Being deaf brings many challenges. There are so many things that a person misses, like listening to music, hearing the laughter of a child, or talking to your friends. You are more aware of what you are missing out on when you are deaf. When you are born deaf, you don’t know any other way. If something happens later in life that causes hearing loss, the diagnosis comes with a wide array of emotions. ‘Why me?’ is a question that often gets asked with no apparent answer.
Understanding your new limitations takes time. Learning to overcome them takes patience and work. When your career depends on your hearing, it can be devastating. Imagine not having the possibility of working because you are not physically able to.
Mandy Harvey found this out when she was diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder that causes the nerves to deteriorate. She finally lost all her hearing at the age of 18. What was especially devastating for her was the fact that music had always been a big part of her life. She started in music at the age of four, singing. When she lost her hearing, she knew that she would have to find something else to make a living. What could she do? How do you say goodbye to your passion?
Although she thought of giving up, thankfully, she didn’t. “I left music after I lost my hearing and then figured out how to get back into singing with muscle memory, using visual tuners, and trusting my pitch,” she explained. She had to adapt to the new conditions and adjust along the way.
One of these adjustments Mandy made, was singing barefoot, so she could feel the vibrations of the music through the floor. She started to get good at it and very soon got enough confidence to try out for America’s Got Talent. She was sure of her ability before losing her hearing, but how about now? Will her condition have affected her talent? Is the fact that she can feel the vibrations enough? Will she feel she is singing well, but sound very bad? She was about to find out.
She takes the stage, but there is no music playing. It is only her with her ukulele. She starts singing, and everyone goes quiet. She starts hitting each note, and no one can believe their ears. When she finishes, even Simon is left at a loss for words. Breathtaking talent and dedication to something Mandy loves.