45, Music Producer/Musician
Deaf in left ear
I was diagnosed with hearing-impairment in one ear when I was 7 years old after a referral from a teacher. I don’t struggle with it because I don’t know what it is like to have ‘perfect’ hearing. I have always worked with what I have and not compared myself to others. My experience may be different but my understanding of sound is the same.
At school my ‘perceived’ non-involvement and interest in learning was seen as non-compliance and I was often placed at the back of the room as a form of isolation and discipline (which exacerbated my learning issues as I was unable to hear the teacher clearly).
I don’t think I have ever not accepted being deaf in one ear, I didn’t know anything different. Over time, I have been inspired by other professional musicians who have experienced hearing loss in one way or another but continue in their chosen field and thrive e.g. Evelyn Glennie, a virtuoso percussionist. Profound deafness hasn’t prevented her from pursuing her passion for sound in an industry where your ears are crucial to your instrument. In fact she has proven that your ears aren’t imperative for hearing and has explored sound through vibration and body. I am fascinated by neuroscience and the implications it has for hearing/perceiving sound.
On a couple of occasions only, there was a lack of understanding of my ‘perceived’ limitations by others e.g. because I can hear from only one ear that I am not capable of understanding stereo sound. On the contrary though, I feel I acutely understand it and compensate accordingly. Thankfully, I am surrounded by open-minded people that do not stereotype me and it’s generally a non-issue. I don’t feel that I have ever had to prove myself to other musicians, as my work is the ultimate testament to my sonic abilities.