeners/callers said to you about how you sound on the air now?
My boss, JR Richards, you can call me Catfish, said I sounded great. Some people will go to great lengths to keep their prized mushrooms in the dark.
Reach out to Jim to wish him well at JimLago@clearchannel.com
(11/4/2013 3:50:21 PM) |
Bless you, brother, just bless you. Stay strong.
(11/1/2013 7:42:38 PM) |
I have a former colleague to whom this happened about a year ago. Fortunately, his hearing came back as mysteriously as it disappeared, first one ear, then both.
(11/1/2013 2:32:30 PM) |
God be with you ,Jim. I've wondered which would be worse; to lose your hearing or sight.
|- Greg Oen|
(10/31/2013 5:04:31 PM) |
Very unnerving story! Every DJ's nightmare. My prayers to you for a speedy recovery. Please keep us informed. We will be thinking about you!
|- Michael Rock|
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