Roll over Beethoven

December 5, 2014

Famous artists with varying degrees of hearing loss prove that rhythm does not require sound, but rather the ability to connect to patterns.

After all, one can sense the pattern of vibrations without the awareness of sound.


Beethoven’s musical prowess and way with rhythm – proved that rhythm is not just heard, it’s in your soul. His musical genius was apparent at an early age and he is responsible for some of the greatest musical works of our time, many of which were penned when he had completely lost his hearing. The proliferation of musicians who share Beethoven’s hearing loss and yet have made a name for themselves through their musical talent proves that rhythm is ingrained in all of us and we don’t need to hear to revel in it.


Cue Mandy Harvey

As a well known jazz musician and songwriter, Mandy Harvey plays piano and uses her perfect pitch to remember how to sing the notes. Mandy “feels” the music by sensing the vibrations of the bass and rhythms. To stay on cue, Mandy uses her talent as a piano player to watch accompanist, Mark Sloniker.

In 2011 Mandy won VSA’s International Young Soloist Award and has performed several times at the Kennedy Centre in DC. She now travels as a jazz soloist and a motivational speaker.

Mandy suffered from infections that caused the gradual deterioration of her hearing leaving her almost completely deaf.


Make way for Janine Roebuck

While studying music at Manchester University, Janine’s hearing began to deteriorate. She was told , “Sing while you can, because you’ll never have a career in music.” Janine’s love of music inspired her to continue her studies despite her hearing loss. She progressed from the Royal Northern College of Music to the Paris Conservatoire and the National Opera Studio in London.

Janine did not want people to pity her and she was afraid of risking the opportunity to pursue her passion so she kept her hearing loss a secret for 10 years. Only her closest friends were privy to her secret. She hid her disability and adapted to her hearing level as it deteriorated. Over time Janine grew tired of the stress of concealing her secret and finally sought the help of hearing aids. When her secret was out she was amazed at the respect that conductors had for her because of her courage and skill. Her career continued to grow and she is now a well respected musician.


Don’t let hearing loss hold you back

Rhythm is in each and every one of us. It can be learnt and music can be enjoyed by everyone. Don’t let hearing loss hold you back from your passion.


Southern ENT would like to encourage you to take care of your hearing and speak to your doctor or audiologist if you have any concerns about your hearing  Watch Kate Alwood (6), a bilateral cochlear implant recipient, sing a Christmas carrol in our December newsletter.

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