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Musicians making a difference for hearing loss
A love of listening isn’t limited to those with healthy hearing. Recognising that, some artists have gone out of their way to make appreciating music easier. Aside from facilitating a better listening experience for fans suffering from hearing loss, they’re also raising awareness of the underrepresented community and promoting inclusion for music lovers of all ability levels. Here are a few of our favourite artists making moves in the space.
Chance the Rapper
At the ripe age of 24, Chance the Rapper has already made major progress in highlighting the importance of hearing awareness within the music industry. This year, he announced his decision to personally hire American Sign Language interpreters for the remainder of his Be Encouraged Tour – a first-of-its-kind move for gigs in America. Typically, those with hearing loss or deafness are left to bring their own interpreters or rely on the venue to provide one.
To differentiate the music video for their single ‘Middle of the Night’, the band did something simple yet unthinkable – featured a deaf actress struggling to communicate with her relationship partner and used sign language to emphasise impactful lyrics. Even more powerful was their decision to drop the video around Deaf Awareness Week 2017.
The Who’s famous guitarist and songwriter – who happens to suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus in both ears – supports the cause by helping to fund the nonprofit hearing advocacy group H.E.A.R. (Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers). After years of loud concerts and recording studio earphones, he believes his condition was early onset and is continually increasing. He now takes special precaution when performing and recording, such as wearing custom protective devices, and encourages others in the industry to do the same.