I am deaf and I pretty much live for music.
I also love dancing (and used to live for that!).
I have been asked many, many times how I can enjoy music if I can’t hear the lyrics (even with my hearing aids in), or if I can’t hear the voices with my hearing aids out. I remember this one guy being so adamant that there was NO POSSIBLE WAY that I, a deaf person, could POSSIBLY enjoy music to the great, huge extent that he did, because I couldn’t hear lyrics and it was just… laughably obtuse to me.
Like, what. You really need to hear the lyrics to enjoy music?
I don’t know.
That seems limiting to me.
What I hear when I hear music: I hear the vibrations. Or rather, I feel them. I feel the vibrations.
I physically hear the voice and I feel the emotion in the melody, but I don’t hear lyrics at all.
For me, a Chinese song is just as relevant as an English one; without an ability to understand lyrics, language doesn’t mean much to me (for the record, I love Asian power ballads! ALL OF THEM!!).
The deaf enjoy music. You do not need to have hearing in any way, shape or form to enjoy music.
You can enjoy it physically, vibrationally, emotionally.
You can enjoy music visually, in signed form.
The idea that you can only enjoy music in one form is narrow; it’s like saying that you can only enjoy art in one form. The world is bigger than that, it’s greater than that. All of us human beings are capable of relishing the pleasure that is music.
We are all also capable of opening our minds and spirits to new ways of doing things.
I want you to watch this video now that explains how DeafBlind enjoy music.
How DeafBlind Enjoy Music
I love that.
I know I enjoyed that song so much more with the visual enjoyment of ASL.
The signed language imbues a richness and depth to the song that simply isn’t there without.
Music can be more than this one-dimensional experience that the mainstream has portrayed it as being, as most people have fallen for.
It’s deep and rich and the DeafBlind enjoy it as much as all other humans, with and without hearing, with and without sight, with and without sweet dance moves, with and without a sense of rhythm!
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.