Arts & Culture

Review: Lost and Sound

Sunday 2 September
Review: Lost and Sound

Lizzie Ward - September 02 at 09:00

As a deaf person who has grown up with a love of music, I was intrigued when I was asked to go along to a preview of a new film, Lost and Sound, a documentary exploring the lives of three deaf people and their relationship with music

The film interweaves the stories of Holly, a young pianist who lost her hearing as a baby, Nick, a partially deaf music critic who experienced sudden partial hearing loss, and Emily, a dancer deaf since birth. Within their stories, scientists and neuroscientists explore the different ways in which humans experience music – and whether deaf people connect with music in a different way.

I found the film interesting on a number of levels. On one level, the neuroscience showed how music engages more parts of the brain than any other human activity. One scientist in particular, Professor Nigel Osborne, explained that deaf people engage with music with all their senses and that everyone, hearing or deaf, has a different way of listening. Deaf people’s senses are often heightened to compensate, and this allows us to experience music in a unique way. The human brain is always trying to adapt to new stimulation, to relearn and to remember.

I thought that Nick’s story was inspiring – having lost his hearing in one ear, he eventually found a way back to music again. Hearing his whole life, he had to relearn his favourite music. Emily showed us that music and dance go hand in hand; the joy of movement was her way into music. I could relate to how she learns a piece of music, by listening to it over and over, to remember the ins and outs of the rhythm, melody and timing. Holly, born into a family of musicians, and a talented young pianist, had a cochlear implant. We discovered how she learns to play a piece of music – with a lot of hard work, determination and a teacher unafraid to push her further.

Cochlear implants were discussed in the film – both Holly and Emily had implants – whilst Nick considered, briefly, the possibility. Since cochlear implants are not always compatible with music, it was good to see that it doesn’t have to be the end, and that it is possible to adapt. Though the film, in parts, focuses on ‘hearing’ and ‘not hearing’, I felt the overall message was to explore how all deaf people connect to music. The style of the film is haunting and the visual representations of music and sound waves are beautiful. It felt as though the style of the film was a multi-sensory experience itself.

Although the three subjects of the film were very different, I also felt that a film like this would have benefited from engaging with the Deaf community, or with deaf people, such as myself, who wear hearing aids, for more diversity. It is, however, a fantastic and celebratory exploration of how music is an essential part of many deaf people’s lives.

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