Music Therapy and Profound Deafness
Hearing impairment, deafness, or hearing loss refers to the inability to hear things, either totally or partially.
Symptoms may be mild, moderate, severe or profound. A patient with mild hearing impairment may have problems understanding speech, especially if there is a lot of noise around, while those with moderate deafness may need a hearing aid. Some people are severely deaf and depend on lip-reading when communicating with others.
People who are profoundly deaf can hear nothing at all. In order to communicate spontaneously and rapidly with people, they are totally reliant on lip-reading and/or sign language. People who are born deaf find lip-reading much harder to learn compared to those who became hearing impaired after their had learnt to communicate orally (with sounds).
There are many levels of deafness and while profound deafness may present many challenges with audible communication it does not negate the potential for the vibrational qualities of musical instruments to provide a means of communication and expression. Musical instruments can be a incredibly active source of vibration, (for example acoustic guitar tops and many percussion instruments). Music therapy is all about communication between people and although conventionally this is done with the audible and music in this instance the same instruments are used in a specific way to support clients living with profound deafness.