Hearing loss is always a difficult, life-changing condition. However, when music is your passion, dealing with hearing loss can be especially difficult.
Musicians with hearing loss face a number of unique issues. Due to the physical nature of most acoustic instruments, it is possible for many musicians who suffer from hearing loss to still engage with their passion. Several influential musicians, in fact, have suffered from some form hearing issue, from Neil Young’s tinnitus to Brian Wilson’s (of Beach Boys fame) lifetime issues with an inability to hear from his right ear. In a field where hearing damage from the extreme conditions of performance mixed with a lack of hearing protection, many musicians have suffered from hearing loss, or have pursued the passion regardless of the hearing loss they’ve always contended with.
Recent trends in music production have become a new challenge, however, through the development and emergence of strictly digital music production. Due to the nature of the instruments used, there is little to no feedback for musicians with hearing issues to respond to. Though there is little sign of music abandoning acoustic instruments for their digital counterparts, this is an avenue of production that may limit new musicians from discovering their passion.
Fortunately, as music is a passion for many, there are a number of solutions being investigated. Intrigued by this issue, for instance, a doctoral candidate from Birmingham City University has begun to research haptic interfaces for deaf musicians, including a readout for visual representations of sound and tactile feedback to represent the missing physical component of the music being produced.
Likewise, several developments in hearing-aid technology have allowed for an increase in performance and precision for those who suffer from hearing loss. Oklahoma City Hearing Center takes pride in our place at the forefront of the treatment of hearing loss. If you are passionate about music but afraid that your hearing loss will separate you from your interests, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.
Birmingham City University. “Music-making for the deaf.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 November 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151118101815.htm>.