Friday, December 26, 2008

"A blank, a question mark"

At the FT, deaf-blind pianist Mark Pampel talks about performance (free site registration required):
Without my hearing aids I wouldn’t even be able to have a conversation. My current ones make the piano sound “natural”. But they are not as sophisticated as they could be and I hear harmonics and overtones that I shouldn’t hear, so I have to put a blanket behind the piano to soften the sound.

I’ve had a lot of problems with hearing aids. Once, after coming home from the audiologist with a new pair to try, I ran straight to the piano and started to play. The music programme on the hearing aids sounded odd. The top two octaves were distorted and there was a terrible booming sensation. It made me feel awful. I could feel a black cloud of depression coming on, not being able to cope. The NHS told me that most people want to hear speech, not music, so because I was in a minority they couldn’t help me.

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