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Being deaf doesn’t mean you don’t care about music



Toy’s London show is a breakthrough for hearing-impaired fans – it will be captioned. Why can’t more gigs cater for fans whose love of music hasn’t been stopped by deafness?

Tuesday March 24
Lee Walker

I was born in the middle of the 70s into a family and world swirling with music. One of my earliest memories is sitting cross-legged in awe of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 video on Top of the Pops, trying to decide whether I liked tomato ketchup more than brown sauce (I still haven’t decided). Fast-forward a few years, to the middle of the 80s, and everything was suddenly silenced. An attack of meningitis left me with permanent hearing loss. When I emerged from a coma, the first words to my mother were: “Tell me later mum, I can’t hear you.”

Coming to terms with my hearing loss was hard and frustrating. Learning to lipread enabled me to communicate with the so-called mainstream world and helped build my confidence and independence. I didn’t learn to sign, but I never gave up on music - religiously buying Smash Hits for the lyrics and watching Top of the Pops with the Teletext subtitles turned on.

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