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BBC Documentary: Can deaf people appreciate music?

eloise garland phonak hearing aids

Deaf people understand and appreciate music? If so, how? 

That’s the topic of the BBC Radio 4 documentary, ‘The Art of Living: Listening Without Ears’, which stars Phonak hEARo and HearingLikeMe.com writer Eloise Garland. 

The documentary, which airs tomorrow, Dec. 12, follows Eloise to the Brussels Kunstenfestivaldesarts where she attends ‘WITHIN’ – a unique project by sound artist and musician, Tarek Atoui. His performance features a number of experimental ‘instruments’ designed to be accessible to all performers and listeners – including those who are Deaf.

During the show, Eloise meets three Deaf first-time ‘musicians’ at the event, each with different backgrounds and experiences with music – and each with different levels of interest in the sound they are creating. 

The documentary also follows other people who are Deaf and/or are experts in the field, according to Eloise.

A Deaf eight-year-old violinist named Harry is featured, as well as Bryony Parkes from the National Deaf Children’s Society’s ‘Raising the Bar’ project.

“This really has been a great opportunity for me as a Deaf musician to explore this topic with other people, Deaf and hearing, from around the world and to create something that will hopefully raise more awareness particularly amongst the hearing population,” says Eloise. “I want people to know that D/deaf  individuals can do anything they put their mind to – be it music or anything else – and that this is achieved not necessarily through the stereotypes that exist.”

“I want people to know that D/deaf  individuals can do anything they put their mind to – be it music or anything else – and that this is achieved not necessarily through the stereotypes that exist.”

Eloise wears Phonak hearing aids and regularly shares stories of her hearing loss journey on Instagram. She was also featured in a Phonak video in 2014. 

The programme is due to for broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday the 12th of December at 11:30 a.m., with a repeat the following Saturday the 16th at 3:30 p.m.  A fully subtitled version will be available via the BBC Radio 4 website just after broadcast.

Eloise will also appear on Radio 4’s ‘Seriously…’ podcast next week to talk about the making of the programme.

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The HearingLikeMe editorial team includes Jill von Bueren, Kirsten Brackett and Lisa Goldstein.
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The HearingLikeMe editorial team includes Jill von Bueren, Kirsten Brackett and Lisa Goldstein.