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Deaf From Birth Man Hears Music For The First Time

Written by Greg Moskovitch on February 5, 2014

23-year-old filmmaker Austin Chapman struggled with deafness from birth until receiving a new set of hearing aids one year ago, which allowed him to hear his friends’ voices for the first time as well as music, with artists including Mozart, Bob Marley, and Radiohead quickly becoming his favourite.

“Before I could see some shapes and colours, but now I’m seeing every detail and layer. It’s like I’m going from one or two colours to this fully 3D world,” Chapman told Noisey of life before the new hearing aids, which he said turned all sound into low-end “Garbled trash” with “zero clarity.”

The first piece of music that Chapman heard was Mozart’s Lacrimosa. “I was carried away by the first half and thought about how beautiful the weaved notes sounded,” he said, adding, “It was exactly like the Bob Marley quote, ‘When it hits you, you feel no pain’ …sort of like my first kiss.”

Hungry for more, Chapman took to reddit and started a thread titled, “I can hear music for the first time ever, what should I listen to?” Helpful users offered suggestions ranging from Ennio Morricone‘s Ecstasy of Gold to Jimi Hendrix, Frank Sinatra, Brahms, and Aerosmith.

“I finished all the top upvotes,” said Chapman. “Right now I’m still going through my personal message recommendations.” While he’s already compiled a list of favourites, Chapman says the worst suggestions were Justin Bieber, Call Me Maybe, and What Does The Fox Say.

“It’s personal taste but [the songs] I like they’re really harmonious and melodic. The bad ones are loud and over exposed. It’s not entirely their fault but I stopped listening to radio a long time ago because of repeated songs. I love originality. Nothing sounds like Bohemian Rhapsody,” he said.

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