Music Appreciation for Persons With Hearing Loss

Did you know March is Music in Our Schools Month? I would like to celebrate the music in our lives, even for those of us who have hearing loss.

Music is a wonderful adjuvant to the traditional three “Three R’s” and its benefits are often overlooked in these days of high-stakes testing and heavy emphasis being placed on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).  Here’s to finding a place for music in the curriculum and for keeping it there!

Persons who are deaf and hard of hearing have their relationship with music altered dramatically. They may experience everything from a mild muting of the sharps and flats they once enjoyed so much to only being able to perceive music by feeling the vibrations it produces in the air and on the musical instruments themselves.  And everything in between.

For those of you who are interested, I would like to share a couple of resources I have found to be helpful, in honor of March being Music in Our Schools Month.  I am a late-deafened adult who uses bi-lateral cochlear implants.  I have definitely had to change my musical expectations to fit what my cochlear implants are capable of giving me, and the change has not always been seamless. Smile.

I gained much very no-nonsense, tough-love information and encouragement from an article audiologist Brad Ingrao, Au.D. wrote that appeared in the March/April 2013 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine. The magazine is published by the Hearing Loss Association of America. The article is available now for free download. Please copy the following URL into your web browser and it should take you to the article

I have found listening and watching musical videos, with captions, of popular songs I remember enjoying before my hearing loss became profound to be very enjoyable.  The visual image coupled with my pitch memory sometimes fools my brain into believing my auditory nerve is recognizing pitch again.  I have been led to believe this is actually a pretty good way of training my brain to recognize the pitches my cochlear implants can reproduce.  The captions are an important part of the wakeup call for me, since I am used to reading sheet music.

The Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss is a diverse group made up of people with all degrees of hearing loss of such significance that it now impacts on how they perform (or no longer perform) music.  They offer educational webinars, meet-ups, and concerts.  I attended an AAMHL webinar this past fall and it was excellent. Please copy the following URL into your web browser and it should take you to the Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss website

So, check out these resources and see if they bring you an enhanced listening experience.  And have fun as you celebrate March being Music in Our Schools Month!


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