Does hearing loss prevent you from being able to play music?

music with hearing impairment

We’re told that we need all five senses to enjoy the world – but what happens when you have a hearing impairment?

It isn’t surprising to figure that most people associate music with auditory senses. In simple words – you need to have good hearing to enjoy music. But is that really the case?

Suffering from a hearing impairment can feel like a blow to your senses – especially if you enjoy playing music. To ease your mind, we have some excellent news. No! Hearing loss will not prevent you from playing music.

In reality, musicians are often at risk of noise-induced hearing loss due to their constant exposure to loud decibels. However, this shouldn’t prevent you from continuing the journey to discover music.

Here’s all you need to know about hearing loss and the ability to continue playing music.

Does Hearing Loss Prevent You From Playing Music?

People suffering from hearing loss often imagine not being able to play or listen to music again. They tend to shy away from music, thinking that it won’t sound the way they remember it.

Before you put your favourite musical instrument in stow, let us tell you how this is nothing more than an old-time myth.

Signs You May Be Suffering A Hearing Impairment

Do you suspect your hearing is beginning to suffer? Well, you’re not alone. Lots of people, especially musicians, report hearing losses of varying degrees. Here are a few symptoms you should look out for.

  1. Speech & Sound Seem Muffled

The first signs of hearing loss show up in everyday life, rather than when you’re trying to enjoy music. You might observe everyday sounds such as speech or sounds from your surrounding seeming muffled.

  1. Difficulty Understanding Speech Over The Phone

When having conversations over the phone in public or a noisy setting, it can seem natural to hear muffled voices rather than clear ones. However, if you suddenly find it difficult to follow conversations over the phone (even in quiet settings), you may be having issues with your hearing.

  1. Turning Up The Volume

Do you find yourself turning up the volume on your headphones, the television or the radio more often than usual? Or maybe people around you have observed that you’re turning the volume up higher than usual. It may be a sign of sudden hearing loss.

How Does Hearing Loss Occur?

Like many medical conditions, hearing loss can occur due to a variety of reasons. For musicians, however, this condition occurs more commonly due to prolonged exposure to high volumes. That being said, there are a few other factors that may contribute to hearing loss.

  • Injuries to the ear
  • Genetics
  • An individual’s susceptibility to noise
  • Toluene and other organic liquid chemicals
  • Medication
  • Chronic conditions (like diabetes and high blood pressure)

Can You Play Music After Suffering From Hearing Loss?

Yes! You can continue to play and enjoy music, even after suffering from hearing loss. Musician Stu Nunnery suffered the same fate in 1978 when he suddenly discovered that he had severe hearing loss in one ear.

Initially, he felt desolate about the situation and spent about 30 years of his life without music. However, he found his way back to his piano and singing when he discovered hearing aids.

Man standing by train tracks with foot on guitar

A similar story is that of Rick Ledbetter, a professional bass player. In 1989, during a recording session, an engineer observed that Rick had the volume of his headphones very high. He suggested that Rick get his hearing tested, which he did.

Rick described grimly how his worst nightmare came true – he was increasingly losing his ability to hear. Following everyday conversations became a chore, and he was losing hope ever to be able to play the bass again.

Thanks to modern technology and advancements in hearing aid technology, Rick was able to programme his own hearing aids. These were designed to help him hear better, and the increased ability to hear also brought back his confidence – and he was soon back on stage.

What Do You Do If You Are Suffering From Hearing Loss?

It is imperative to visit an audiologist at the earliest. Communication is key, and you must describe your condition in detail to your doctor. The modern marvels of medicine and technology have made it possible to wear discreet hearing aids that are guaranteed to improve your quality of life.

Leading A Normal Life With Hearing Loss

Dealing with hearing loss is not easy! However, it doesn’t mean you need to give up on music.

With the right tools and guidance, it is possible to lead a normal life even if you have a hearing impairment. This is especially true for musicians, who are more likely to suffer from this condition.

So, don’t let your hearing condition stop you from playing music. Keep playing!

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