Top 5 on Music and Hearing

Best News Articles in February 2013 for Musicians with Hearing Loss

Anumber of interesting stories about music and hearing loss crossed the news wires in February, prompting us to kick off this monthly roundup of articles on the topic.

The Boston Globe brought us the story of Hannah Katz, a 23-year-old opera singer who was born without a hearing canal. The singer, who uses hearing aids and a cochlear implant, and has undergone 36 surgeries over the course of her life, said that she “has to make a conscious effort to move her mouth and lips when singing, something that she said feels exaggerated to her.”

Meanwhile, WalesOnline reported on an orchestra concert designed for audience members with severe hearing loss and deafness. Organized by Andy Everton, a trumpet player with hearing loss and tinnitus, the concert allowed audience members to come closer to musicians and experience the vibrations. “To me it’s the power of music, that ethereal quality that music creates,” Everton says. “I think there’s something very profound there.”

Two noteworthy memoirs came out in February; GRAND PIANO PASSION™ will review them both later this month. One is Katherine Bouton’s Shouting Won’t Help, an account of dealing with adult-onset hearing loss. A lover of opera, Bouton relates how she realized that a cochlear implant “comes with its own limitations, like an inability to transmit music clearly,” and she includes the perspectives of opera singers who have lost their hearing. The author’s discovery of the Hearing Health Foundation (where Founding Editor Nancy Williams serves on the board) and its Hearing Restoration Project helped Bouton to find courage.

The second book is Song Without Words by Gerald Shea, who didn’t realize he was partially deaf until age 34. He delves into the realm of partial hearing loss, a common medical issue that remains under the radar. Boston Magazine reports that Shea’s memoir “serves as both a fascinating life story and a message about the importance of protecting and monitoring our hearing health.”

There have been numerous reports recently about the risks of hearing loss due to loud music and noisy work conditions, including this story of a club hostess suing her former employer for its high-decibel environment. At work every day, “She could feel the bass thumping in her throat. Cocktail glasses bounced. Heavy vases shimmied along surfaces to the beat.” Organizations such as the Hearing Health Foundation recommend earplugs to protect your hearing in any noisy environment.

Lastly, the blog Lipreading Mom—published by Shanna Groves, a mother of three who has progressive hearing loss—brings up the issue of hearing loss bullying. Groves is circulating a petition (which Nancy signed) to educate people about the prevalence of this type of bullying and why and how it should be stopped.

  

 

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