Will You Help This Deaf Person Pick Out Some New Music? ;-)

I was originally going to blog about how deaf people can enjoy music, but will put that on hold (just like several other posts that are currently on hold). To make a long story short…I enjoy music, but in a different way.

I can hear music with my hearing aids but I would guess that I get maybe 25-50% of the beat that every one else hears. I have spent the last 3 years in graduate school and have gotten very behind on music. I don’t like listening to the radio because I will always find a song that I really like then it will bother me for days afterwards because I have no idea what it was. Once I find a song that I like, I tend to listen to it over and over (many deaf people do this). It takes time and work to learn how to listen to a song.

Usually I have watched the music video and I can figure out some of the beats from watching the video. Also, because after a while I can sometimes make out a few words here and there. I cannot make these words out at all without reading the lyrics beforehand or watching music videos with close-captioning.

So, I’m going to give you a few examples of what I like and what I can pick out. Sometimes if I can pick out one word that repeats itself over and over in a song…I can memorize the lyrics and with practice I can follow the whole song even if I can only recognize one repeated word…using it as a clue as to if my timing is off or not.

Generally in the past, boy bands (yes, I’m admitting that I like boy bands) were the easiest for me to follow if I learned the lyrics. I also enjoy rap because of the beat…now I don’t even bother trying to follow the lyrics, it’s all about the beat.

So, here are a few examples of what I can pick out in songs after practice and what sort of beat that I enjoy. I’m asking for your help to broaden my music selection and thought maybe one of you would have some suggestion as to some new songs that I may enjoy. I realize that a lot of these songs are old but when I find a song that I can enjoy…I’m going to enjoy it for as long as I can (once again, not that uncommon among deaf people…it’s common to find a 10 year old CD in our cars)! They’re also from my good ol‘ high school days when I actually watched music videos on MTV.

My personal experience with hearing people and music is that they oftentimes judge people based upon what type of music they like. Remember, what I hear with my hearing aids is completely different from what you hear.

The quoted words are what I can pick out. Most of them have vowels in them that seem to be dragged out by the singers or they break it into longer syllables. The letters in each word that is in bold red is what I’m actually picking out (with my hearing aids of course). A lot of times the words just get so lost in the beats.

Backstreet Boys (I can only follow maybe 25% of the beat, but can pick out a few words here and there . Their lyrics are pretty easy to memorize, and I used to try to memorize and sign their songs in high school)
–I Want It That Way: “I Want” “Fire” “Desire
–Shape of My Heart: “oohConfessions

–Bye, Bye, Bye: “Bye, Bye, Bye
–It’s Gonna Be Me: Gonna” “Me
–This I Promise You: “I” “Give” “You” “Word” “Heart” “My” “Forever” before
–Pop: the beat
–Girlfriend: “Girlfriend

Justin Timberlake (My all time favorite because I love his beats, I can also sometimes pick out when he’s saying a word that has the vowels emphasized…but cannot tell what the words are)
–Senorita: “oh” and the beat
SexyBack: Love the beat to this one
–Rock Your Body: Once again, the beat

–Get This Party Started: On a good day I can pick out “party started” but I mostly just love the beat at the very end of the song.

Sean Paul (This one seems to surprise people for some reason)
–Gimme The Light: “flodro” “know” (this is probably the easiest song for me to pick out words)

Jennifer Lopez
–I’m Real: “I‘m Real” Love the beat at the end of this song too
–Jenny From The Block: The beat

Other (beats only)
–Kayne West (Golddigger and Break Ya Neck)
–Will Smith (MIB and Switch)
–Mary Blige
–The showcase final song in Step Up

Other (vocals)
–Gloria Estefan’s (with NSync) Music of My Heart
–Celine Dion‘s (with NSync) That’s The Way It Is

So, I think I’ve basically figured out why I can pick out some words after reading the lyrics (vowels). However, I need your help in figuring out if there’s any similarities in the beat that I tend to like? Are they similar in any way or completely different (similar instruments, similar type of beat, etc)? Obviously, I’m not aware of the broad spectrum of music. Also, any suggestions for songs that I could try out? 😉

Maybe this will also give you an idea of what I can hear with my hearing aids. It may not seem like much to those of you who can hear, but remember I’m profoundly deaf…and I don’t know what it sounds like any other way 😉 You can’t miss what you never had.

CI users: I’m curious as to how music sound to you? I know this varies between people but am curious anyways!

3 thoughts on “Will You Help This Deaf Person Pick Out Some New Music? ;-)

  1. I have trouble making out the lyrics and only after seriously following the music along with the lyrics on display would I actually be able to sing along after hours of practicing. So I do have a tendency to focus on a phrase I like in a song. Like in one of my favorites…”This Ain’t the Scene, but an Arm Race” played by Fallout Boy. It’s a rock band and their beats are good and the vocals are kinda easy to follow. There are some of my favorite lines in the song and I could easily pick them up after listening to it a few times. As a CI user, I think I would say I could hear the song in its entirety…the drumbeats, guitar, and the vocals. It’s kinda like having a MP3 player plugged directly into your brain or something. (Actually, there’s a special wire to connect a cd or mp3 player directly to the CI speech processor). Anyway, I like rock and indie bands so whenever I hear about a good band in that field, I go check it out soon. 🙂

  2. It takes a lot of guts to list musical tastes on a public forum. You know what they say about opinions, musical taste, and butt holes? Everyone has them and they all stink.I don't really listen to the same music you do but here are some suggestions from my 7500 song library.Radiohead – Anything from Kid A/Amnesiac/In Rainbows. Kid A is great and beats are pretty solid. It's more electronic than a rock band. The first two songs on In Rainbows will blow your mind. I can't recommend them enough. When I listen to Kid A I usually end up thinking this is what the crazy-insane must have on a loop in their head when they stare at a wall.Gorillaz – Sort of a blend of hip-hop and rock. The guy who put it together was in Blur. I have few singles and they are almost dance tracks.The Ting Tings – Very poppy sounding. I just picked up two songs on iTunes (That's Not My Name & Shut Up and Let Me Go). It's closer to the musical style you described.

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