This is a bit of an experiment. One of the obstacles to creating music for me over the last few years has been the gradual, but fairly rapid loss of my hearing. Much of the high frequency has gone and the mid range is much reduced. I have hearing aids now that have improved my life enormously – I can hear conversations and bird song again, and the telly is mostly okay, BUT, making music is much harder.
When I am writing, for my comfort I don’t wear the aids – everything sounds muddy like at the bottom of a swimming pool but I’m pulling ideas together so that’s not so important. When I am starting to polish the production I need to wear the aids to hear all the instruments but it does sound like a jangly mess. I then have to compare my jangly mess to the jangly messes of established artists and see if the sound is similar in its jangliness. Then I ask Caerthan to listen to rough mixes and get him to pick the ‘best’ one.
That process seems to work and the songs are listenable. But NOT TO ME! And I actually do need to hear the songs I create. I have thought about packing it all in, but there’s something really wrong about that, so Music for the Hard of Hearing is the next step. It’s actually music for me, but I am interested to see if it works for others with hearing loss.
Basically, I am remixing the songs so that they sound good to my damaged ears WITHOUT hearing aids. That means seriously boosting the high frequencies, and cutting back on some of the bass. I have given the treatment to two songs so far Cherry Blossom and Hedgerow in Wales, and for me it has made a world of difference. I can actually enjoy my own songs again! Now … whether they will make any sense to anybody else with hearing loss is the big question. It may be that our individual ear problems are too different, but then again, maybe not. So I’m putting them out there. On the Music Posts for those two songs there is a ‘normal’ mix, and a ‘Hard of Hearing’ mix, which is meant to be listened to WITHOUT hearing aids.
I would be very interested in feedback from anyone about this – the songs specifically and also the concept in general. Maybe this has all been done before and someone can offer me pointers, or maybe this is a new thing – I just don’t know, but it costs me nothing to put my HH mixes on the web so theres no harm (that I can see) in asking.
I would struggle in my daily life without hearing aids now, but listening to music without them is definitely a more satisfying experience!