Music truly is a universal language, whether you can hear it or not.
There’s a common misconception that deaf people can’t engage with or create music.
While it’s true that individuals who are deaf or have hearing loss may face challenges when it comes to enjoying music, this hasn’t stopped some exceptionally talented musicians from achieving success despite their disabilities. Surprisingly, it’s entirely possible.
Deafness exists on a spectrum, and even those who are completely deaf can connect with music through the power of vibrations. This has allowed many gifted musicians, born with hearing loss, to continue making beautiful music.
There are, however, musicians who, over time, have lost their sense of hearing or developed tinnitus due to prolonged exposure to loud music, but they still keep the music alive.
Let’s learn about them:
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Ludwig van Beethoven was a talented musician [Alamy]
Beethoven is one of the most famous composers in Western music history. He began losing his hearing in his late 20s and was almost completely deaf by the time he composed some of his most famous works.
Beethoven composed classic symphonies like the Ninth Symphony or Choral Symphony and masterpieces like the Moonlight Sonata and the Late String Quartets. His music is basically the soundtrack to classical music. A true musical genius.
Evelyn Glennie (born 1965)
Evelyn Glennie deafness didn’t stop her musical talents [BDA]
Evelyn Glennie is a Scottish percussionist who had a challenging childhood. She started losing her hearing at 8 and was completely deaf by the age of 12.
Apparently, losing her sense of hearing didn’t stop her musical talents as she went on to have a successful career as a solo percussionist. Glennie has performed with major orchestras worldwide. She’s also won numerous awards and even performed at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.
This just proves that you can create beautiful music even if you can’t hear it the way most of us do.
Pete Townshend (born 1945)
Pete Townshend, the deaf musician who defied the odds [TheWho]
Pete Townshend, guitarist and songwriter for the legendary rock band The Who, has hearing loss, primarily due to being exposed to ear-splitting rock ‘n’ roll for years on stage. But did it stop him? No! He rocked on, writing classics like Baba O’Riley and My Generation. Pete showed the world that loud music can be great music, even if it gives your ears a run for their money.
Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847)
Fanny Mendelssohn overcame her hearing difficulties [MasterWorks]
Fanny Mendelssohn, the sister of the famous composer Felix Mendelssohn, had to deal with hearing difficulties. Yet, she composed amazing piano and chamber music, which people recognised for its emotional depth and innovation
Mandy Harvey (born 1988)
Mandy Harvey lost her hearing but never stopped singing [Medium]
Mandy Harvey is an American singer-songwriter who lost her hearing due to a connective tissue disorder when she was 18. But she didn’t let it stop her. Harvey wowed the world on “America’s Got Talent” and has kept making beautiful music. Harvey continues to release albums and perform internationally, creating beautiful melodies that resonate with listeners worldwide.