9 Of The Most Famous Deaf Musicians Or With Hearing Loss

There is no doubt that music is one of the most important aspects of life. It has the power to transcend language barriers and unite people from all walks of life. For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, making and enjoying music can be a challenge. But that hasn’t stopped some really great musicians from achieving success despite their handicaps.

In this post, we will take a look at some of the most famous musicians who are deaf or hard of hearing. We’ll explore why it happened, when it happened, and how they deal with it, or how they dealt with it.

1. Evelyn Glennie

Scotland-born Dame Evelyn Glennie is one of the world’s most famous percussionists, able to use 60 instruments, including the xylophone, marimba and timpani, and is severely deaf.

She has performed with almost all major bands globally and with many presidents and world leaders from the audience. Besides classical music, it is known for its partnerships with pop and rock artists such as Sting and Bjork.

Glennie started deaf at age eight due to deteriorating nerves. Her hearing has regressed to “profound deafness,” which means she cannot understand the spoken word from the sound alone.

The percussion teacher at school taught her how to develop her senses to recognize the part of her body where she can feel certain notes.

For example, she had to put her hands on the wall, and he played two notes on two pitches. Then he asked her what the higher note was and where she felt it.

She was able to determine that she could feel the higher note on the top of her hand while feeling the lower note down toward her wrist.

She says, “Finally I was able to discern the approximate pitch by relating where I felt the sound on my body and the perfect pitch sensation I had before I lost my hearing.”

Glennie’s mission is to “teach the world to listen.” It aims to “improve communication and social cohesion by encouraging everyone to discover a new way of listening.”

She led 1,000 drummers at the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony. Glennie has been an OBE and has won over 100 international music awards, including two Grammy Awards.

2. Chris Martin

Chris Martin is best known as the lead singer, pianist, and co-founder of the rock band Coldplay. With over 100 million sales worldwide, Coldplay is one of the world’s best-selling kits of all time.

But, while you may know many of their beats, you may not know that Martin suffers from tinnitus, a form of hearing loss described as ringing in the ears.

However, it can also cause other phantom noises such as whistling, buzzing, roaring, hissing, and buzzing. Some sufferers hear the ringing intermittently, while for others, it is a constant ringing.

After being on two long trips, Martin noticed the noise in his ears. The theory is that something happened to his ears on those flights – perhaps cabin pressure accompanied by an ear infection.

Tinnitus also results from prolonged exposure to loud sounds, including music. Specialists warned him to start protecting his hearing to prevent the condition from deteriorating.

Martin and his band began wearing specially filtered earplugs or dedicated in-ear screens to protect them during performances.

He says the noise “is a distraction but the truth is I simply live with it and have accepted that it will never be cured. I’ve grown to understand it.”

Martin endorsed a campaign by Action on Hearing Loss about the potential danger of listening to loud music.

3. Mandy Harvey

Singer-songwriter Mandy Harvey gained international attention and inspired Americans in 2017 when she competed on America’s Got Talent, where she sang an original song.

She received Simon Cowell who was admired by everyone golden bell, enabling it to go directly to the final rounds of the competition. She has made four albums and released multiple singles.

Harvey’s singing talent was recognized when she was in high school. She went to university and majored in vocal music education, training for the career of her dreams.

Her hearing problems started in childhood, and she gradually lost her hearing as a result of a connective tissue disorder, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. At the age of 18, her world fell silent.

Adjusting to her new reality was difficult and she became very depressed and gave up music. But fortunately, her father’s encouragement and visual counterbalances to help her find the right tune led to her return to music.

These tuners will turn red to indicate she was a bit out of pitch, and Harvey will have to adjust her vocals until she hits the right pitch and the tuner turns green.

In addition to performing, Harvey is also a motivational speaker and ambassador for the nonprofit organization No Obstacles and Invisible Disability.

She has written two books, co-authored Rhythm Sensing: Finding My Voice in a Soundless WorldAnd most recently a children’s book.

4. Matt Maxi

Make sure to turn on subtitles to see what he has to say!

Next on the list is Matt Maxi who specializes in sign language for rap and hip-hop.

Maxi was born with “profound” hearing loss, which means he can’t hear sounds quieter than around 90 decibels. Normal conversation tends to be at around 60 decibels. So a person with a “profound” hearing loss will not hear any speech but can hear louder sounds.

His mother and doctor provided hearing aids and speech therapy while he was growing up, so there was no need to learn sign language.

However, after attending a university for deaf students where American Sign Language (ASL) was the primary form of communication, he struggled to come to terms with it and made him feel inferior. So he turned to his passion, music, which he found easier to understand than sounds.

Maxi says he can hear the “soul” in the songs. “You can hear the pain and the joy. This is something I did not fully understand in communicating and interacting with anyone.”

Like many hard-of-hearing people, Maxi enjoyed hip-hop music “because of the bass and the beats and being hip-hop”. He started practicing signing music that he enjoyed.

The videos he made as he signed went viral in the deaf and hard of hearing communities.

He says, “Some deaf people have never experienced music in a way they can understand. We present them with music in a way that is more visually stimulating.”

In 2017, he went on tour with Grammy Award-winning musician Chance the Rapper, and signed him for his concerts. He has been described as a pioneer in the genre and in interpreting music in new ways.

5. Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven’s deafness is probably the most famous disability of any composer in history. She became part of the legend that surrounds the man and his music.

As our understanding of disability has expanded and evolved, reviewers believe that much about Beethoven’s response to his deafness has been misinterpreted.

Although countless diagnoses have been made for the cause of deafness, there is still a clear consensus about this or even about when it began.

Apparently around the age of 26, he had intermittent and progressive hearing loss. He began to have difficulty hearing in his left ear and struggled to hear words and the loud tones of instruments.

Contemporaries reported that Beethoven used a range of cool tricks and techniques to deal with his hearing impairment.

At first, he was learning to distinguish notes by feeling the top of a piano; Later, he used hearing aids such as ear trumpets. He also had an amplifier, a “hearing instrument” designed for a piano.

He has been said to have been a “stone deaf” in his mid-30s when he composed the Fifth Symphony. However, there is a report of him when he was about 50 years old, using an ear trumpet while listening to his nephew playing the piano and correcting his mistakes.

So perhaps our picture of the composer reclusive in his deafness, making music in his mind, is incorrect.

As Freya Barr, digital editor and staff writer for BBC Music, concluded:Beethoven did not conquer deafness. I’ve learned to work with it and deal with it.”

6. Grimes

Claire Boucher, better known as Grimes, is a Canadian musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer. It received numerous nominations and awards, such as Electronic Album of the Year at the 2013 Juno Awards.

In 2012, she canceled several Canadian shows as well as all of her booked show dates in Europe due to her hearing problems.

She suffers from tinnitus and wrote on Twitter that sometimes the tinnitus in her ears is so loud that she can’t sleep.

She tweeted, “I have a hearing problem and I’m supposed to limit my exposure to loud noises for as long as possible.”

She revealed that she had suffered from hearing loss as a result of attending concerts. During a concert by Animal Collective, she recalls: “I’ve had permanent hearing loss from that show! I’ve been struggling with drug use and my ears pressed against speakers and so the next day I couldn’t hear for about two days, and I have a sharp pain in my ear now.” “.

7. Ayumi Hamasaki

Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki has sold over 60 million records, making her the best-selling Japanese solo artist of all time. She is also a producer, actress, model, spokesperson, and entrepreneur.

Her hearing problems started in 2000 when she developed an ear infection but she continued to act against her doctor’s advice. He warned that she needs to moderate her exposure to loud noises until her ear infection has healed.

In 2008, Hamasaki announced that Ménière’s disease had caused complete deafness in her left ear. Ménière’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes episodes of vertigo, tinnitus and hearing loss.

In 2017, she wrote that she had lost hearing in her right ear and had experienced severe dizziness and nausea.

“I couldn’t For walking in a straight line, he often vomited in the restroom at the training studio… I just remember wondering how I, as a singer, could deal with useless ears. Other than that, I was in the dark.”

It appears that Hamasaki has not heeded the many warnings for years to avoid loud noises and slow down her flight schedule.

8. Neil Young (1945-)

The famous Canadian-American singer, songwriter, musician, and activist Neil Young began his music career in Canada in the 1960s.

He released several critically acclaimed albums and received several Grammy and Juno Awards with The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame being entered twice.

But despite his success, Young has suffered from tinnitus since the early 1990s. It started in 1991 after he and the band Crazy Horse released a live music album called welding.

While mixing the album, Young said it affected his hearing. “That’s why I really regret it,” he said. “You hurt my ears, and they’ll never be the same again.”

His hearing loss changed his creative path towards the gentle sounds of his album Harvest Moon.

“I have made Harvest Moon Because I didn’t want to hear any loud noises. I still have a little buzz, but fortunately now I’m not as sensitive to loud sounds as I have been for a year after mixing welding,” he said. “My hearing isn’t perfect, but it’s okay.”

Young also began using ear monitors (IEMs) to deal with tinnitus.

They are specialized earphones that are fed with sound through an audio mixing board at a concert or in the studio.

9. Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne

John “Ozzy” Osbourne has had a long, successful and eventful career as an English singer, songwriter, and television personality.

He became a star in the 1970s as the lead singer of the metal band Black Sabbath.

Osborne’s rock concerts exceeded 120 decibels and lasted more than two hours. Compare that to everyday conversations, which are at about 60 decibels. A safe noise level is 70 decibels, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Without any hearing protection, Osborne was exposed to high levels of noise. As a result, he suffers from tinnitus and partial deafness.

“It’s like this Gosh !! Noises in my head the whole time.”

Osborne now advocates for people to experience music “responsibly.” He talks about his own experiences and raising funds for the Starkey Hearing Foundation.

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