Deaf Man Describes Hearing Music For the First Time

This inspiring account from Austin Chapman describes how new hearing technology is "like going from one or two colors to this fully 3D world” - and he loves the Blues.

Ultimate Guitar

A man who has been deaf his whole life has walked about the amazing moment he heard music for the first time.

Austin Chapman had suffered through poor-quality hearing aids which made music sound like "garbled trash" for over 20 years, and gave up on trying to listen to music long ago. "They only allowed me to hear the low tones and also had zero clarity," he says in an interview with Noisey.

Now he's been upgraded to a brand new set based on the latest technology - and the results have been dramatic.

"Before I could see some shapes and colors, but now I’m seeing every detail and layer. It's like I’m going from one or two colors to this fully 3D world," he says of his new hearing aids.

Austin has tried listening to as many genres as possible ever since the change. His favourite music so far? Mozart's "Requiem," which he rates at 99/100.

"The ones I like they're really harmonious and melodic. The bad ones are loud and over exposed," he says. "There are a few modern bands pushing music to the next level. I just didn't expect to love classical more than any genre. So, from my point of view, music has been in a confused and downward spiral ever since classical ended."

He's partial to a bit of guitar, though, with his score for the Blue rating at 91/100 with reggae close behind at 85/100.

What songs would you play to Austin if you had a chance? Let us know in the comments and we'll try sending the top-rated suggestions to him to see what he thinks.

69 comments sorted by best / new / date

    "The bad ones are loud and over exposed" the ones everyone on UG would recommend him are exactly this
    Dark Side of the Moon of course! Objectively one of the most influential records of the past 50 years. Easy to listen to but still challenging and stimulating for your mind. I'd love to see his face when he hears "The Great Gig in the Sky" for the first time
    Introduce him to Ozzy's Blizzard of Ozz, Diary of a Madman and Alice In Chains Jar of Flies and Dirt. He will cream his jimmies so hard he'd put Dairy Queen out of business.
    Amazing choice of records there man. Had to reset my password just to login and write this.
    Don't you guys dare forget Jar of Flies, it's a masterpiece that this guy would probably love, along with the above mentioned albums.
    Ozzy's No More Tears and AIC's Facelift gets no love?
    They're good records, but for introductions, probably not good choices because No More Tears sounds way different than Rhoads.
    Blind Guardian's Wheel of Time, Hoping it will bring something new to his classical repertoire
    I'd say anything Blind Guardian would be good. Especially stuff from Tales From The Twilight World or Imaginations From The Other Side.
    Give him Pink Floyd, after that, the rest will simply follow it's course
    C. Jasper
    amen brother. He likes harmonious and melodic, put on the great gig in the sky and watch the joy overcome him.
    Chopin's ballade 4, Tchaikovsky's 1812 and Bach's toccata and Fuege. Welcome to Ultimate-Orchestra.
    Why would he want to hear old people music when there's cutting edge stuff like Skrillex out there?
    Good thing he didn't hear any modern pop, or that hearing aid would've been ripped out as soon it got in there.
    He is new to hearing, so I am guessing he hasn't graduated to Heavy Music yet... Give him "Becoming" from Pantera... If he can't enjoy a Dime screaming solo; it is up to us to teach him \m/
    Man, classical/orchestral is the tits. I love rock and metal, but orchestral or classical pieces just grab me by the balls.
    I'm not sure why anyone would bother asking what he likes. It'd be a novelty to hear notes harmonize so why bother listening to power chords with the lack of musical brilliance most modern genres have. Modern/simple music can be great, but this guy is listening to music to enjoy musical progressions, not to relate to lyrics or to have fun
    The cds that really changed it all... Dark Side of The Moon, Beatles' White Album, Black Sabbath's Master of Reality, Deep Purple In Rock, Pearl Jam's Ten, Porcupine Tree's Fear of a Blank Planet, QotSA's Like Clockwork, Tool's Lateralus... ya know, those who every man or woman on Earth have to listen at least once before passing away.
    Sidewinder by A7X
    Didn't come in here expecting any jokes. But that was pretty good...haha
    I'll also have you know, My girlfriend is deaf and had a similar problem. When I showed her that song for the first time, you could see her face glowing because she loved it so much.
    Not a huge fan of A7X, but the ending solos gave me goosebumps. People shouldn't judge a song by the band...
    Also, Majora's Mask rules.
    I personally liked "A Link to the Past", LMFAO!
    Love 'em all. If you liked A Link To The Past then check out Link's Awakening. It's the first game I ever played that made me care about the characters.
    I'll check it out. I've seen play throughs, and I have also played the oracle games. The gameplay isn't that much different looking.
    Jeff Wayne's "War Of The Worlds" also Ayreon's "01011001" - both harmonious and lyrical, with orchestration
    Nightwish, The Meters and Brad Paisley. Three different worlds, all equally amazing.
    Beethoven cut the legs off his piano so he could the vibrations of the pitches. Reading a story like Austin Chapman's makes me glad to be alive.
    Play an Arch Enemy live dvd - he won't know whether to beat off or crap himself - either way it's new underwear day.
    The Empyrean by John Frusciante. I haven't heard a more beautiful album before or since.