Daily Archives: September 14, 2012
A 23-year-old film maker self-described “born profoundly deaf” was recently given the means to hear music for the first time.
Austin Chapman could only previously hear pitches and tones of sound, until he was given new hearing aids which enabled him to finally comprehend music. Now he’s on a quest to re-learn his surroundings and listen to the songs he’s been unable to understand until now.
“I’ve never understood it,” Chapman says. “My whole life I’ve seen hearing people make a fool of themselves singing their favorite song or gyrating on the dance floor. I’ve also seen hearing people moved to tears by a single song. That was the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around.” Thanks to his new Phonak’s Naida S Premium hearing aid, he finally can.
“The first thing I heard was my shoe scraping across the carpet; it startled me. I have never heard that before and out of ignorance, I assumed it was too quiet for anyone to hear,” Chapman says in a blog post. “I sat in the doctor’s office frozen as a cacophony of sounds attacked me. The whir of the computer, the hum of the AC, the clacking of the keyboard, and when my best friend walked in I couldn’t believe that he had a slight rasp to his voice.”
He continued the story, mentioning how his friends enlightened him on the music he’s missed out on. “A group of close friends jump-started my musical education by playing Mozart, Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Elvis, and several other popular legends of music. Being able to hear the music for the first time ever was unreal.”
Chapman soon turned to Reddit to document his achievement and take requests for songs to listen to, and was met with a plethora of responses. He was soon given a free six-month Spotify membership, in order to give him a chance to get his head around generations of sonic creations.
Whilst getting to grips with the different genres, he’s come to take a liking to Classical. Mozart’s “Lacrimosa” came on, I was blown away by the beauty of it. At one point of the song, it sounded like angels singing and I suddenly realized that this was the first time I was able to appreciate music. Tears rolled down my face and I tried to hide it.
He did, however, mention that Country music isn’t at the top of his priority list. “It’s very heavy on vocals and since I can’t clearly understand the words, the story is lost on me,” he says. “Instead it just sounds like a man or woman crying for a couple minutes.”