Life Changing Experience

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

Smack! Within a fraction of a second, my life was changed forever. A homemade slingshot snapped and launched a funnel and water balloon at an unimaginable speed directly into my left ear. Once I’d been hit, an incredibly loud whistling screamed through my head as I opened my eyes and staggered to my feet. Realizing what I was losing, I became overwhelmed by fear and hopelessness, desperately plugging my ears to escape the high-pitched wail. Days later, the fading whistling finally disappeared into the chilling silence of “severe” hearing loss. As I struggled to cope with the devastating impact and difficult changes in my perspective, I discovered the gift of music, something that would affect me far more greatly than any measure of hearing loss.Since my loss six years ago, I’ve learned that the most punishing consequence of the accident is the difficulty to hear the subtle and fine points of speech. Compared to watching television with captions, speaking loudly unconsciously, or hiding my hearing aids in embarrassment, nothing is worse than repeating “what?” three times to someone and most often, still not ever fully hearing and understanding. The defeat in clearly hearing but failing to understand others heavily outweighs all the other burdens of my hearing loss, at times leaving me feeling more isolated and disconnected with the world than in any other moment with or without hearing aids. But since my discovery of music, all the worries and difficulties of my hearing loss have faded and diminished into a trivial cost for a genuine passion for music. Listening to the power and emotion in a single chord or melody, I see music as a profound and romantic language that goes past the complicated and indistinct spoken word. The great range of emotions of Beethoven’s 6th symphony, expressed clearly through immense power yet such delicate melodies, best defines what music means to me. The elegant melodies, moving harmonies, fluctuations of dynamics, and perfectly placed notes create a profoundly amazing and overwhelming depiction of nature. From the imitation of sensitive birdcalls and flowing waters of the brook to imitation of intense thunderstorms and falling rain, Beethoven has not only created a crystal clear picture of nature, but also reflected the peace and fear we feel in nature. This is what I love about music. To me, music goes beyond words as a universal language that we can all understand. Underneath all the vowels, consonants, and thousands of different spoken languages, we are all harmoniously connected. By pursuing my passion in music to connect to the world around me, I feel limitless and unbound by my hearing loss. Nowhere else do I feel that I can truly hear and listen to the world and have a sense of security, connection, and most importantly, happiness, the happiness in having something to escape the desolate isolation and struggles of hearing loss. Over the years, I have experimented with several instruments in bands, orchestras and formal training in music theory and learned that no matter how well you can play or how much you know, music will always be from the heart. The accident took not only my hearing, but also my sense of communication with others and through music, I gained more than I had lost: a more powerful expression of ideas, stories, and emotion.

Leave a Comment