Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Exploring musical appreciation with hearing loss

Andy Hopkinson | 21st February 2020

As we know only too well here at Meningitis Now, one of the frequent after-effects of meningitis is loss of hearing

Concert for people with hearing loss after meningitis

It is often presumed that you need good hearing to appreciate music.

But, a concert coming up at the end of this month will aim to challenge this and demonstrate that the realities can be very different.

The concert, called MuSci: Hear, is part of a series of concerts in the Winter/Spring programme at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in East London.

How people hear music

This one is presented by Professor John Irving, and will explore how people literally ‘hear’ music.

What faculties might compensate if hearing is impaired? Does hearing loss change the way we ‘feel’ music? Can we gain a full appreciation of all that music can offer if we are profoundly deaf?

These are some of the questions that Professor Irving and three ENT consultants, Kay Seymour, Max Whittaker and Mike Wareing, will consider at the concert, which takes place at The Neuron Pod, Centre of the Cell, Blizard Building, Whitechapel, London E1 2AT on Wednesday 26 February, starting at 7pm.

They will also be joined by former QMUL student, Atalanta Hersey, who is a fine musician who is severely deaf.

Clavichord music

Following this, there will be the chance to hear music by J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, performed on the quietest of all keyboard instruments, the ancient and haunting clavichord.

The question is, having had any preconceptions challenged, will the audience appreciate the music?

As Professor Irving asks: “How will our ears adapt as our eyes might in darkness?"

The MuSci series at QMUL combine Music and Science. Full details are here. Tickets are £10 (£3 students) although discounts are available via the QMUL mailing list.