Struggles of a Partially Deaf/Blind Musician

As I am neither completely deaf nor blind, I want to clarify this is not an attempt to make fun of blind or deaf people. I have Usher’s Syndrome which is explained in an earlier post called My Vision. Before I talk about my biggest struggle, I’ll share what I have experienced.

Due to my hearing impairment, I want to say there are a few insecurities I have when it comes to music, but I’ll just share one today. What I hear is sometimes vastly different from what others hear. Not just in volume but in the range of sounds that are captured by the ear drums. If you don’t know what hearing aids actually do, I’ll tell you. If you’ve ever picked up an electric guitar that wasn’t plugged in, you can barely hear the notes, right? Well, that’s what my hearing is like without hearing aids, except it’s not the notes I don’t hear, it’s everything. When you plug an electric guitar into an amplifier, it’s louder right? That’s what hearing aids do, they amplify the sound waves it picks up.

Quick lesson in acoustics: sounds that are amplified are sometimes distorted. This means that amplification, in its own way, changes the original “tone” of the sound wave it boosts. If I’m wrong about this, please do correct me, but I’m fairly confident that this is correct. 🙂

Okay, back to the post at hand. So there are times where I wonder if what I’m creating would sound different to someone else and that, in a way, makes me anxious, because now I worry whether or not they’ll like it.

Another obstacle that I have experienced and will experience if I ever do end up performing, is my blindness. Right now, I have no night vision. With flashlights and help when needed, I can get around well. But how does this affect me as a musician? Well, musicians have to travel more if they want to get more exposure. I can’t drive which means if I were to ever tour or want to go to a city two hours away to play, I would have to find a ride. This can be hard depending on where you live. This also affects playing music with others. Where I live is NOT ideal for a band to practice. I also don’t go out too often. Mainly it’s because I don’t really have that group of friends to be with. This also means I don’t meet other musicians.

Those are just some of the experiences and challenges I do and could face in the future, but I want to share now, my biggest struggle.

Ironically, it’s writing.

“Uhh, Ry, you’re a blogger and you’re writing a book. How can writing be a struggle?”

I ask myself that everyday. Even with my book, I find myself sitting down to write for an hour or two, and literally, after two hours, it looks like this:

A cartoon picture of a piece of paper with the word "The" written on it.
Accessibility: A cartoon picture of a piece of paper with the word “The” written on it.

Writing songs is even harder for me sometimes because I’m trying so hard to make it flow perfectly, I’m trying to write the song and the music to it at the same time, and I, 90% of the time, end up tossing whatever I have spent the last hour or more working on.

I know that just writing and writing and writing will help alleviate the congestion of thoughts in my head, but what do I do when I can’t even get those thoughts straight? I still have plenty of time to write my music and record before my release date, so I’ll figure something out.

Again, writing is a struggle for everyone, I’m sorry if my title mislead you, if it did, I hope I still had something here that helped you. As I continue to grow, I may come back to this subject and actually focus on the Deaf and Blind part of being a musician. But until next time, cheers!

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