Saturday, August 18, 2007

Musicians and hearing loss

...she goes on to say, just after complaining that her Ipod isn't loud enough. As the proud owner of a hearing aid myself I was astonished to notice just how many people in Dartington also had them; from my age and up, I hasten to add.

Some evenings at dinner we had quite bizarre conversations since some of the nicest people were also the deafest; like when around a table of 5 we would have 5 hearing aids between 3 people. Particularly when the two guys with four aids between them were talking to each other, things could become difficult. But mostly it was due to background noise - one late night I walked down the road with one of them (three aids between us, though I might not have been wearing mine), and we had a perfectly normal conversation, with not a word repeated.

One of the deaf guys, a cellist, has the experience that his ability to hear intervals has changed. In a cello that's a problem. In a piano it would be less so for the audience, but perhaps for the pianist. Apparently some composers have suffered from this kind of deafness, too, for example Faure. This might explain some of his intervals. The cello teacher giving the masterclass suggested to our colleague to tune his instrument to his own hearing. Wouldn't do much good in a string quartet!

The great thing was, though, that all these hard of hearing folk still enjoyed their music and coming to the course, and they fully participated in everything. That's fantastic!