Vijeeth’s music passion
16-year-old Vijeeth may have finished his GCSEs, but his exams don’t stop there. Aiming for his grade eight in guitar, he explains why his hearing loss doesn’t come between him and his passion for music.
16-year-old Vijeeth is moderately to severely deaf in both ears. He’s worn hearing aids since the family moved to the UK from India when he was six, but proudly confirms that the only challenge he’s faced in learning music is people’s perceptions of deafness.
“I have loads of hobbies,” Vijeeth beams, reeling off a list, “but my favourite is guitar.”
"Guitar playing challenges people’s perceptions of deafness."
“I started to learn guitar when I was eight and it was hard,” Vijeeth recalls, “but I think it’s hard for everyone to begin with, learning all the chords. When I started to practise often, I got better and really started to enjoy it.”
Choosing between his bright purple acoustic guitar and his black and white electric guitar is no easy task for Vijeeth, who loves playing them both. But his favourite song is easy to pin down, “Definitely ‘Take it Easy’ by The Eagles,” he nods.
Thinking back to when Vijeeth’s hearing loss was first confirmed, dad Vijay never imagined his son’s talents would lie in music. “Vijeeth found communicating difficult until he was about nine. Since then, we’ve had the right support, and his confidence in communicating has grown and grown. The main challenge – and privilege – for me as a parent of a deaf child is to provide the opportunities for Vijeeth to explore his talents. That’s how his guitar playing started, and since then there’s been no stopping him!
“I wanted Vijeeth to try as many things as possible so he can find things he enjoys – it’s important for children to have options. Music is what he’s chosen. His guitar playing challenges people’s perceptions of deafness and I hope it inspires other deaf young people to learn an instrument.”
“Beethoven had a hearing loss, and look what he accomplished.”
“I’d definitely encourage other young people with a hearing loss to learn music,” says Vijeeth, without hesitation. “As long as they practise regularly, they’ll improve and have fun. It’s a good skill, and you’ll shock lots of people!”
“Beethoven had a hearing loss, and look what he accomplished,” says Vijay. “In the UK I’ve never felt that Vijeeth’s hearing loss is a problem. It’s not easy helping a deaf child find their place in life, but family, friends, audiologists, doctors, social services and the National Deaf Children’s Society have all helped. We’ve been lucky to find the right guitar teacher for Vijeeth – with the right support; deaf young people needn’t be held back.”