Learning to sing while H-I.

Hi! I’m not deaf, but have been hearing-impaired most of my life. I just saw a post on Tumblr about a young lady who is deaf who got “the golden buzzer” and wanted to talk a little about the challenges of singing with a hearing impairment.

Now this young lady had had hearing. She had learned to sing as a hearing person. This is important. Her method is different from mine in some ways.

I grew up with a sense of vibration, I grew up mainstreamed, before closed captioning. I did a lot of lipreading. I always loved musicals, Sesame Street, etc. I didn’t like rock so much because, I suspect, of the way it amplified in my hearingaids.

We sang a lot at school, but it was the kind of thing that..it was group singing, not individual.

Now here’s a tidbit. People who wear hearingaids from an early age often have trouble controlling their pitch. I suspect it is because things are amplified oddly.

When I took voice lessons, as an adult, I realized that part of my problem was that I was trying to “lipread” the piano. So we worked on centering myself using the vibrations from the music, I would close my eyes and recenter when I caught myself trying to lipread things that didn’t have lips.

In the church choir I was in at the time, I would take my shoes off for rehearsal, stand next to the piano, put a hand on it occasionally.

I started getting muscle memory for the right notes, closing my eyes, listening. I started trying to sing with one aid in, no aids in, varying it so that I could figure out how it felt and how the notes sounded. (Beause the trouble with being battery-operated it that the batteries usually die when you are onstage)

It actually helped my speech as well. I still have trouble knowing how loud I am at any time…. and I’m still very visual (not having the hearing cues, necessarily)

But with this young lady, she already had the knowledge of how to sing. She just needed to translate what she already knew to be interpreted through vibration. I’m not making light of this, but they are two very different processes. She needed the visual cues, but I needed to adapt and retrain myself from being SO visual.