What a Deaf Woman can Teach you about Music

So I've been hanging out at a friend's loft in downtown LA lately. One of the room-mates is Dana King (see title pic). Dana is totally deaf. She lip reads. She's adapted to the world around her by usi  

So I've been hanging out at a friend's loft in downtown LA lately.

One of the room-mates is Dana King (see title pic). Dana is totally deaf. She lip reads. She's adapted to the world around her by using her hands. She makes beautiful custom jewelry.

There was a roaring party going on in the loft, the DJ was belting out some floor fillers, and the place was packed.  Dana was showing me some of the jewelry she made.

Being the nosy guy that I am, I of course had to go and ask her what its like to be deaf.

It was one of those really genuinely curious questions. Considering the role hearing plays in my life, I simply couldn't fathom not being able to hear.  In fact, my hearing has always been so sensitive I have to wear earplugs at movies.

She had several answers. For one, you can only read one pair of lips at a time. So there's a sense of isolation when it comes to the cocktail party. She likes socializing one person at a time.

Her next statement though really surprised me.

She danced a little bit to the track that was playing downstairs and said:
"but I really love music!!"
"But... You're deaf. "

"I feel it. " She said.

Now, I've said a million times, "I'm really feeling this track." What I mean is, I hear a great track and it stirs emotions in me. What she means is, when loud music plays, she physically feels the drum hits and the bass as vibrations.

I pull all music in through my ears. It's what I do. Somewhere along the way I'd forgotten the feel of my chest rumbling in the wash of a bass bin. In all the tracks, all the working with friends producing songs, and all the mixing, I have so completely focused on the hearing part, I had forgotten to check what was reaching my body.

I put my hand on the wall and shut my ears off and just felt the music, like she does. And there it was. The vibrating rhythms, the punch of the kick drum, the playfulness of sensation.

Of course she loves music. Music plays to the touch as much as it plays to the ear. How stupid of me to think that music belonged to those with hearing. How silly for me to focus so heavily on only one aspect of it. I knew this, and had forgotten this.

Even plants grow better when you play them music.  Plants don't have ears, but they feel it. And not only do they feel it, they like classical music better than rock in the study I read.

I'm really glad I asked her, and I'm really glad she shared. It's why I chose music so long ago. I study it and study it, and there are always surprises around every corner.

As I picked my tracks for Coachella, I took pause, and made sure to crank the tracks a bit and feel them out, as well as listen to them. There's Key matching for the ears, but there's also rumble matching for the body.

Dj Wolfie headlines parties from coast to coast, both in main stream venues and the underground circuit. In 2008 he's played at Coachella Music Festival on the bill with Prince and Roger Waters, The Optimus Alive festival in Portugal with Rage against the machine, Bob Dlan, and Neil Young, The All Points West Festival in New York with ... Read More


whoa, that's really cool! I find it amazing how the body can over-compensate in one area for a deficiency in another. Props to Dana for not letting it slow her down!!! I hope she realizes how much she inspires :-)
thats why rusko and excision fire up their bass cannons haha
Nice article DJ Wolfie :-)

It's amazing to consider that sound/frequency has such an impact on our bodies - not just through our ears - but through our entire bodies... our nervous systems.

There's a lot of research out there into "Sound Healing" and the way different sounds can influence our mood, organs, etc. In fact one of the most fascinating books I've come across is by Dr. Masaru Emoto - "Hidden Messages in Water".

It's a study of how different types of music alters the crystalline structure of frozen water. It's all photographs - extremely beautiful!
Victor Mason
EXCELLENT, GOOD WORK, great article and very stirring.
Thank you for the kind comments, everyone.

sound- and color actually both deeply tap into emotions. They have a wonderful way of simply slipping past the logic circuits, and go straight to the body.

I was shown a technique once where I stare at one color on a color chart, and talk about an upsetting subject. then, I stare at another color, and talk about the same subject.

As I moved through staring at different colors, it was wild to see how differently my emotions changed as I talked.

It was as if the colors nudged my emotions around the topic at hand.

I have no idea why that is, but simply noticed how pronounced the effect was. When staring at purple, my conversation was "I underdstand why this is a challenge, where I can grow from this..."

When staring at red it was "I hate it when that happens! Grrr! What a Stupid thing!"

It was really kind of amusing.
To add to Wolfie's comment, "Feel the Sound, Touch the Sound"

Want to join the discussion?

Create an account or login to get started!