Ask any DJ what is the most important tool in their arsenal. Chances are they will choose their hearing. Our hearing is what helps us experience the music we love and our hearing is what we rely on to develop ourselves as artists. Nowadays, innovation protects DJs from hearing loss but what about people that were born without the ability or only partial ability to hear? And what about DJs that have experienced hearing loss throughout their career? Does hearing loss mean you can’t be a DJ? Keep reading to see how a bunch of Teenz will answer this question.
ABOUT THE EAR FOUNDATION
The Ear Foundation is a Nottingham based charity supporting children and adults with hearing loss, their families and professionals. The charity provides support with today’s exciting hearing technologies, such as cochlear implants, hearing aids and bone conducting hearing implants, that allow them to access sound and spoken language. It bridges the gap between clinic-based services and home, school, and work where these aids are used in daily life.
As part of the many services that the charity provides, they organise events for all ages through the Family Programme. This programme focuses on social activities for children and adults with hearing loss, and their families, providing a place for them to get together. One of the activity groups engages Teenz, giving them an opportunity to meet peers; make friendships, communicate and experience how others are managing their hearing technologies in a fun and friendly environment.
On Saturday October 1st 2016, The Ear Foundation hosted a Teenz event in collaboration with AKSO. The event included tutorial sessions, where the young people were introduced to DJ culture and history, commonly used equipment and basic mixing techniques, such as cueing, music structure and counting. In addition, they had the opportunity to gain some hands-on DJ experience by practicing their own short mixes and record them on AKSO’s personal setup. He says:
“I know how much technology has helped the development of the DJ scene, and it was remarkable to see how it helps people overcome their hearing loss. DJing is about listening and reacting to the music and it was inspiring to see that all of the young people were able to jump right in and express their own ideas through their mixes.”
The young people expressed great interest and enthusiasm throughout the sessions. Their hearing technologies allowed them to experience the music that could be heard from within the room. This contributed to a great and friendly atmosphere of head nodding, finger snapping and feet tapping!
Clare Allen, Teenz Programme Lead, said about the day:
“The broad smiles and way in which they stood up tall was an absolute joy to see. I asked one teenager, who is often quiet due to her additional communication difficulties, how she had got on. She beamed broadly and said ‘Fantastic’. She then said ‘I loved it, I got it all. It’s complicated but it’s my thing, I understood it all’. This is a young person who had grown in confidence in front of my eyes. These are the glimpses of working with children with disabilities which keep you going and inspire you to do future events.”
In summary, hearing loss does not mean that you can’t DJ, so don’ t be afraid to try it if you are passionate about it!