Deaf people do not live in a silent world without sound, as is often assumed. Music is present in everyone’s life and is enjoyed by all, no matter how they hear it. For some, the sound, tune and lyrics vary in volume and clarity, but rhythm pervades whether it is heard or felt (vibration or change in tempo).
Exposure To Music Benefits Speech Perception
Music is appreciated by both deaf and hard of hearing people, with research showing its advantages. Educational benefits of music to deaf children are known, with vital language skills like speech perception learned through the medium of music.
Many deaf children enjoy music at school, ‘hearing’ it via multiple parts of the body. The children learn to link music to noise, and to understand how noise is created. This way, the children gain insights to communication and verbal skills, such as the rhythm of word-production in a spoken sentence.
While the role of music in deaf children’s lives may seem basic, many deaf children excel at music and are far better musicians than some of their ‘hearing’ peers.
Music Degrees Are Viable At University Level
The ‘Daily Mail’ newspaper recently ran the story of Aimee-Louise Paddock, an 18 year old girl from Norfolk, England. Aimee can play five different instruments to a high level, even being profoundly deaf, and aims to start a university-level music degree after finishing secondary school.
She also hopes to have bilateral cochlear implants to give her more sound. Aimee’s story shows how prominent music can be in a deaf person’s life and also raises the point of implants. While they are not for everyone, suitable candidates can hear rhythm and pick up some words and/or musical notes.
Deaf and hard of hearing people may not listen to music in the same way as other people but music still has an important role in their lives. With greater research and study into the area of ‘music and education’, there is no doubt music will underpin formal and non-formal education more in the future.
(compiled by Nicola Fox)
- Music Therapy for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children
- Interview With A Researcher Into Music Teaching
- Web Systems Inspire Deaf Kids To Learn To Dance
- Subwoofers Give Access To Dance, Art, PC Games