Just because a person is deaf doesn’t mean that they don’t like or listen to music. There are so many factors that go into that, which I don’t have the ability to fully explain. In the video above, Cobi Sewell explains what he can hear and how he listens to music. He and I have pretty similar hearing loss. A lot of my hearing loss is in the higher frequencies as well. In music terms, this means that I can hear the person singing, but I can’t understand what they are singing. I also have issues with guitars, I miss the high notes, and a lot of riffs sound muddled to me. But, I can HEAR the bass, I can HEAR the drums, and, most important of all, I can FEEL the music.
Typically, I listen to music using my ipod. Listening through my laptop or phone isn’t loud enough for me to actually enjoy the music. Depending on the day, I use earphones or headphones that fit with my hearing aids. Usually I choose the earphones. Someday I hope to be able to get the equipment needed to wirelessly listen through my hearing aids. I like having the music go directly into my ears. I also liked using my stereo. I could set it on the floor to feel the vibrations while listening. Sadly, the CD player part of my stereo died, and I’ve yet to find a good enough replacement that doesn’t cost a fortune.
I think my hearing loss has had the most impact on what kind of music I listen to. I grew up listening to boy bands, but I remember the music my sister liked. I would sneakily try to listen to her music whenever I could. While I was listening to Aaron Carter and Jesse McCartney (I still know all the words to Beautiful Soul thank you very much, I still remember liking her music better. Years later, we got the Fuse music channel and they played Avenged Sevenfold, Three Days Grace, and AFI, all the bands I remember hearing my sister listening to. I was SO excited! I finally had the names of these bands! And it progressed from there. I stopped listening to Pop music. While others were becoming obsessed with Taylor Swift, I was diving into Avenged Sevenfold. This kind of music brought out emotions that others didn’t. I had such a connection with this music.
My senior year of high school, I took a few music classes. I forget the names of the classes. In one of the classes, we had to bring in a song to go with whatever theme we were talking about that day. I don’t remember what theme we were talking about during this one class, but I brought in Prelude 12/21 by AFI (video) and we had to list all of the instruments we could hear. I remember having only one or two things written down, but everyone else having much more. That was one of the moments I realized something had to be wrong, but I held it in for another year. Listening to this now, it doesn’t sound like I remember. I still love it, but I know there are things missing. Its not as beautiful as it once was.
I prefer bands like Avenged Sevenfold, AFI, Motionless In White, Black Veil Brides, In This Moment, Avatar, Bring Me The Horizon…I could go on for a while. Most of these can be classified as being in the metal genre. I do prefer metal for the most part. For me, it have the most feeling. I do listen to rock, though it does have less of what I like to hear/feel, and I listen to very few death metal bands because that’s too much for me. There’s kind of a happy medium I’ve found between hard rock and heavy metal. That’s my happy place in music. I once saw a post somewhere that said “you hear the screaming, I hear the meaning” and that has stuck with me ever since. While the type of music I listen to isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I enjoy it. To me, these songs have a lot more meaning. And they provide a lot more physical feeling.
Concerts are my happy place. They’re audio/visual/and tactile pleasing. I can hear what I hear, watch the performance put on, and feel the music. My favorite part is when the music first starts, and I feel those first vibrations. Its a full body experience. And those first few are always the best because of how long I go between concerts. The vibrations feel like home. They are comforting.
Black Veil Brides-Saviour (Video) -This song evokes a lot of emotion from me, especially starting at the 3:30 mark. That’s usually when I get hit with the most emotion from this song.
Motionless In White-Eternally Yours (Video) -Seeing MIW in concert is always visually pleasing. They have such a stage precence, I love it. I have such a hard time picking just one of their songs that I love, but this is a new one that I’ve been listening to over and over.
Betraying The Martyrs-Let It Go (Video)– the ONLY version of Let It Go that I can stand.
Of course, there are bands I loved, but no longer listen to all that much. Apocalyptica is a band I listened to every day for a while, heavy metal cellists, need I say more? But, like with AFI’s Prelude, they’ve lost something. Well, not that they’ve lost anything, its me that’s lost my hearing. They no longer sound the same and I no longer get the enjoyment that I used to while listening to them. Though, its still on my bucket list to see them in concert because I would LOVE to see them live. Apocalyptica- I Don’t Care (Video)
My love of music remains strong. I am no longer perusing a degree in music like I once was, but its still a hobby, and its still something I very much enjoy. To the hearing people reading this and saddened about what I can and can’t hear, I’m sad that you’ll never get to experience music in the way I do. Its de(a)finitely awesome!
Something I do miss is singing. I grew up singing in choruses and church choirs. When I graduated high school, that of course meant no more chorus. I no longer belong to a church, so there goes the church choir part. I still sing, to myself. I don’t know if I sound good or not, but I spent 17 years in choruses and choirs, I’m not about to let that go to waste, I spent a long time working on my diaphragm (the space below the lungs)! I would like to become fluent in sign language and become a certified interpreter and begin interpreting concerts. I’ve always dreamed of being on stage one day, I still think that could happen, just signing instead of singing.
A person being deaf does not mean that we live our lives without music. Many of us are passionate about it and doing what we can to make it more accessible to other deaf and hard of hearing people. My passion for music has not changed, and it will never change.