As someone who is deaf, I’ve heard (pun) my fair share of ridiculous statements about deaf people. One of them that keeps coming up, deaf people cannot enjoy music. As a music lover myself, I am here to set the record straight: deaf people CAN enjoy music.
Music is not just an auditory experience, it is a multi-sensory one. It involves not only hearing but also feeling vibrations, seeing visuals, and experiencing emotions. This means that even though a person may not hear music in the traditional sense, they can still enjoy it in other ways.
Music can be felt
Vibrations are an important part of the musical experience. This is why people enjoy going to concerts or clubs with loud bass music. The vibrations from the speakers are felt throughout the body, creating a physical and emotional response. Deaf people can enjoy this same experience, using devices such as bass-enhancing headphones, vests, or chairs to feel the music. Personally, I prefer a simple balloon and you will never find me at a concert without one.
Music can be seen
Music is often accompanied by visuals such as music videos or live performances. These visuals can help convey the emotions and meaning behind the music. Another way that people can experience music is through sign language performances or interpretation.
If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out the viral sign language performance by deaf performer Justina Miles for Rihanna’s halftime show at the Super Bowl this year.
Music can be heard
It is also important to note that not all deaf people are completely unable to hear. Many deaf people have some level of residual hearing, which means they can still hear some sounds, even if they cannot hear music in its entirety. With the help of hearing aids or cochlear implants, these individuals may be able to pick up on certain aspects of music, such as the rhythm.
Ultimately, the idea that deaf people can’t enjoy music is a ridiculous and harmful stereotype. It ignores the fact that music is a multi-sensory experience and that deaf people can still enjoy it in many different ways.
If you’re a business that provides music events or exhibits that incorporate sound, it is important to recognize and celebrate the diversity of experiences and abilities within the deaf community, including their ability to appreciate and enjoy music. If you are unsure if you are providing a deaf-friendly experience for your customers, reach out and let’s chat.